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Showing posts from November, 2018

Ghost Story Dice, illustrations by Hannah Waldron, by Magma for Laurence King

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Ghost Story Dice  illustrated by Hannah Waldron &  magma for Laurence King Review Copy from Laurence King Nine wooden dice represent a multitude of ghostly, supernatural icons that combine to make spine tingling stories. From bats, a broken down car, and a book of spells to a creaking staircase, a dungeon, a graveyard, to rattling chains, a skull, a storm and zombies - and many more, the possibilities are endless. A special die with icons in red comes into play when when the hypnotic swirl of the "super powers" symbol is rolled. When this happens, the hero of the story can gain the power of invisibility or hypnotism, get a love potion or even the power to shrink baddies, stick baddies to walls or make plants come alive! Each Story Telling Dice set comes with a booklet detailing the Picture List (just in case you aren't sure what is on your die) and Rules, along with suggestions for game play. There are endless ways to play with the dice, the best of which is that this gam…

Story Box: Animal Adventures by Claudia Boldt

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Story Box: Animal Adventures Illustrated by Claudia Boldt&magma Review Copy from Laurence King
Earlier this year, I reviewed (and completely adored) Story Box: Create Your Own Fairy Tales. I gave the story telling puzzle (20 double sided pieces, 40 illustrations and eight feet of story telling fun) a test run at home and then took it to school with me where is was hugely popular, especially with English language learners and special ed students. Illustrator and storyteller Claudia Boldt's tagline is, "Strange Worlds and Absurd Characters," and this is on full and fabulous display here! The starting piece gives storytellers two ways to being an adventure - with a polar bear in a cozy sweater sitting on a floating chunk of ice and holding a map in her/his hand AND with a smiling tortoise on a desert island, party hat on her/his head, standing in front of a calendar (strung between two coconut trees) showing that the fiesta day has arrived. Tortoise's party adventure fea…

Everything & Everywhere: A Fact-Filled Adventure for Curious Globe-Trotters by Marc Martin

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Everything & Everywhere: A Fact-Filled Adventure for Curious Globe-Trotters by Marc Martin Review copy from Chronicle Books Martin, author of the stunning picture book A River, brings fifteen fantastic locales to the page with marvelous watercolors that focus on fascinating facets of each place, most of which are cities, with Antarctica, Alice Springs, the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon Rainforest representing the natural world. The book doesn't quite go everywhere as promised in the title (the UK title for this book is LOTS), but it absolutely lives up to its name in every other way, especially when it comes to curiosity. Endpapers feature a map of the world showing the destinations visited and ending with the whole world at night, with all the lights on. An author's note perfectly captures the spirit of this book, asking readers, "How many cats live in Cairo? How many languages are spoken in New York? What is pylsusinnep?" Martin's curiosity explodes of the p…

Story Box: Ghost Story by Ella Bailey

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Ghost Story Box: Create Your Own Spooky Tales by Ella Bailey & magma Review Copy from Laurence King If you've read my reviews of Story Box: Create Your Own Fairy Tales and Story Box: Animal Adventure, then you already know how much I - and my students - love them! Twenty double sided puzzle pieces combine to make an eight-foot-long story with a total of forty illustrations to choose from. One starting piece allows for two different story starters, while three pieces allow for six different endings. While I absolutely love fairy tales, I think that Ghost Story Box just might be my favorite, both for its sweetly spooky story lines and Bailey's charming illustrations. A girl, a boy and a ghost are characters in both story lines. While picnicking with her parents, a girl discovers a ghost family living in a pink house that is about to be torn down! Another potential story features a boy, the ghost, an evil magician and a fun fair. When the ghost and all his friends and family, inc…

Startalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson: Young Readers Edition, 220pp, RL 4

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Startalkbegan (and continues) as a podcast in 2009 with astrophysicistNeil deGrasse Tyson bringing space, science, pop-culture together with celebrity cohosts from the worlds of science and entertainment to talk about everything from science's most challenging topics, like how the brain works, to the physics of comic book superheroes. In 2015, Startalk became a talk show on the National Geographic channel and has been nominated for an Emmy. Tyson's passion is contagious and he imparts his knowledge with wit and charm that have won him fans from all corners of the world. With Startalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Young Readers Edition, topics from Tyson's shows make their way onto the page along with striking photos, thought-provoking sidebars, enlightening facts and fun quotes from luminaries like Bill Nye, Elon Musk, Buzz Aldrin, Josh Groban and lots of scientists. It's impossible not to get caught up in Tyson's infinite curiosity with space, the world and the humans…

Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon, selected by Fiona Waters, 334 pp, RL: 2

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Sing a Song of Seasons:  A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year Illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon Review Copy from Nosy Crow,  an imprint of Candlewick Press A bountiful collection of poetry, preferably in one well illustrated book, is a MUST for every child's bookshelf. I am happy to tell you that Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year is exactly that book! In her excellent introduction, Kate Wilson, managing director for Nosy Crow, shares the impact the gift of a fat book of poems (without illustrations) on her seventh birthday made on her, writing,
I asked Fiona Waters to choose the poems and Frann Preston-Gannon to create the illustrations so that each page became an invitation to draw the reader in. As you can see, the illustrations definitely draw you in and make you want to keep on reading. The cohesiveness of Preston-Gannon's illustrations lend an almost narrative feel to the book, and her animals and insects are have a friendly air about them and ev…