Thursday, August 22, 2013

Back to School picture books

We home school so we're not really "going" to school. However, that doesn't preclude us from being interested in seasonal titles and Candlewick Press always presents some curious picture books for particular occasions. I was asked if I'd like to review the additional titles and I (obviously) accepted.

How Did That Get in My Lunchbox?: The Story of Food is listed as the American Farm Bureau's Book of the Year. Geared toward kindergartners and the early grade levels, this book talks about where food comes from. (I bet you couldn't guess that all by your lonesome, could ya?) The book opens by explaining that although we tend to buy our food in stores, it doesn't grow there. In order to be able to eat a sandwich, a farmer had to plant wheat which then had to be harvested and sent to the flour mill. The flour had to be sent to a bakery to be made into loaves of bread. The cheese began as warm milk and ultimately is shaped into blocks which are sliced thin enough to go in the sandwich and so on and so forth. The text is simple and straightforward. The illustrations compliment the text very well giving the reader a greater understanding about how much work and effort is required to grow and produce the food that we eat. Nicely done! I very much like this title.

Mesmerizing Math is a title that seems rather oxymoronic to my way of thinking. But, not being one who likes to discourage my children away from the things I find, um, less than mesmerizing, I thought we'd give this title a go. Mesmerizing Math is designed with 7 to 10 year olds in mind. It is an interactive book with tabs and flaps to lift and it talks about math is all around us to terrify us endlessly and should be joyously explored. Written by a former math teacher, who was also the son of a pair of math teachers (!), Litton discusses such subjects as: measurement, the number family, percentages, circles, chance and data collection. Although this book does not make my favorite sort of read aloud, my six year old has enjoyed browsing this title and appears to be gleaning information from it so I have no objections to it! The illustrations by Thomas Flintham are a bit busy but since the entire point of this book is to share different mathematical concepts and not to tell a story, I feel like the busy page spreads are called for to help keep a child's attention. (Or maybe they just help keep my attention, I don't know.)

Lastly, we took a look at Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit Up the World (release date: September 10th). Edison discovered how to use a direct current of electricity (DC) but a Serbian by the name of Nikola Tesla discovered how to use an alternative current (AC). People said that an alternating current could not be used safely and therefore ought not to be experimented with. Thomas Edison was one of Telsa's chief adversaries in exploring this alternate way of providing electricity but Tesla ignored the naysayers and ultimately prevailed. He was the one who discovered how to harness the energy of Niagra Falls, providing power to the city of New York City! I had never heard of Tesla before but this picture book has most definitely piqued my interest in the man. Definitely be on the look-out for this title!

Many thanks to Candlewick Press for sending copies of the above titles for the purpose of facilitating my review and sharing my my honest thoughts and. I have received no additional compensation for this review.

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