Almost Time by Gary D. Schmidt & Elizabeth Stickney; illustrated by G. Brian Karas. 2020. Pencil and digital color. Published by Clarion Books.
Brief summary: Ethan asks his father if it is sap running time yet after sitting down to eat pancakes that have applesauce instead of maple syrup. The week after, Ethan’s dad makes him corn bread but still no syrup. He keeps asking his father when it will be time. Each Sunday, Ethan gets another answer. The days finally warm up with more sunlight. It’s maple syrup season! Ethan helps his father boil the syrup and pour the thickened liquid into bottles. Pancakes with syrup at last.
Comments: Young readers can relate to looking forward to having pancakes with syrup for breakfast but keep getting everything else instead.
I would include this book in the how things are made unit.
The maple syrup season is when the days are around 40* and the nights are below freezing which are usually between mid February to mid March.
The Sad Little Fact by Jonah Winter; illustrated by Pete Oswald. 2019. Digitally illustrated using gouache watercolor textures. Published by Schwartz and Wade.
Brief summary: A sad little fact is laughed at and ridiculed. The Authorities(with a capital “A”) demand that the sad little fact admits that it is NOT a fact. It refuses to lie which angers the Authorities, so they throw it into a locked box buried in the ground with other facts. While underground, the Authorities create a factory of lies calling them facts. These lies pretending to be facts cause the skies to darken. The fact finders come along demanding to know where the facts are buried. The fact finders start to dig and find the box of true facts. They release them, and the facts chase away the darkness of the world.
Comments: What a great parable to share before teaching media literacy! For all ages, including adults.
I cheered for the fact finders!
The little facts are cute fuzzy circles with large eyes and skinny stick arms and legs.
Source: Open Society Foundation at :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1eZ3Wyn-ZI
Three Ways to Trap a Leprechaun by Tara Lazar; illustrated by Vivienne To. 2020. Published by Harper.
Brief summary: Claire’s younger brother, Sam, does not believe in leprechauns. She decides to make a trap and capture one to show her brother. She plans and builds the first trap. Foiled. Finn, the leprechaun, leaves her a note. Finn is determined to make a better trap. Sprung. Another note by Finn. Will the trap Claire and Sam build together work this time?
Comments: Instructions of how to build a leprechaun trap are in the back. Wouldn’t it be a fun maker-space activity for students to build traps?
Oh, No! Look What the Cat Dragged In by Joy H. Davidson; illustrated by Jenny Cooper. 2020. Published by Salariya.
Brief summary: Two grandchildren wake each day of the week to find Grandma’s black cat bringing in various things through the cat door causing all sorts of chaos.
Comments: This is a fun read-aloud with hilarious rhyming situations and large colorful illustrations.
What to Do with a String by Jane Yolen; illustrated by C.F. Payne. 2019. Published by Creative Editions.
Brief summary: A young girl uses her imagination and finds many uses of a string in some realistic and imaginary ways.
Comments: Told in verse and with rhyming words. Two page layouts. This would go well with introducing a maker space with string.
Sequel to What to Do with a Box(2016).
O is for Ohio by Kelley Clark; illustrated by James Balkovek. 2019. Published by Outskirts Press.
Brief summary: Readers go through the alphabet learning about some of Ohio’s unique local history, animals, and people.
Comments: This book could be read for primary and secondary students, as it is set up with larger fonts for young readers and smaller fonts for older ones with more detailed features.
I learned some things about Ohio I did not know earlier such as “P” is for Paczki donuts.
This is not a narrative nonfiction picture book, but I included it in my reviews. I think it would be a good addition to have in a school, classroom, or personal library.
Be a Maker by Katey Howes; illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic. 2019. Watercolor, gouache, colored pencils, and Adobe Photoshop. Published by Carolrhoda Books.
Brief summary: A young girl wakes up wondering what she will make today using objects in her room until she goes outside in her spaceship and befriends a boy who also starts to make things with her throughout the day.
Comments: The span of the book is one day with the two children making messes, noise, art, a spaceship, a friend, lunch and so on as the day moves. What a great book to get young readers using their imaginations with materials around them.
Give Me Back My Bones! by Kim Norman; illustrated by Bob Kolar. 2019. Digitally created. Published by Candlewick Press.
Brief summary: A skeleton at the bottom of the ocean slowly finds and puts himself back together again with the help of the the sea creatures
Comments: The internal rhyming and rhythm of this book are funny with silly wordplay young readers will find delightful to repeat. I would share this read-aloud book when starting the skeleton system in primary school.
The front end pages have the skeleton disassembled with the bones labeled, while the back end pages are of a pirate skeleton assembled with the bones labeled. Two paged layouts throughout.
Hum and Swish by Matt Myers; illustrated by Matt Myers. 2019. Acrylic and oil paint. Published by Neal Porter Books.
Brief summary: Jamie explores the beach randomly picking up things to make something in the sand but is unsure what that will be yet. The young girl is asked by several people what she is making but repeatedly answers, ” I don’t know”. Jamie hums as she creates. A painter with an easel sets up near her. They both create and coincide with one another throughout the day. They share their finished art projects with one another.
Comments: I like this quiet book of creating art. This would be a great book for an art teacher to share with the class before a lesson.
Moon!: Earth’s Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty; illustrated by Stevie Lewis. 2019. Colored pencils and digital tools. Published by Henry Holt and Co.
Brief summary: Moon tells the story of the friendship she has with Earth. She is Earth’s best friend and only satellite. Moon tells all about how she orbits the earth, smiling the whole time and never showing her back to her BFF. Moon explains how some earthlings have walked on her and left their footprints. Earth’s friends are her’s too.
Comments: Superb beginning book about the moon, how it rotates, tides, gravity, myths and so on. Definite must for any library collection.
Back pages have interesting facts about the moon. Illustrations are large and often two-fold.
This story is told through the moon’s perspective.
Personification of the moon and earth.
Others in the Our Universe series by Stacy McAnulty: