Favorite Quotes

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."
— Emilie Buchwald

“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”
-- Dr. Seuss, "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!"

Monday, August 9, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: Moon Bear

Guiberson, Brenda Z., and illustrated by Ed Young. Moon Bear. New York: Holt, 2010.

This is a beautifully illustrated informational picture book about the rare moon bear or asiatic bear.  The story follows one moon bear through a year of activities beginning and ending with waking up in the Springtime from hibernation.  Each page starts with a question and then a poem like answer.  For example:
"Who blinks in the sunlight that peaks through the Himalayas?
Sleepy moon bear,
waking up
from a long winter snooze."
We see what these bears eat, drink, and do while they are awake. The end of the story shows a mama and baby moon bear awaking in the Spring.  We also learn that these bears have a blaze on their chest that looks like a crescent moon.  The endpapers of the book have black bear shapes on a blue background, that draw the reader into the story of this mysterious bear.  The reader learns that these bears live in Southeast Asia and that there are more of them in captivity than in the wild.  The book information page states that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the Animals Asia Foundation to help the moon bears and other animals of Asia. Check out their informational website to learn how you can help.
At the back of the book there is an author's note about moon bears, photos of real moon bears and information about how you can help these bears.
This book is recommended for children ages 4-8 and has received a star review from School Library Journal.  Be sure to check out this video about the book.
The author, Brenda Z. Guiberson has authored many books for children including the recent title, Life in the Boreal Forest.  The illustrator, Ed Young, has illustrated numerous children's books.  He is a Caldecott medalist, Caldecott Honor recipient (twice), and has been nominated twice for the Hans Christian Anderson Award.
Extension Activities:  The author's website includes an activities guide with discussion questions and activities. Children could do research about this bear and find ways that they can help.  There are numerous websites available with information about these fascinating bears.
Here are some related books:

Be sure to check out the other Nonfiction Monday posts, this week hosted at Moms Inspire Learning.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum

McCarthy, Meghan. Pop!: The Invention of Bubble Gum. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010.

Gum!  Who doesn't love gum?  This is a great picture book about the invention of bubble gum in a most unexpected way.  The end papers of this book feature a bubblegum pink background with illustrations of gum balls in various colors.  This sets the tone for the storyline.  We see the story of Walter Diemer, who is an accountant at a gum and candy factory in Philadelphia.  The illustrations get more colorful as Walter gets closer to finding the correct recipe for gum that makes bubbles.  Walter gets asked to watch over a gum experiment and this leads to Walter experimenting with the gum recipe until he gets it just right.  His discovery saves the company from closing and he eventually becomes the vice president of the company.  I enjoyed the illustrations of this book, especially the bubble like eyes of the people displayed on the pages.  We also get a look at the history of gum in the world.  Did you know that even the Ancient Greeks had a form of gum?  Do you know why the famous bubblegum has its pink color?  Read this interesting book to find out!
The back of the book contains some additional information about Walter Diemer, even more fun facts about gum and a list of resources used to write the book.
Megan McCarthy's book about gum has received a star review from School Library Journal.  This book is recommended for children grades 1-4, but I think younger children would enjoy the picture book style of writing.  McCarthy has written several other books that you may be familiar with including: City Hawk: The Story of Pale Male and Seabiscuit: Wonder Horse.
Extension Activities:  This book would make a fun addition to a study of inventions and inventors.  It could also be used as a start to a fun day or program about bubble gum and candy.  You could even make your own bubble gum if you have the time or you can buy a bubble gum making kit.  You can even sing a song about bubble gum!  There are many science experiments you could perform about gum (which gum makes the biggest bubbles?  Does gum weigh more after being chewed?  etc.).  Here are some other books about the wonderful world of gum:

Be sure to check out the rest of the Nonfiction Monday posts, this week hosted by Three Turtles and Their Pet Librarian!