logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: picture-books
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-02-20 15:04
Saving the Ghost of the Mountain: An Expedition Among Snow Leopards in Mongolia - Sy Montgomery,Nic Bishop
Saving the Ghost of the Mountain: An Expedition Among Snow Leopards in Mongolia - Sy Montgomery,Nic Bishop

Maddeningly, I could not get my Fire to cooperate and let me write some kind of review yesterday.

 

Scientists in the Field Series

 

I've read two now, and on behalf of the parents of inquisitive children, let me say "Thank You! HMH Books for Young Readers, thank you so much for producing non-fiction books for children that have actual content. Mere words cannot express my gratitude. Here, take all my money and produce more of these fine volumes."

 

I can't be the only adult to rend my garments and gnash my teeth and having to read aloud the one hundredth book on say, pandas, that the child has managed to find, and that contains several lovely pictures and not enough facts or even theories to fill a photo caption. Three year olds may lack context, but they aren't stupid. Nor are they afraid of big words. Everyone has met the equivalent of the child who knows the correct names and pronunciations (I always had a hard time with these, the stress is never where I expect it to be) of every dinosaur ever cataloged. All that brainspace, and nothing to fill it up. But not this series. These books, bless 'em,these books tell the reader so much. This one gives a bit of personal history of the lead researcher on the project, what he studied in college, what kinds of jobs and graduate school lead to him being in expert on the snow leopards of Mongolia and how to count them, despite being one of the most difficult animals to locate in the wild.

 

There's a bit of background on the political and cultural history of Mongolia, a bit of the climate and ecology of the Gobi. there's a bit on language, on the practicality of gers (Mongolian yurts), and the popularity of the color orange in the painting of doors, which with the frames can be popped into the ger as it is set up. there's information on the physical demands of this particular field work, on the challenges of feeding a vegetarian writer in a region whose diet is almost entirely meat and dairy.

 

And then, of course, there is the science. In order to save an endangered species you have to be able to estimate the population and gauge the trend in population after an intervention. Tracking animals with radio collars is helpful, but first you have to safely capture the animals, and these big kitties are so perfectly camouflaged it is possible to be within two feet of one with a tracking collar and still not see it.

 

I'll stop now. I think I've made it clear how enjoyable and informative the books in this series are. I haven't managed to talk anyone in the family into starting either of these yet, but my ceaseless yammering will wear down their resistance. Perhaps you are not a fan of books for younger readers, or you're not interested in the science of [insert fascinating topic here]. Even so, I ask you to keep them in mind. Make sure the youngest people of your acquaintance have a copy that suits their particular interests. Keep them in mind as an introduction to a topic that is more entertaining and encompassing than the average Wiki, but short enough to read in a couple of hours. Or just check one out of the library to look at the pretty pictures (the photography meets the same high standards as the text, and the back matter) and read the captions, that'll teach you enough to sound well informed at the next cocktail party [I've never actually attended a cocktail party, possibly they do not exist outside of fiction. Feel free to substitute the making-conversation-with-strangers-or-nearly scenario that works best for you.]

 

If you aren't in the habit of reading nonfiction for children, but you've read this gushing review anyway, I thank you. If you didn't read the review, but somehow found this bit at the end, I'll put it in this perspective: if I graded books on a scale, all the others would have to be marked down from five stars to one.

 

Library copy

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-02-17 04:04
Book 2/100: The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Marianna Mayer

The Twelve Dancing PrincessesThe Twelve Dancing Princesses by Marianna Mayer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think I might have read this when I was a kid, but I reread because a friend in my book club said it had been her favorite book when she was growing up.

Illustrations are gorgeous and Mayer is excellent at adapting fairy tales -- I still long to find her adaptation of Aladdin that I fell in love with when I was young. What surprised me in this adaptation was the emphasis on the feelings and experience of the boy who uncovers the princesses' secret. I always thought of this as a story about sisters and their illicit adventures, but this version makes it the male "rescuer's" story. I wonder if that is the way the story is traditionally told or if that was the focus of this particular telling.

At any rate, it was a little discomfiting. As a kid I certainly never noticed how creepy the idea of a boy going invisible so he can spy on a room full of girls/women was! But the strangeness of it all is one of the things that still makes this a rich and compelling fairy tale to me, regardless of how it is told or who is emphasized.

View all my reviews

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-02-09 16:48
Life Doesn't Frighten Me - Maya Angelou, Jean-Michel Basquiat (Illustrator)
Life Doesn't Frighten Me - Maya Angelou,Jean-Michel Basquiat (Illustrator),Jean-Michel Basquat

I really can't imagine that I would have cared much for the art of Basquiat if the editor hadn't done such a fabulous job of pairing the words with the pictures. The result feels like a close collaboration, rather than an after-the-fact pairing. Nice back matter, for those who care, too.

And a shout-out to my local librarians who always find new books to tempt me with in their displays, even when I'm in  bit of a reading slump.

Library copy

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-02-09 16:33
Pet Show! - Ezra Jack Keats
Pet Show! - Ezra Jack Keats

There aren't nearly enough books showing the lives of working-class kids in the US. There are even fewer that show people making an effort to improve the lives of others as anything other than an individual act of kindness. Bring back the red-diaper babies! Bring back the goal of social justice! I want to see people striving for equality again.

Library copy

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-02-09 14:28
Down the Back of the Chair - Margaret Mahy,Polly Dunbar
Down the Back of the Chair - Margaret Mahy,Polly Dunbar

   Super silly picture book wherein the father keeps pulling increasingly less probably items from under the seat cushion of a comfy chair. The archetypal comfy chair. The one I've become obsessed with. Now in addition to passing time looking at gorgeous home libraries on Pinterest, I've taken to looking for chairs closest to this ideal. I haven't found one yet. But now I have another ridiculously pointless quest to amuse my idle moments.

Library copy

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?