Here's a sweet -- no pun intended -- and lovely blend of fiction and informational text… Fred's a New Yorker who resides in Brooklyn AND he's also a beekeeper. If you've never considered the possibility of bees performing their magic in an urban environment, pick up this book for an engaging, enlightening read. Fred's bees zip around their city neighborhood and beyond, sampling the nectar of diverse plants, helping to pollinate and gathering up the different flavors that make a perfect blend of honey. The inside covers and overleaf have excellent illustrations and captions that offer additional information on the life cycle and habits of bees and the author includes two pages of "amazing facts" that enhance the fictional story. This book would be perfect to enhance the study of insects at the early elementary level.
Illustrations by Kyrsten Brooker. Published by Schwartz & Wade Book, a Random House imprint, 2011.
"We Shall Overcome," a song closely associated with the civil rights movement in the United States is now the subject of a vibrant picture book. The book traces the timeline of the song, starting with its origins in the days of slavery in the American south, and captures the struggles of African-Americans to achieve equal rights. From the Civil War to the Freedom Rides and lunch counter sit-ins, to the signing of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts, to the election of the first black president, We Shall Overcome brilliantly illustrates a people's yearning for freedom from repression.
Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. pp. 32. Published by Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 2013)
On a teeny little farm, in an itty-bitty coop, a very small hen laid a big, giant egg. And out of this egg came one big, humongous . . . something. The clueless chickens in the farm yard can't make sense of the gigantic new member of their family. Is it an elephant? Is it ... something else? What exactly is it? However, as the calamities start to pile up, one thing's for sure, whatever it is, it's a hero! Looking for a funny read-aloud? Try this clever mutation on the old Chicken Little tale and giggles will quickly ensue!
Published by Chronicle Books, 2010. p. 32.
Remember when snow was fun, fun, fun?
While “helping” his mother with holiday housecleaning, a boy keeps a watchful eye on the progress of a winter storm. He’s hoping for a big snow. A really big snow. Inside, he is underfoot, turning sheet-changing and tub-scrubbing into imaginary whiteouts. Outside, flakes are flying. But over the course of a long day (for Mom) the clouds seem slow on delivering a serious snowfall. Then comes a dreamy naptime adventure, marking just the beginning of high hopes coming true in this irresistible seasonal story.
Illustrated by author. p. 32. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013
Children are perfectly delightful creatures ... except when they're not. Case in point, Henry and Eve, who are going through a "phase." A whiny phase. A very whiny phase. Their patient father warns them about the monsters who devour children who are going through such phases, but do Henry and Eve listen? Well, if they did, we wouldn't have much of a story. The whiny brats soon learn the perils of being snatched by the hungry monster -- and being eaten is the least of their problems. Trying listening to whiny monsters for a day... A wry cautionary tale that will please kids and adults.
Illustrations by author. pp. 32. Published by Simon & Schuster, 2010.
Joanne Zienty is a school librarian, teacher, reader, writer and published author who firmly believes there are so many good books and not enough time to read them!