September 26, 2014

Tap to Play

Tap to Play

Title: Tap to Play
Author & Illustrator: Salina Yoon

Publisher: Balzer & Bray, 2014
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 2-6
Themes: Interactive, Cause & Effect

Opening Lines:

Hi!
I’m BLIP.
I need to reach that bar to win the game.
Can you help me?

How do I get from HERE to THERE?

If I win, I get a
SURPRISE!

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

In this interactive video-game-inspired picture book perfect for fans of Press Here and Tap the Magic Tree, Blip needs to reach the bar to win his game—but he needs the reader’s help. If he wins, he gets a surprise!
Tap, tickle, and shake Blip.
Tilt, turn, and bounce Blip.
Help Blip win the game in this spirited interactive book, perfect for reading—and playing—again and again!

Activities:

Why I Like This Book:

First there was PRESS HERE which expanded the boundaries of interactive books in a new way for today techno-gadget babies. Then came TAP THE MAGIC TREE which built upon the interactivity but added concepts about the seasons. Ms. Salina Yoon is taking us even further down this path by blending a traditional story arc with the interactivity for a video-game inspired story.

Blip our main character has to get from HERE to THERE, but how. The number bar tells the reader they have five attempts to win the game and get their surprise! Readers will bounce, tilt, and flip, BLIP to comical results. Rest assured Blip and the ingenious reader will win the game and get a special, heartfelt surprise in the end.

My favorite aspect of the book were the funny responses from Blip when the action didn’t go quite right. They just made me chuckle. Here is one example.

Could you shake the book so I can bounce?
Go ahead. Shake!
<page turn>
NOT SO FAST!
Bounce it slower please!

Here is another from when the tilting is a bit too much.

TAPSPREAD.1

Enjoy the trailer! Shhh…..The retro music makes me want to go play Pac-Man or Q*bert.

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

Disclosure: I received a F&G (fold and gather, not bound) copy of this story from the author. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

September 22, 2014

Industrial Revolution for Kids: The People and Technology That Changed the World

Industrial-Revolution-for-Kids

Title: Industrial Revolution for Kids: The People and Technology That Change the World

Author: Cheryl Mullenback (interview by the Mixed Files … of Middle-Grade Authors)
Publisher: Chicago Review Press, 2014
Book Type: Non-Fiction
Ages: 8-12

Synopsis (from Chicago Review Press website):

This blend of authoritative historic overview and human interest stories recounts one of the most important eras in American history. This educational activity book introduces young readers to the Industrial Revolution through the people, places, and inventions of the time, from the incredibly wealthy Rockefellers and Carnegies and the dingy and dangerous factories of the day to the creation of new forms of transportation and communication. By recounting this fascinating period in American history through the eyes of everyday workers, kids, sports figures, and social activists whose names never appeared in history books—including Hannah Montague, who revolutionized the clothing industry with her highly popular detachable collars and cuffs and Clementine Lamadrid, who either helped save starving New Yorkers or scammed the public into contributing to her one-cent coffee stands—this book helps tell the human stories of the Industrial Revolution. Twenty-one engaging and fun cross-curricular activities bring the times and technologies to life and allow for readers to make an assembly line sandwich, analyze the interchangeable parts of a common household fixture, weave a placemat, tell a story through photographs, and much more. Additional resources featured include books to read, places to visit, and websites to explore.

 

Why I Like This Book:

This is wonderful book that can be used to supplement a curriculum on the Industrial Revolution. It is jam-packed with basic historical information and photographs. Personally, I really liked the short articles offset in blue boxes. These are the little tidbits or personal stories that you won’t find in most textbooks, that make this era come to life. For example, did you know factory girls would sometimes leave notes in the garments they made in hope of finding a husband. Or how about Owney, the railway mail dog who rode the train across the US making sure the mail pouches were safely delivered to the post office. The book also comes with activities tied into the various section themes such as making an assembly line sandwich or designing a tenement space. With so much information this isn’t a book to speed through all at once, but rather read, process, and explore one chapter at a time.

If you liked this book be on the lookout for the next book by this author The Great Depression for Kids coming out in 2015.

Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher Chicago Review Press. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

September 19, 2014

Hooray for Hat!

hoorayforhatTitle: Hooray for Hat!
Author & Illustrator: Brian Won

Publisher: HMH Books, 2014
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 2-6
Themes: Friendship, Kindness

Excerpt:

It was hard to stay grumpy now.
“HOORAY FOR HAT!”
Elephant cheered. “I will show Zebra!”

 Synopsis:

Elephant wakes up grumpy—until ding, dong! What’s in the surprise box at the front door? A hat! HOORAY FOR HAT! Elephant marches off to show Zebra, but Zebra is having a grumpy day, too—until Elephant shares his new hat and cheers up his friend. Off they march to show Turtle! The parade continues as every animal brightens the day of a grumpy friend. An irresistible celebration of friendship, sharing, and fabulous hats.

Activities:

  • Have a Hat Parade! Download and print this colorful activity kit with hats from the book!
  • Have kids Read and Act out the story. This tale is laid out well for Reader’s Theater.
  • Have kids do a Random Act of Kindness. Here is a link to my past blog post to get some ideas.

Why I Love This Book:

I love, love, love this book! It is perfect for story time and preschools, but will certainly bring a smile to anyone that reads it.

  • I love the simplicity of the story, that can be summarized with three keywords, grumpy – hat – friends.
  • I love that sheer joy and innocence in the characters, that represents young kids so well.
  • I love the repetitious lines “GO AWAY! I’M GRUMPY!” and “HOORAY FOR HAT!” that help to provide a strong story structure.
  • I love the bright, colorful illustrations and the use of white space to make the art eye-grabbing. Also the use of colored letters for HOORAY throughout the story.
  • But most of all I love that it teaches kindness and sharing.

Enjoy this adorable trailer:

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

September 12, 2014

Flora and the Penguin plus a Giveaway!

florapenguinTitle: Flora and the Penguin
Author & Illustrator: Molly Idle (interview at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast)

Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2014
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 2-6
Themes: Friendship

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

Having mastered ballet in Flora and the Flamingo, Flora takes to the ice and forms an unexpected friendship with a penguin. Twirling, leaping, spinning, and gliding, on skates and flippers, the duo mirror each other’s graceful dance above and below the ice. But when Flora gives the penguin the cold shoulder, the pair must figure out a way to work together for uplifting results. Artist Molly Idle creates an innovative, wordless picture book with clever flaps that reveal Flora and the penguin coming together, spiraling apart, and coming back together as only true friends do.

Activities:

Why I Like This Book:

A year ago I was amazed with Ms. Idle’s book Flora and the Flamingo, a beautifully crafted visual tale about making friends involving a girl, a flamingo, and ballet. Ms. Idle’s latest book in the series is just as gorgeous, this time through ice-dancing and a penguin friend, while exploring a different aspect of friendship. “What happens when two friends want different things?”

Flora and penguin glide, twirl, and pirouette on the ice as any great ice-dancing duo. But Flora is left befuddled during her sit-spin when penguin abandons her to leap down into the ice hole after a fish. Could it be just that the two friends aren’t on the same wavelength, for Penguin returns offering her a gift, a fish. Flora behaves much in the way any child does when they get something they don’t want (my girls certainly behave this way), she simply tosses it away. How will the duo find their way back, well you’ll have to read it to find out.

Ms. Idle has created a story arc about the natural, undulating waves in friendship. The subdued color palette of white, yellows, and pale blues lends a soft, innocence touch to the story. The flaps move from right-left allowing the characters to glide back and forth across the page. I love how moving the flaps reveal a new emotions or actions to move the story forward. Do take notice of the fish swimming in the opening scenes and how they mirror the skating movements above.

fp_glide1

fp_glide2

Flora and Penguin is a charming tale and a great addition to the series.

I have a special treat this time. I have an extra copy of the book that I will be giving away (yes, before the release date!!). Leave a comment stating what animal you would like Flora to be friends with and what activity they would do together. Deadline to enter is September 19th 9pm PST.

Be sure to check-out Ms. Idle’s interview on Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, to get a behind the scenes look at her thought process into making this book. Also find out about the next book in this series!

Enjoy the delightful trailer.

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher Chronicle Books. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

Tags:
September 9, 2014

Interview with Jen Cullerton Johnson

jenYesterday I reviewed the enlightening story Seeds of Change. Today I am happy to share my interview with the author Jen Cullerton Johnson. She has published fiction and creative nonfiction in literary journals and leads writing workshops for elementary through highschool students. Her book, Seeds of Change, is about the life and work of Wangari Maathai, Noble Peace Prize Winner and founder of the Greenbelt Movement. Jen has also spoken on Green Literacy, the role of environmental books for children and adults with various organizations such as the EPA and the Green Schools Conference.

1. What inspired you to write Seeds of Change?

Wangari Maathai’s life is incredible. She is an environmentalist, scientist, and women’s right’s activist who inspired her country of Kenya to plant 30 million trees and in doing so helped give women skills to earn a living so they could feed their children. What moves me the most about Wangari’s story is her message of harabee, which means “let’s work together.” We can solve problems if we work together.

2. I noticed in your book you cover more than just the “planting of trees” aspect of Wangari’s life. You cover village life, education for girls, and activism. What did you want your readers to walk away with after reading your book?

I want young people to believe Wangari’s message: “Young people, you are our hope and our future.” Go plant a tree. Know that an idea as small as a seed has the possibility to grow into the tallest of trees. Work together.

3) I understand the book has made a significant impact on the students at Brier Creek Elementary School in North Carolina. Can you briefly tell us about it?

Brier Creek Elementary School wants to give every person in their school community a copy of the book in order for everyone to use it as a springboard to think, talk and act on change. Their music teacher wrote a song. Children designed art.

In the middle of seeking books for their own school, the students decided to donate books to a school in Kenya. Now, we are looking for people to donate copies of Seeds of Change. I’ve listed a link to the Lee & Low blog page for more information. http://blog.leeandlow.com/2014/08/13/planting-seeds-of-change-around-the-world/

4. How can people help out?

You can:

  1. Post the [Lee and Low] link on your Facebook [or other social media].
  2. Donate a book
  3. Send us good wishes

5.  Any projects coming up in the future you would like to us to know about?

Yes, I am in the final stages of a new picture book about women in Liberia and then in Fall 2014 I am turning my attention to a totally new area: a memoir about teaching incarcerated youth through gardening called: The Karma Garden.

Wow those are really interesting topics. Can’t wait to hear more about it in the future. Thanks for stopping by.

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