A Place For Bats
Written by Melissa Stewart
Illustrated by Higgins Bond
Ages: 7 - 10
Grade Level: 2 – 3
This is a beautiful book, and so well done that that this is the 2nd edition. Its end pages feature 12 North American maps, each with a different kind of bat and where it lives. Inside the book, each bat gets a spread, with a paragraph or two about it. The top of the spread tells how bats are in danger, and ways we can help them. This is one title from a successful series. There are another half-dozen animals who are featured in this series.
Written by Lisa Amstutz
Illustrated by Talitha Shipman
Ages: 4 - 8
Grade Level: P – 3
Nothing is more American than apple pie, or applesauce. Applesauce Day is about a family’s tradition. Follow Maria to Grandma’s house where you’ll learn how to make applesauce, from picking the apples, to taste-testing the product. Yum! Best of all, you’ll find an applesauce recipe to try yourself. Maybe it’ll become a family tradition! The end page, Amazing Apple Facts, connects Astronaut John Glenn to apples, and that’s amazing!
Written and Illustrated by Jan Brett
Ages: 4 - 8
Grade Level: P – 3
I’ve loved Jan Brett books forever, and now I’ve got a new one to love. The Mermaid is an underwater version of Goldilocks and the 3 bears. This time Goldilocks is a mermaid, and the bears are octupuses. The story uses the basic Goldilocks plot, but with ocean details. No one illustrates, or does borders like Jan Brett! And, there’s a great twist at the end. Goldilocks never made things right for Baby Bear, but Kiniro the Mermaid does. Read and find out how. FYI: Inspiration can strike anywhere! Jan found it on a visit to her daughter in Okinawa. A baby octopus waving hello from a coral reef.
Written by Bridget Heos
Illustrated by Alejandro O'Keeffe
Ages: 5 - 6
Grade Level: P - K
Who doesn’t love a dog book, and this is such a unique one! Queen Dog belongs to a young couple. Life is good till a new baby arrives and Queen Dog finds herself pushed aside. Read and find out if the Queen can hold onto her throan, and her humans.
Bridget was inspired by her aunt whose dog didn’t understand why the baby got all the gifts. This story has so much personality, and it packs it into only 400 words. It’s the kind of story I’d love to write!
Lucy’s Lab: Nuts About Science
Written by Michelle Houts
Illustrated by Elizabeth Zechel
Ages: 7 - 9
Grade Level: 1-4
I’m nuts about Lucy’s Lab, and Lucy’s excited about 2nd grade, until she discovers something missing, her favorite tree from 1st grade. Lucy investigates, and one library trip later, she’s ready to solve the problem. Now all she needs to do is convince the principal that the squirrels need a new habitat, a White Oak tree.
The theme of this story is getting kids, especially girls interested in science. Mrs. Flippo has a science lab complete with goggles, lab coats, and a skeleton named Mr. Bones. I taught 2nd grade for 30 years, and now I wish I were still teaching! But…I can still bring in my copy when I sub, and I can still get kids into science, their teachers too. After all who wouldn’t want a science lab with Mr. Bones in their classroom!
This is my friend and author Michelle Houts. This week’s blog was about author visits. I’ve never seen her do one, but I’ve seen her posts about them on FB. They sound wonderful! If your school is interested in scheduling one, contact her at michellehouts.com.
PS- I’ve done 2 of Michelle’s weekend author classes. She is wonderful at guiding your writing, helping you to find the good, and flush out the bad. Thanks, Michelle!
Sheepdogs: Meet Our Nation’s Warriors
Written by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and Stephanie Rogish
Illustrated by Joey Karwal
Amazon Customer wrote: For ages 5 – 95
A friend recommended this book as a mentor text for a project I’m working on. It was written for law enforcement and military families, and it explains what they do and why.
The sheepdog analogy explains in story form what our police and military do. Sheep represent most people. We want peace. Wolves are the bad guys who harm us. They might look peaceful, but they’re not. Sheepdogs represent our police and military. They protect us from danger. They may look scary, but they’re not. A true sheepdog will always protect you from harm.
If you know someone who serves in the military or in law enforcement, this is the perfect gift for their family. It takes a complicated job and simplifies it beautifully. I hope you’ll read it and honor sheepdogs ,where ever you find them.
Mermaid Tales: Twist and Shout
Written by Debbie Dadey
Ages: 8 - 12
Grade level: 3 – 7
I matched this week’s blog about friendship to a great book. It was written by a friend, about friendship. In Twist and Shout, Echo’s practicing for the dance team’s competition when tradgedy strikes. She falls from her seahorse and is hurt so badly she can’t move her tail or manoever without crutches. The worst part, because of her accident, her team could lose. Thanks to a little help from her friends, Echo competes using crutches and helps her team win. Did you know that Mermaid Tales #17, Ready, Set, Goal, just came out? If you haven’t read Mermaid Tales, check them out!
Here’s a picture of Debbie and I. I met her last year, but I’ve known her forever, through the 30-some books in my classroom collection. Now when I sub, I meet more of Debbie’s friends. Like me, they know her through books like the Bailey Kids series and Mermaid Tales
Written by Rick Starkey
Ages: 8 - 12
Grade level: 3 – 7
I love this book! It could be because I joined a Sevierville critique group with Rick and his sister, Ann, but it’s not. It’s simply well written! When I sub, I bring along autographed books. When I show Blues Bones to middle graders, especially boys, they pick it up. They even write down Rick’s name so they can find this book later.
In Blues Bones, Rodney plays in front of his classmates for the first time. He freezes and becomes the school joke. Somehow Rodney and his best friend meet a famous guitarist with voodoo connections. The boys put together a spell with a few ingredients and a “real finger bone,” but they wind up with more problems than stage fright. Debbie Dady, another member of the Sevierville critique group, added this quote to the cover, “Readers will worry about Rodney as he plays with Voodoo. Love the twist at the end!”
I did too! And, I want to know what happens to Rodney after the book’s over. The sequel’s written, but it’s waiting on his publisher. I hope they print it. Readers, like me, are ready for more from Rodney and Blues Bones!
The first picture is Rick and I at the Nashville SCBWI conference. Did you know Rick is also a magician and a musician? He’s multi-talented!
The skull alphabet book is a clue to my next blog. Can you guess what’s in it?
Written & illustrated by Emily Gravett
Ages: 4 - 8
Grade level: P – 3
This story is so unique! I’ve never met an OCD story character before (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), but now I have, and I loved him! Badger Pete can’t stand messes so he cleans everything from mismatched flowers to a tangled fox’s tail to birds in their bird bath. He even sorts the birds by size. Now that’s OCD! Things go a little too far when he takes on the forest and cleans it up. Read this book to find out how wrong cleaning can be. By the end Pete realizes his mistake and promises to tidy less. Whether he succeeds is anyone’s guess. I hope so! There’s more to life than cleaning!
Cook Me a Rhyme: In the Kitchen with Mother Goose
Written by Bryan Kozlowski
Ages: 6 - 9
Grade level: K - 6
This book is YUMMY!!! Literally! Bryan took Mother Goose and gave her a recipe for some of her famous rhymes. His menu features brunch, lunch, treats, and sweets. First up, or down, is Humpty Dumpty who serves up Tumbledown Toast. Check your kitchen for bread, ham, eggs, salt/pepper, and cheese. Each rhyme line matches a cooking step. Humpty D. sat on a wall…set up bread wall. When the recipe’s done you’ll have an egg nestled in toast, baked for 12 minutes. Yum, Tumbledown Toast!
Bryan’s directions are kid/mom friendly. When something sounds dangerous, Mother G appears to ask for a grown-up’s help. The book ends with Jack and Jill and a pail Cotton-Crown water. To make it, you’ll need seltzer water, white grape juice, cotton candy, and maraschino cherries. Try out Mother G’s recipes…you’ll gobble them up!
PS- Bryan is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America. His first book did so well he wrote this one. I wonder what he’ll do next, maybe Hansel, Gretel, and that Gingerbread House. YUMMY!
Whenever I read or write, I find a comfy chair with a great view. I get my favorite drink, stretch out, and let the words take me away.