Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Scholastic Discover More Series

Grades K-2
Grades 2-4
Grades 5 and up
Scholastic has recently launched an exciting new nonfiction series, Discover More.  Each volume is informative and visually attractive.  The books are aimed at three levels of readers, from Kindergarten through Middle School.  Spectacular color photographs and thoughtful book designs ensure that children will be drawn to the books.  Parents and teachers get a special bonus--each book comes with a free digital book.  After loading the companion eBook  onto a PC, Mac, or iPad, readers get more information about the topic, including videos, animations, and additional text and photos.  Titles for "Emergent Readers" include See Me Grow, Farm, Animal Babies, and My Body; "Confident Readers" have Planets and Penguins; while Expert Readers can tackle The Elements and Ocean and Sea.  Library patrons can make use of the digital books because code within each printed book allows access to the digital book and can be used multiple times.  These books are a great way to get kids excited about nonfiction!--Lucinda Whitehurst.  (The Elements by Dan Green; Ocean and Sea by Steve Parker; Penguins, Planets, See Me Grow, and Farm by Penelope Arion and Tory Gordon-Harris; Animal Babies by Andrea Pinnington and Tory Gordon-Harris; My Body by Andrea Pinnington and Penny Lamprell; all Scholastic, 2012)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Ballywhinney Girl by Eve Bunting and Emily Arnold McCully

“A bog is a stretch of wet, spongy land found in places that have heavy rainfall, such as Ireland.  Plants and grasses grow on its surface.  There are mosses in the acidic soil.  Partly decayed trees and plants mash together in the bog to make peat.  The mosses and peat contain natural preservatives, so anything that sinks in the bog decays very slowly.”  Peat is cut into bricklike blocks and used to burn in fireplaces.  Diggers find all sorts of artifacts in the peat bogs, such as primitive weapons, tools and, sometimes, mummified bones and human bodies.  More than eighty mummified bodies have been found in Irish bogs.  Many others have been found in other countries having similar weather and soil conditions.  In most cases these finds have been treated as scientific discoveries.  However, in Ireland with its rich history of storytelling and mysticism, it is likely that a story will grow up around a find. 

Eve Bunting mines her native land again for Ballywhinney Girl, which is beautifully illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully.  When young Maeve and her grandfather discover a mummy in the bog, the whole village is amazed.  The police and the scientists are called in and quickly appropriate the find for investigation and preservation.  As more information about the mummy filters in, Maeve imagines the real girl who roamed the same meadows and lanes Maeve herself does.  We readers can imagine the ghostly elements recounted in a lilting Irish brogue--Wilma Snyder.  (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2012)