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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Book Review: Random Body Parts: Gross Anatomy Riddles in Verse

Scientists might know what happens when left brain meets right. Literature enthusiasts are about to find out.

Bulion gives a nod to Shakespeare with poem titles like "Wherefore Art Thou, Alveoli?" and "Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Auricles!" While exploring the inner workings of the human body through different poetry styles, the reader gets a chance to guess the organ systems from  silly and sometimes "icky" rhymes. Though the answers are found on the same page, it doesn't take the fun of the riddle away.

The comic illustrations mixed with microscopic close up of body systems strengthens the smile muscles and gives the eyes plenty of  exercise. The intended audience may be too young for the back "poetry notes" and the relations to Shakespeare's work but are interesting, nevertheless. A fun book to stimulate the budding scientist's interest in literature and to plant the blooming poet firmly into the world of science.

Rating:  Recommended ★★★★☆

Publishing Information:
Written by Leslie Bulion
Illustrated by Mike Lowery
Publisher: Peachtree (March 2015)
ISBN: 978-1-56145-737-3
Ages 8-12

This book can be purchased from the following retailers:

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**ARC copy received at no charge from the publisher to facilitate my review.**

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Book Review: History in the Faking by Andreas Oertel

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.
The dry season has left the small town of Sultana, Manitoba struggling. The tourists no longer want to camp along the nearly dry riverbed. The loss of tourism causes financial hardship to the residents who depend on it to eek out a living. Cody gets nervous about his best friend's mom restaurant job. If she loses it, his friend, Eric and his twin sister, Rachel will have to move. Cody will do anything to keep his friends in town. Even if that means creating a hoax that will bring visitors to Sultana.

Cody, Eric and Rachel set to work on creating an "ancient Egyptian" tablet, which chronicles a group of travelers from Egypt who make it up the Mississippi River only to find themselves stranded in Manitoba. When Dr. Murray (some type of retired doctor) "discovers" the tablet along the riverbed, it brings a buzz of activity to Sultana. The group of friends find themselves in a bind with seemingly no way out.

Oertel takes an implausible event and turns it into a delightful archeological adventure sure to hook readers who will no doubt want to read the next book in the series. Solid middle grade book that will appeal equally to boys and girls while peaking their interest in archeology.

Rating:  Recommended ★★★★☆

Publishing Information: 

Publisher: Wandering Fox Books
Pages: 192
ISBN-13: 978-1-772030-082
Ages: 8-1

This book can be purchased at the following retailers:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book Review: And in the Morning: Fields of Conflict - The Somme, 1916 by John Wilson

Book received at no charge from publisher to facilitate my review.

A gift of a soldier's diary leads to the discovery of a family secret.

In the pages of the diary, fifteen year-old, Jim Hay pens his thought. With his country at war and his father leaving for battle, Jim desires to join the cause. Even after his father dies in battle, he imagines an adventurous and heroic life as a World War I soldier.

The fight to survive in the trenches in France has Jim longing for his true love at home while he lives through the horrors war with an outcome even he never anticipated.

While Wilson aptly describes the atrocities of World War I, it feels tedious in places. However, enough action is disbursed to keep the reader intrigued enough to find out what happens to the young soldier and the bride he left behind.
Publishing Information:

Publisher: Wandering Fox Books
ISBN: 978-1-772030-14-3
Ages: 12 & up

Rating:  Good to Recommended ★★★✬ ☆☆
Book can be purchased at the following retailer

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Book Review: Joltin' Joe DiMaggio by Jonah Winter & Illustrated by James E. Ransome

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.
Not many sports stars transcend time. Each generation makes way for new heroes. But when a legend like Joe DiMaggio paves the way, even new baseball fans will delight in turning back the pages of time.

In a time when baseball was the biggest sport in America, Joe DiMaggio wanted one thing. No way would becoming a fisherman like his father fill his plate. Instead, Joe made money in his teens playing baseball. He didn't have to talk about how good he was, he let his bat talk for him. Not only did his dad take notice, but the New York Yankee's discovered Joe as well and signed him to America's greatest team while only nineteen. Brought in to fill in Babe Ruth's shoes, the young kid proved himself worthy and quickly earned the nickname of "Joltin Joe"and a spot in the history books. Always classy, Joe DiMaggio earned respect even outside of the 'stat' books.
The attention to detail in Ransome's watercolor will bring back fond memories for grandparents wanting to share a blast from the past while reading to their grandchildren. Joltin' Joe Dimaggio scores a home run to the young baseball lover looking for a hero.

Rating: Recommended ★★★★☆