Games
Problems
Go Pro!

scrounge: /skrounj/ informal verb: to actively seek [books] from any available source

Category results for 'kindergarten'.

While living in the UK, my family somehow acquired a cassette tape (yes, this was in the 90s) at a gas station (or petrol, as they called it there) called "Miles of Classical." It contained several well-known orchestral pieces of music, including Strauss's "Blue Danube," a movement from Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake," and, the fifth and last piece on side 1 of the cassette, George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," or at least an abbreviated version of it.

Other than "The Nutcracker," I didn't have much love for orchestral music, but listening to that cassette over and over and over on long drives really helped me and my siblings to develop more appreciation for some of these favorites. I'm still not sure I really "understand" jazz music, but Gershwin's piece was definitely my favorite on that cassette. It reminded me at various points of a morning sunrise and a predator/prey chase scene. The piano solo always amazed me. I would try to visualize the showmanship and talent that a piece like that must require. It wasn't until adulthood that I heard the piece in full, and also learned that Gershwin gave the opening notes to a clarinet rather than a saxophone, which made me like him even more (I took clarinet lessons in high school but never did anything cool like that with it).

So when I heard there was a book out called The Music in George's Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue, I knew I had to procure it someday. There were few pieces of music that I would have been more interested in learning about than this one, but I also wondered how the translation of jazz-to-picture-book would go. 

I think it's fabulous. Everything is drawn in shades of blue with some earth tones thrown in -- gray-blues on the city streets, navy blue swirls of musical notes and piano keys, baby blues for people and sheets of music.. the whole book comes alive in a jazz-blue world, where it recounts factual information but also skips and bumps along at times with a steady, jazzy feel. Most of the text is written in a normal cadence and is not difficult to understand or read, but sometimes we have a "rattle-ty bang" of train tracks or the "WuaaaAAA..." of the clarinet. 

"Sleepy eyes flew open. Restless listeners sat still. People heading for the door hurried back to their seats. Trombones and trumpets blew brassy sounds -- small and soft, then big and bright. Velvety violins started to sing. More musicians joined in. Each carefully playing their sheets of music. Fingers flying, George made those piano keys MARCH. SKIP. Dance. But he didn't have sheet music. George played the notes in his head."

Wish I could've been there!

Scrounged From: PaperbackSwap.com

Format: Hardcover
Author: Suzanne Slade
Illustrator: Stacy Innerst
Pages: 48
Content Advisory: None

More Reviews at Amazon

A while back I reviewed Counting Birds (review here), which tells the story of how the long-running citizen science project called the "Christmas bird count" developed, and why it's become so important for scientists and for the birds they are aiming to protect.

Bird Count is also about the bird count, but it approaches it from a more personal angle. It tells the fictionalized story of a girl named Ava and her mom as they participate in the bird count, spending an entire wintery day watching, listening, and collecting data. 

We get to see some of the methodology of counting birds at work here -- for example, a bird can only be counted if two or more people in the group see it. The route the group takes is also identified in advance so they can cover a large area. On each page, we see the tally of different types of birds as it's added to.

The "day in the life" aspect of this book helped to make the bird count come alive, and it inspired me to do some reading on The Audubon Society's website to see what kinds of counting groups are available in my area. Maybe someday we'll make this event part of our winter science education!

(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)

Scrounged From: NetGalley

Format: Kindle
Author: Susan Edwards Richmond
Illustrator: Stephanie Fizer Coleman
Pages: 32
Content Advisory: None

More Reviews at Amazon

The Brilliant Deep is partially about Ken Nedimyer, the founder of the Coral Restoration Foundation. It tells about his passion for the sea, and the process he used to transplant healthy coral to dying and shrinking reefs in order to help them thrive again.

(When I read this it instantly reminded me of an episode of Reading Rainbow, in which I clearly remember watching scuba divers gluing coral to rocks. I looked it up and that episode featured a different "coral doctor" than this book, but it appears that the idea is the same.)

But this book is also about how one person can make a difference, and how growth and multiplication of a good thing can help turn the tide (no pun intended) of something bad. The stunning artwork blends so many colors together in a way that conjures up what it must feel like to be surrounded by the dazzling and diverse shapes and colors of living coral. Just as the colors meld together to form something amazing, this story can remind us how interconnected all of life is. 

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author: Kate Messner
Illustrator: Matthew Forsythe
Pages: 48
Content Advisory: None

More Reviews at Amazon

I'm so glad I grew up watching Mister Rogers' Neighborhood on TV. I have good memories of the characters and the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, especially the Bubble Land and Josephine the Short-Necked Giraffe operas. But the show wouldn't have been the same without Fred Rogers himself, something I was reminded of again while watching the excellent documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor?.

So I was glad to have a chance to read A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers. There were a few poems in this collection that I remembered as songs from the TV show, enough to sing them instead of read ("You've Got to Do It"), but I'm sure there are others that I simply don't remember the tune for, so most of these poems were new to me. Many of them are affirmations of the dignity, curiosity, and value of all human beings, especially children, as well as the things that make each of us unique. They also manage to use words and ideas that are on the level of young children without sounding babyish or pandering.

In spite of the general attitude of positivity, Mister Rogers was also not afraid to explore fears and anxieties that children might have, most notably "Sometimes I Wonder if I'm a Mistake." The ability to validate negative feelings sets this apart from a lot of sappy, feel-good songs and poetry written for children. 

(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)

Scrounged From: NetGalley

Format: Kindle
Author: Fred Rogers
Pages: 128
Content Advisory: None

More Reviews at Amazon

I can't say that "lively" would be my first choice for "best words to describe rocks," but I also wouldn't have considered the pyramids of Giza in the same thought as comets either, yet both are neatly contained within this succinct exploration of rocks.

I really love this series. A Rock Is Lively takes us on a journey to discover and ponder the scope of rocks, from sandy beaches to asteroids. Like A Seed Is Sleepy (see my review here), the variety here is impressive and awe-inspiring, without being overwhelming. The illustrations are gorgeous, capturing the colors and sparkles of gems as well as the numerous earth tones of more "ordinary" rocks.

We learn about the rock cycle, what rocks are made of, where we can find rocks, and some of the things rocks are used for -- from tools for animals and people, to use as art and weapons throughout history. Phrases like "A rock is inventive..." are the only places I'd consider that this diverges a bit from strict nonfiction, but that's forgiveable because the poetic descriptions add a lot to this book and make it a bit more "lively" than your average geology book. I really love that this series makes topics like this interesting and accessible to small children, but also teaches us older people a thing or two, even if it's just to say "Wow!"

Scrounged From: A Christmas present

Format: Paperback
Author: Dianna Hutts Aston
Illustrator: Sylvia Long
Pages: 40
Content Advisory: None

More Reviews at Amazon

Older posts

Featured Games on This Site

Match color, font, and letter in this strategy game
Trap all the dots in this problem-solving puzzle

Blogs on This Site

Reviews and book lists - books we love!
The site administrator fields questions from visitors.
Like us on Facebook to get updates about new resources
Home
Pro Membership
About
Privacy