Straw by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Straw (The Spoon Series Book 3) - Kindle edition by Rosenthal, Amy ...

Straw — Scott Magoon

Summary:  Straw always wants to be first and zips through any beverage like it’s nothing.  But one day, stuck into an icy slushie, he gets a brain freeze and ends up collapsed at the bottom of the cup.  A loopy crazy straw comes to his rescue, reminding him that sometimes it’s okay to slow things down. Straw learns to stop and smell the milkshake, slowing down enough to notice big red strawberries and swirly whipped cream.  It’s a lesson he doesn’t always remember, but most of the time he’s a bit more chill these days. 48 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  As she did in Spoon and Chopsticks, Amy Krouse Rosenthal has lots of fun with language and usually-inanimate objects to teach a lesson in a way kids will enjoy.

Cons:  While reading other reviews for this book, I learned that Amy Krouse Rosenthal passed away in 2017 at the age of 51.

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Fight of the Century: Alice Paul Battles Woodrow Wilson for the Vote by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Sarah Green

Published by Calkins Creek

Fight of the Century: Alice Paul Battles Woodrow Wilson for the ...

Coming Soon: The Fight Of The Century -

Summary:  When Woodrow Wilson was elected president in 1912, Alice Paul decided to convince him that U.S. women should be given the right to vote.  After a parade the day before his inauguration and multiple visits to the White House failed to garner any results, Paul and other suffragists began a silent protest in front of the White House.  She was eventually arrested and spent seven months in jail, where she staged a hunger strike. Finally, in early 1918, Wilson agreed to support an amendment for women’s suffrage, and the rest is history as the Nineteenth Amendment granting women the right to vote became law on August 26, 1920.  Includes additional information about Alice Paul and Woodrow Wilson; a timeline of women’s suffrage in the U.S.; photos; and a lengthy bibliography. 40 pages; grades 2-5.

Pros:  Using the format of a prize fight with Paul and Wilson as the two worthy opponents adds an element of fun to this story, but doesn’t take away from the informational value.  The extensive back matter makes it a great research resource.

Cons:  Readers with no background knowledge may find the format a bit confusing.

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All the Way to the Top: How One Girl’s Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything by Annette Bay Pimentel, pictures by Nabi H. Ali, foreword by Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins

Published by Sourcebooks

All the Way to the Top: How One Girl's Fight for Americans with ...

All the Way to the Top: How One Girl's Fight for Americans with ...

Summary:  From the time she was a young girl, Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins realized her cerebral palsy kept her from doing everything her sister could–and she was determined to change that.  She and her family became activists, joining protests for disability rights all over America. Upon hearing that members of Congress didn’t want to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), they decided to go to Washington, D.C. to join the protest there.  When Jennifer saw some of the adults sliding from their wheelchairs to crawl up the steps to the Capitol building, she wanted to join them. Photos of her climb were shown around the world and helped get the ADA into the news, and finally, passed by Congress. Includes two pages with additional information about disabilities, accessibility, and activism; a page on life before and after the ADA; a timeline of the Disability Rights Movement; the photo of Jennifer; and a bibliography.  32 pages; grades K-4.

Pros:  This excellent resource tells Jennifer’s story in a way that’s accessible to all readers.  Her determination and activism from such a young age may inspire others to get involved in causes they feel passionate about.  If they do, the back matter will give them a good start.

Cons:  It seemed like a photo and biography of the adult Jennifer belonged on the back flap with the author and illustration information.

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Finding Treasure: A Collection of Collections by Michelle Schaub, illustrated by Carmen Saldaña

Published by Charlesbridge

Finding Treasure: A Collection of Collections: Michelle Schaub ...

review + giveaway] Finding Treasure: A Collection of Collections ...

Summary:  A school assignment to share a collection leaves the narrator wondering what she should bring.  Her classmates seem excited about their showing their arrowheads, marbles, and teddy bears, but she doesn’t collect anything.  She interviews family members and friends, creating poems about each of them: her mother’s buttons, her brother’s baseball cards, an aunt’s license plates–even the mail carrier’s collection of smiling faces.  The last page shows her back at school, surrounded by kids with samples of their collections on their desks. She’s not worried now, though, because she has a collection of her own–a book of poems. 32 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  A charming first poetry book for primary grade kids by the author of Fresh-Picked PoetryReaders may be inspired to start a collection, write a poem, or do both.

Cons:  This book actually came out in 2019.  

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Nesting by Henry Cole

Published by Katherine Tegen Books

Nesting: Cole, Henry, Cole, Henry: 9780062885920: Books

Summary: Step by step, readers are taken through the early part of a robin’s life cycle, starting when two robins mate and build a nest together.  Soon there are four blue eggs in the nest. After the babies hatch out of the eggs, the parents are busy providing them with food and protection, including a dramatic battle with a snake that crawls up the tree.  Eventually the young robins learn to fly and leave the nest. They’ll survive the winter together, the old nest covered in snow. Includes an author’s note with additional information about robins. 40 pages; ages 3-8.

Pros:  A perfect introduction to robins, with just the right amount of information for picture book readers.  The illustrations are outstanding, showing lots of details in black and white with occasional splashes of blue for the sky and eggs.

Cons:  As is so often the case, there wasn’t quite enough back matter to satisfy me.

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Up on Bob by Mary Sullivan

Published by HMH Books for Young Readers

Image result for up on bob mary sullivan

Summary:  Bob is a dachshund with some work to do.  Up on the bed, he tosses off a doll and stuffed animal and knocks the bedside lamp and books to the floor.  Everything is perfect for his day-long nap. “Uh-oh. Suddenly everything is not perfect.” A cat is seen peering over the side of the bed.  Suddenly…pounce! The cat is up on Bob, with work to do. She crawls around on Bob, licks his ear, then finally settles down, snuggled up with Bob, ready to sleep all day.  40 pages; ages 3-7.

Pros:  Anyone with a pet will get a chuckle from this brief tale by Geisel honoree Mary Sullivan, and really, couldn’t we all use a laugh these days?  The illustrations are adorable and do a great job telling the story.

Cons:  I found myself wishing this were in the usual early reader book format.  I’m always looking for good short books for newly independent readers. This one fits the bill, but looks more like a picture book.

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My Ocean Is Blue by Darren Lebeuf, illustrated by Ashley Barron

Published by Kids Can Press

Image result for my ocean is blue darren

Image result for my ocean is blue darren

Summary:  A girl and her mother explore many different aspects of the ocean.  It can be shallow or deep; slimy or sandy; sparkly or dull. It can splash, crash, echo, squawk, or be silent. It appears and disappears with the tides.  She finds things that are pink, orange, grey, green, and red in and around the ocean, but mostly it is deep, endless blue. 32 pages; ages 3-7.

Pros:  This follow up to My Forest Is Green will make kids want to go to the beach and look closely at all that is in and around the ocean.  The collage illustrations are filled with great colors and textures that really capture the feel of the seashore.

Cons:  I turned the last page, eagerly expecting additional information and sources about the ocean…nothing.

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