Monday, October 30, 2017

Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years Guest Post by Stacy McAnulty

Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years
by Stacy McAnulty
Illustrated by David Litchfield
Published Oct. 24, 2017
Henry Holt and Co
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodread Summary
Prepare to learn all about Earth from the point-of-view of Earth herself! In this funny yet informative book, filled to the brim with kid-friendly facts, readers will discover key moments in Earth’s life, from her childhood more than four billion years ago all the way up to present day. Beloved children's book author Stacy McAnulty helps Earth tell her story, and award-winning illustrator David Litchfield brings the words to life. The book includes back matter with even more interesting tidbits.

This book is a history narrated by none other than the Earth itself! It is both entertaining and informative. It is filled with facts. Afterall, 4.54 billion years is a LONG time! 
The illustrations are engaging and really help the information make sense to young readers. 
Image from Macmillan Publishers website.

I would highly recommend this book for your classroom or home library. 

I am so excited to have author Stacy McAnulty here today for a guest post. 

TMI Earth: There’s so Much to Learn!
By Stacy McAnulty

When I set out to write a picture book about Earth, I was overconfident in my knowledge about our planet. I knew it revolved around the sun, and it rotated on its axis. And I knew how long this took. I was confident in my understanding of the lunar cycle and continental shifts. I’d read that Earth has experienced five major extinctions. I felt comfortable in my own expertise. After all, I have seen both BBC Earth miniseries, and I follow Neil de Grasse Tyson and Bill Nye on Twitter.

But just to be sure, I Googled some things. For example: How long does it take the moon to rotate around the Earth? I knew it was about a month. The answer wasn’t so simple because the Earth is moving around the sun while the moon is circling the earth. I ended up learning about sidereal period verses sydonic period, and I needed to decide which info went in the book. Spoiler Alert: I went with the sidereal period.

In the book, we also created an abbreviated timeline of life on Earth. How long ago did dinosaurs roam the land? What about mammals? Plants? Bugs? And, of course, humans? Again, the answers weren’t easy to come by. I blame the lack of internet and video recording devices in the cretaceous period. Prehistoric science replies on approximations. In the book, we say that bugs have been around for 400 million years. Some sources say 479 million years. Wow, 79 million years is a big difference, until you consider the Earth is about 4.54 billion years old. That’s only a 1.75% change in the timeline. And again, there was definitely no one around to record any of this.

Then of course, there are the things I learned, or wanted to learn more about, that I could not fit in the pages of a picture book. Some of which I snuck into the author notes, like the five mass extinctions. Sure, The Great Dying (as the Permian Extinction is called) is scary. It’s estimated more than 90% of species were destroyed. But one door closes and another opens. Would human have arrived if it weren’t for the Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction that sent dinosaurs packing? Maybe. Maybe not.

And if I may, I’ll share a few Earth facts that didn’t make the cut. But I know Earth would like you to know these details too.

· The moon was created when a Mars-sized body collided with Earth. Chunks of debris flew off into space but were captured by Earth’s gravitational pull, and the moon was formed.
· There’s truly only one ocean. Humans have given it five different names based on location.
· Continents continue to change. North America and Europe are moving apart at approximately one inch per year.
· The universe is about 13.8 billion years old—over three times older than our solar system.
· Pieces of Mars have been found on Earth in the Artic. This isn’t really related to the history of Earth, but it’s fascinating. We’ve been invaded! (By pieces of rock.)

I may have started out overconfident about my knowledge of Earth. But after working on this project, I realized just because I’m a resident doesn’t make me an expert. I hope this book encourages kids to explore Earth from the inside to outer space, and from her past to the unknown future.

Watch this video of Stacy talking about the book.

See what others have to say about Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years
Cracking the Cover
Unleashing Readers

Author info
Stacy McAnulty is a children’s book author, who used to be a mechanical engineer, who’s also qualified to be a paleontologist (not really), a correspondent for The Daily Show (why not), and a Green Bay Packer coach (totally!). She is the 2017 Ezra Jack Keats Book New Writer Honor Recipient for Excellent Ed, illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach. Her other picture books include Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years, illustrated by David Litchfield; Brave and Beautiful, both illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff; Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite, illustrated by Edward Hemingway; and 101 Reasons Why I’m Not Taking a Bath, illustrated by Joy Ang. She’s also authored the chapter book series Goldie Blox, based on the award-winning toys, and The Dino Files. Her debut middle grade novel, The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl, will publish in 2018. When not writing, Stacy likes to listen to NPR, bake triple-chocolate cupcakes, and eat triple-chocolate cupcakes. Originally from upstate NY, she now lives in Kernersville, NC with her 3 kids, 2.5 dogs, and 1 husband.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Fall Into Cash $250 Giveaway


Fall into Cash $250 Giveaway

October 15th to November 15th

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Spotlight On: BE QUIET! by Ryan Higgins

by Ryan Higgins
Published April, 2017
40 Pages
Obtained from public library

Goodreads Summary
All Rupert the mouse wants is to star in a beautiful, wordless picture book. One that's visually stimulating! With scenic pictures! And style! He has plenty of ideas about what makes a great book, but his friends just WON'T. STOP. TALKING. 
Children and adults alike will chuckle at this comedic take on bookmaking from acclaimed author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins.

Quick Thoughts
File this one under books that beg to be read aloud over and over again! How can you create a wordless book when the characters won't BE QUIET!? Rupert grows more and more exasperated as his friends try to "help" him with his book.
It is just hilarious and will appeal to readers in Pre-K through elementary grades. I will definitely be adding it to my collection.

Not surprisingly, BE QUIET! has earned many accolades. Look at all these starred reviews!

Visit Ryan's super-fun website!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Scanorama Books by Anna Claybourne

Silver Dolphin presents 3 new interactive books about science and animals. 

Scanorama Amazing Animals
Expected publication Sept. 2017
Silver Dolphin Books
32 pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Slide the scanner across the page to discover what lies under the skin of the world’s most fascinating creatures! In Scanorama: Amazing Animals, readers will meet a variety of species from across the animal kingdom and learn about their astounding feats of strength, speed, and endurance. The five movable sliders transform the illustrated animals—including an anaconda, a thorny devil, and a blue whale—to reveal their skeletons, creating a virtual X-ray on the page. Captivating facts, photographs, and illustrations provide even more details on each animal, and interactive flaps to lift enhance the scan-tastic educational experience.

Scanorama Deadly Predators
Expected publication Sept. 2017
Silver Dolphin Books
32 pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary

On the pages of Scanorama: Deadly Predators, kids are treated to a virtual X-ray tour featuring some of the world's most dangerous animals. Five movable sliders transform illustrated animals into full-body scans that reveal their skeletons and show how they have come to rule their habitats. Featured animals include a tiger, a scorpion, and a great white shark; each animal is covered in detail through informative text, photographs, and illustrations. To learn about even more deadly creatures, readers can lift the flaps and discover what is hiding in wait, ready to pounce on its next victim!

Scanorama Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures
Expected publication Sept. 2017
Silver Dolphin Books
32 pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Scanorama: Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures gives young readers the feel of working as a lab technician as they study dinosaurs and other amazing prehistoric animals. Five movable sliders transform illustrated creatures—such as the deadly T. rex, the armored Ankylosaurus, and the massive Argentinosaurus—into virtual X-ray scans, revealing their fossilized skeletons. Detailed text, photographs, and illustrations provide insights into how each animal survived in the prehistoric world, and even more facts can be found under the interactive flaps throughout the book.

My Thoughts
These books are packed with information! Each one is filled with facts, maps, diagrams, and amazing photographs. 
A unique table of contents shows the organization of the book.
An index helps readers navigate to find specific information. Sturdy pages will hold up after multiple readings. 
A highlight in each volume is the "scanorama" where the reader can scan a panel over an image of an animal to see its skeleton. 

Check out this video.

Listen to what this boy loves about the Scanorama books!

The Scanorama series would be great for any child who is interested in animals grades 2+.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2018

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2018
Published May 2017 
National Geographic Children's Books
352 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher.

Goodreads Summary
The Globe and Mail best seller is packed with incredible photos, tons of fun facts, crafts, activities, and fascinating features about animals, science, nature, technology, and more. New features include three chapters on engineering, space, and life sciences; new technology scientists are using to learn more about animals like sloths and snow leopards; an updated Fun and Games chapter filled with all-new games, jokes, and comics; all new weird-but-true facts, crafts, and activities; 18 Facts for 2018 feature in every chapter; updated reference material, and much more.

My Thoughts
The tagline on the cover reads, "Everything you always wanted to know about everything!" and boy it sure seems like it. Organized into 12 chapters including: Your World 2018, Going Green, Wonders of Nature and Culture Connection there is something for everyone. Chapters have color coded pages for easy navigation. there is also an extensive index to help readers find exactly what they are looking for. 

There are lists, cartoons, maps, diagrams, quizzes, fill-ins, and of course, amazing photos by National Geographic and others. 
Did you know that applesauce was the first food eaten in space by an American?
And it takes a plastic bag up to 20 years to breakdown in a landfill?! This book is full of information! 

This is the kind of book I can see getting tattered from reread after reread. I would recommend it for grades 3+. 

See what others have to say about this book:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pug and Pig trick or Treat by Sue Lowell Gallion and Joyce Wan

Pug and Pig trick or Treat 
by Sue Lowell Gallion 
Illustrated by Joyce Wan
Published July 2017
Beach Lane Books
40 pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Pug and Pig are back for a heartwarming Halloween adventure in this adorable picture book that’s perfect for pet lovers of all ages.
Halloween night has come to Pug and Pig’s house, and the darling duo is sporting matching costumes. The costumes are cozy. They glow in the dark. And they have masks! There’s only one problem—Pug hates wearing his. So he decides to rip it up and stay home. But Halloween just isn’t any fun for Pig without Pug! Can Pug find a way to be a good friend and get back into the Halloween spirit?

My Thoughts
So, so cute!! I first met and fell in love with Pug and Pig in their first book, Pug Meets Pig. See my review here
This book is just as sweet as the twosome try to dress up for Halloween. Pug hates his mask and Pig doesn't want to trick-or-treat without his buddy. Finally, Pug comes up with a clever idea that works for both of them. 

This book encourages little ones to examine friendships and what happens when one friend wants something and the other does not. What does it mean to compromise? These are issues that arise continually throughout childhood (and life) and this book provides a platform for discussion.

As I said in my last review, the illustrations are just perfect! These chunky little characters are beyond adorable. Each page is filled with simple colors and illustrations that kids will love.

I would highly recommend this book (and its prequel) for ages 2-6.  I hope there are more Pug and Pig books to come!

Pug and Pig Trick-or-Treat has earned starred reviews from:

Monday, October 9, 2017

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?-October 9, 2017

Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

Here is what I have read recently. 
Click on the covers to learn more about each book. 

I was more scared than I would like to admit. Make sure your kiddos are ok with some scary stuff. Grades 4+

This is an endearing friendship and has some 
mystery and fantasy elements. Grades 5-8

Look at that beautiful cover!!
I am enjoying this fantasy. 

Up Next?

What are you reading friends?