Monthly Archives: April 2011

Reading About (and watching) Hummingbirds! : Little Green by Keith Baker

Spring is here. For me that means tulips blooming, sunshine, a light jacket (instead of my heavy coat) and birds chirping. If you’re looking for a book to celebrate spring with your young reader try Little Green by Keith Baker. This quick story shows a boy as he discovers a hummingbird outside of his window. He watches the bird fly as he paints its flight patterns. The illustrations in this book are bright and vivid collages accented by strokes paint. I think you’ll be delighted by this fun and simple read.

If you want to see a real hummingbird after reading this book, go to Live Hummingbird Cam and check out Phoebe the hummingbird.

Find Little Green at a library near you!


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Civil War Non-fiction Pick: You Wouldn’t Want to Be in the First Submarine! by Ian Graham, Illustrated by David Antram

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Like any major event in U.S history, the Civil War presents readers and educators with a lot of ground to cover when it comes to understanding all of the whos, hows and whys. Lately I’ve been interested in the technological advances made at sea and on the battlefield during the Civil War. A catalog search at my public library led me to You Wouldn’t Want to Be in the First Submarine!: An Undersea Expedition You’d Rather Avoid.

This non-fiction picture book offers up a history of submarines and then focuses on advancements made on submarines during the Civil War, particularly the H.L. Hunley. After many failed voyages, this Confederate vessel was the first submarine to engage another ship in battle.

You Wouldn’t Want to Be in the First Submarine! has fun yet informative illustrations that blend seamlessly with the well balanced text. Best of all, this book shares the scientific principles behind submarines along side their historical timeline making it a great cross curricular read. I would also recommend this book as a an addition to Civil War displays and reading lists.

Find You Wouldn’t Want to Be in the First Submarine! at a library near you!

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My Favorite Web Resources: Part II

Back in February I shared some fun and useful reference resources that I’ve discovered through my LIS coursework this semester. The title of the blog was ‘My Favorite Web Resources: Part I’ –which implies that there will at least be a Part II. So, as promised/implied–I present another round of my favorite web resources.

Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog
This catalog captures the entire image collection of the Library of Congress. While not all of the LOC’s collection is digitized, around ⅓ of it is–which means there is a vast amount of images waiting to be explored. LOC digital collections include everything from Walker Evans Farm Security Administration photos to vintage baseball cards to Japanese woodblock prints.
This website is essentially a guide that offers links and descriptions for additional web resources about the U.S. Government. The site is made up of three broad sections. The first lists sites and resources appropriate for kids in kindergarten through the 5th grade. The next section lists government themed websites for students in grades 6 – 8. Finally, there is a section of the site designed for educators.

Statistical Abstract
The Statistical Abstract is a document and web resource published by the U.S. Census Bureau. This resource aggregates statistical information from multiple government organizations to provide a comprehensive, user-friendly statistical document for free public use. So if you’re wondering how much a gallon of gas cost in 1990 or you want to compare presidential election campaign funds–the Statistical Abstract has you covered–for now. Earlier this year it was announced that the Statistical Abstract is on the chopping block. To learn more about the Statistical Abstract and find out how you can help save it, see the Library Journal article: Statistical Abstract Faces an Untimely Death.

If the unknown fate of the Statistical Abstract can teach us anything, it’s that information resources need us as much as we need them. Some resources aren’t worth saving, but a great many of them are. If there’s a book, website, or service that you can’t live without–tell someone.

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Season Opener

Lets make one thing clear–this blogger loves baseball. This week it occurred to me to marry my love of baseball with my love of books. I went to the Chicago Public Library and checked out a few baseball related picture books. Of the ones I check out, Baseball from A to Z by Michael P. Spradlin, illustrated by Macky Pamintuan, really stood out.

As implied by the title, this book takes the reader through the alphabet, relating each letter to baseball. I don’t think I’m alone when I say I judge themed alphabet books on how well they handle Q, X and Z. Spradlin hits a grand slam by demonstrating those letters against “Quick Release”, Extra Innings” and “Strike Zone.”

The illustrations in Baseball from A to Z make it a true winner. Pamintuan depicts the game in a cartoon-like style juxtaposed with a realistic texture and gem tone color palate. Each player has energy and motion breathing life and excitement into the book.

This book is a great pick for young sports lovers. It would also be good to have on hand at the ballpark to keep younger kids engaged and occupied during games. The simplicity of the alphabet format, combined with artful illustrations make this book accessible and relevant to a range of readers. If you are 3 or 63, I think you will enjoy Baseball from A to Z.

Find Baseball from A to Z at a library near you!

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