Tuesday, November 28, 2017

WET CEMENT: A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Raczka.  New York: Roaring Book Press, 2016. 45p. ISBN: 978-1626722361 hc. $17.99.     Gr. 2-4     J 811

Raczka describes concrete poems as word paintings or shape poems.  His poems becomes a work of art, as well as a precise combination of words used to convey an idea.  Enjoy 21 poems which include orbiting in a circle around the sun, erasing mistakes with a pencil made of words, and reading icicles hanging from the top of the page.  The last poem is titled, "PoeTRY," encouraging readers to try their own hand at creating concrete poems.  Combine this book with Raczka's "Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word" (2013) to provide simple and interesting models for writing poetry individually or as a group.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI  49855

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

WATER IS WATER by Miranda Paul. Illus. by Jason Chin.  New York: Roaring Book Press, 2016.  32p.  ISBN 978-159643984-9 hc. $17.99      Gr. K-1     JNF 551.48

The water cycle is explained in simple text and illustrated with kids using water while they participate in everyday activities.  The text rhymes as water becomes steam, evaporates into the form of clouds, fog, and rain.  As the weather turns cold, water takes on the solid shapes of snow and ice.  The playful illustrations by Jason Chin are emphasized by softer watercolor backgrounds, as children find ways to enjoy the water cycle in each kind of weather.  The information pages at the back of the book summarizes the water cycle, highlighting scientific vocabulary and recommending some other books on the use and re-use of water.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Friday, November 17, 2017

SEVEN AND A HALF TONS OF STEEL by Janet Nolan.  Illus. by Thomas Gonzalez.  Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 2016.  32p.  ISBN 978-156145-912-4 hc. $17.95    Gr. 1-4    JNF 623.825

Illustrations begin to tell the story of a plane flying into a skyscraper before the written narration takes over.  Loss of life from September 11, 2001 is gently acknowledged, but the real focus of the book is the rebuilding process that began with one steel girder from the World Trade Center in New York City, weighing in at seven and a half tons.  It was shipped to New Orleans in Louisiana, melted down, and re-shaped into the bow of a ship named the USS New York.  Work on the ship was delayed by several years because of damage done to the New Orleans shipyards by Hurricane Katrina. Finally, in 2009, this warship was complete and commissioned by the U.S. Navy.  To this day, the USS New York is led by the seven and a half tons of steel in its bow that came from Ground Zero, and sails in memory of the people who died on 9/11. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

LEAP! by JonArno Lawson. Illus. by Josee Bisaillon.  Ontario, Canada: Kids Can Press, 2017.  ISBN 978-177138-6784 hc. $16.99     Gr. K-2    E PIC

"A flea asleep
in the deep green moss
nettled by midges
wakes up cross -" and leaps into the path of a grasshopper, who leaps onto a rabbit, who startles a dog, who leaps into the lake scaring fish, who leap out of the water next to a frog, who leaps from his lilypad and keeps things in motion.  This cause-and-effect story could go on and on, if readers want to continue the story on their own.  The illustrations are fluid, as the characters move from page to page, showing off the beautiful scenery in each new location.  The poetry is written in an irregular meter that forms paragraphs and includes unusual rhymes that introduce new vocabulary.  Teachers may want to use LEAP as a "jumping-off" point for creative writing or as a read-aloud for fun.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

WITCH WARS by Sibeal Pounder.  Illus. by Laura Ellen Anderson. New York: Bloomsbury, 2017.  265p.  ISBN: 978619639256 hc.  $16.99    Gr. 3-6    J FIC

If you've ever wondered why a witch's hat has a point or why they have warts, the answers can be found in "Witch Wars" by Sibeal Pounder.  Tiga Wicabim is a 9 year-old orphan living with the mean Miss Heks when Fran the Fabulous Fairy pops out of the sink and offers her an escape.  Fran informs Tiga that she is a witch! The proof is in her name: Tiga Wicabmim is an anagram for I AM A BIG WITCH.  Tiga travels down the drainpipe to Sinkville and is immediately thrust into the Witch Wars, a competition of nine witches, all 9 years old. Tiga faces tough choices and tricky riddles as she makes new friends and fights to become the Top Witch.  Tiga is smart, loyal, and determined, even as the underdog.  Anderson's gray-scale illustrations complement the all black and white world of Sinkville perfectly.  This series launch is sure to please 8-12 year-old girls who enjoy a little magic, fairy dust, and adventure. 
Megan Buck, Director, Dickinson County Library, Iron Mountain, MI