This is one in a series of monthly reviews of books for young people written by four area teachers of children's literature. Today Melissa Cain, professor at the University of Findlay, reviews books by authors/illustrators who will be at the Mazza Summer Institute.
The University of Findlay will be hosting the 2012 Mazza Summer Institute on July 16-20. The author/artists presenting are: Bruce Degan, David Diaz, Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, Dan Yaccarino, Janet Stevens, Susan Stevens Crummel, Boris Kulikov, Wendell Minor, Florence Minor, Mary Higgins Clark, Loreen Leedy, and Peter McCarty. In addition to keynote presentations by these author/artists, pullout sessions led by teachers/librarians will provide useful ideas for the classroom.
Please consider being a part of this wonderful experience! For further information or to register, contact Ben Sapp, director, at 419-434-5343 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
BARNUM'S BONES: HOW BARNUM BROWN DISCOVERED THE MOST FAMOUS DINOSAUR IN THE WORLD. By Tracey Fern. Illustrated by Boris Kulikov. Farrar Straus Giroux. $17.99. Ages 5-up.
Barnum Brown's parents named him after circus-owner P. T. Barnum, believing he would thus become great. His early fascination with fossils wasn't what they had in mind, but it leads him to paleontology. Lively paintings show Barnum to be as colorful as his namesake as he sets off on adventures finding dinosaur fossils. Perseverance pays off and he fulfills his dream of finding a previously unknown one -- the gigantic tyrannosaurus rex.
I GOTTA DRAW. Written and illustrated by Bruce Degan. Harper. $16.99. Ages 5-9.
Charlie Muttnik is "the pup with the pencil, the dog with the drawing pad." Charlie struggles to find a place to draw in his small Brooklyn apartment. Worse, his strict new teacher doesn't understand his constant doodling. Then she tries something new: She lets him draw and paint as he answers questions. Cartoon-style illustrations enhance this fun reminder to appreciate individual differences.
SEEING SYMMETRY. Written and illustrated by Loreen Leedy. Holiday House. $17.95. Ages 6-10.
This exceptional nonfiction book explores concepts related to symmetry. Leedy illustrates examples of line symmetry, both vertical and horizontal, found in nature and in manmade things. She goes on to explain the concept of rotational symmetry, as found in flowers and pinwheels. Even letters and words can have symmetry. Leedy ends with activities that children can to do for further exploration. This book leaves readers looking for symmetry everywhere!
CHLOE. Written and illustrated by Peter McCarty. Balzer + Bray. $16.99. Ages 2-6.
Chloe is the middle child in a large rabbit family -- 10 brothers and 10 sisters. She loves after-dinner family time. When Dad brings home a new television, Chloe feels like things will never be the same. She and little Bridget start playing in the television box and popping the bubble wrap. Soon their siblings are drawn in and the television is ignored. Family fun time returns!
THE LITTLE RED PEN by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel. Illustrated by Janet Stevens. Harcourt. $16.99. Ages 6-up.
In the tradition of The Little Red Hen, a little red pen asks the other desk items to help her grade papers because, if the students don't learn, the world might end. They all refuse and she plunges on alone. But when she falls into the trash, the desk items launch a wild rescue. Children should enjoy the funny puns and facial expressions of the zany characters.
SHARING THE SEASONS: A BOOK OF POEMS. Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins. Illustrated by David Diaz. McElderry Books. $21.99. Ages 8-up.
This book contains classic quotations and 48 poems organized by the four seasons. Some of the poems are by masters such as Carl Sandberg and Karla Kushkin. Some were commissioned for the book. Diaz's illustrations are a feast for the eyes. Their bold graphic designs are soft and glowing, as if they were made by airbrushing stencils. The carefully selected colors evoke each separate season.