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

Category results for 'pre-k'.

Round is another neat "concept book" from Joyce Sidman, similar to her Swirl by Swirl book about spirals in nature (see my review here).

Here we explore the concept of "round," from planets and the moon to berries, eggs, and other things that grow. The text is poetic and is written from the first-person perspective of an observant child. It's really fun to think about just how many different contexts this shape appears in. In the text and in an informational page at the end, we also get to explore other concepts that contribute to circles and spheres: gravity, growth, weight, etc.

It's amazing how one simple shape can guide us from tiny things to the enormous and distant, as well as from young to old. I really enjoyed the scope of this book, expressed with such simplicity.

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author: Joyce Sidman
Illustrator: Taeeun Yu
Pages: 32
Content Advisory: None

More Reviews at Amazon

On a Magical Do-Nothing Day is nostalgic for me, having spent a few years of my childhood in Scotland by the North Sea, where it rained frequently. If I'd saved all of my outdoor play for a sunny day, I would have been inside most of the time, and with four homeschooled children (at the time), I'm sure my mom needed a break once in a while. Consequently, my siblings and I spent many hours in our large backyard in our rain jackets, making "soup" from puddles, bouncing on the moss, watching slugs, climbing trees, and more. 

In this story, a child is reminded of the beauty of the natural world, after losing their video game in a stream. Perhaps the "lesson" is obvious, but the text is sweet and the illustrations are so beautiful with the earth tones contrasted against the child's bright orange raincoat. Also, the text manages to be evocative of ideas such as stillness, silence, solitude, pondering, observation, exploration, and even the way that these things can help us to look at familiar places and family members with new eyes.

I hope children will enjoy this book, and that it won't just be one of those stories that adults want children to like.

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author/Illustrator: Beatrice Alemagna
Pages: 48
Content Advisory: None

More Reviews at Amazon

On the surface, Mixed looks like a book about mixing colors. I'd been looking for something like this that would give kids a visual of primary/secondary colors, and I thought it would be great if it was told in a story format to make things more interesting.

Turns out this story does involve mixing colors, but it has a lot more going on and I really like how the deeper issue was portrayed through a relatively simple story. With descriptive but succinct text, the narrative begins with three color populations living together in a city, who soon decide to live apart after an argument about which one is better. Each color keeps their distinctive traits sequestered in their own part of the city, until one day a blue and a yellow meet, fall in love, and decide to... *gulp*... mix!

So while it's about art, it's also about racism, and could probably be applied to many other distinctives that have become ways by which people have tried to assert superiority over others. Perhaps it's oversimplified, but for a short and sweet fable, I though it worked really well, and didn't feel heavy-handed to me.

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author/Illustrator: Arree Chung
Pages: 40
Content Advisory: None

More Reviews at Amazon

At first I wasn't sure whether The Honeybee might be a little too cartoonish for my tastes, and it's true that the bees are depicted in a whimsical way, but I ended up really enjoying this book for several reasons:

1. Isabelle Arsenault's illustrations. I'm not the only one who's now on a quest to read all of her books, but after this and You Belong Here, I adore the way she portrays nature, especially here with the lovely balance of colors, and the bright shades of gold which are vibrant without being garish. 

2. While the bees are given faces and look a bit cutesy, this book still aims to be accurate in its depiction of how bees spend their lives, from foraging to making honey to dancing, and more. This book would work great for a science unit on bees, perhaps along with Charlotte Milner's more fact-laden The Bee Book.

3. The text is poetic rather than straight narrative, but it also retains enough structure (such as rhyme) and focus to tell the story of bees in a linear, engaging way. There are so many action words here that even the text itself seems buzzing with the exuberance and busyness of the bees. 

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author: Kirsten Hall
Illustrator: Isabelle Arsenault
Pages: 48
Content Advisory: None

More Reviews at Amazon

I have read illustrated versions of Silent Night before, but I appreciate this one for a couple reasons.

For one thing, I really like the illustrations, especially the contrasting tones -- the dark backgrounds make the central figures and settings of the nativity story stand out all the more, perfectly portraying the paradox of both "night" and "all is bright," reminding us how strongly a light can stand out in the darkness.

Also, I appreciate that the people in the scenes here are portrayed as the Middle Easterners that they were, with dark skin, rather than Americanized as whitewashed Caucasians, which has long been a problem with the way the nativity (and Jesus in general) has been presented to children. 

It can be a lot of fun to "sing" a book to children when we're used to reading, so this is a lovely way to package this beloved Christmas carol.

(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)

Scrounged From: NetGalley.com

Format: Kindle
Author: Joseph Mohr
Illustrator: Lara Hawthorne 
Pages: 32
Content Advisory: None

More Reviews at Amazon

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