Children's Book Reviews

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More Winners from Sylvan Dell!

I so much enjoy my correspondence with the folks at Sylvan Dell as they are friendly and cheerful. That's why their books are so up-beat and heart-warming. Their latest publications are just as gladdening. And, now I'm able to watch the progress of their authors and illustrators as I am reviewing some second and third books of authors and illustrators.
When I was a child I lived in a valley in-land from the coast of northern California, but we often went to the Coast as we called it. I didn't know t
hen about keeping a journal of sketches, writings, and photos, but we did collect shells, build sand castles, check the tide pools for starfish, abalone, and crabs, and play jump rope with seaweed. My favorites were all the shards of pottery and glass. I imagined that they were washed up from sunken treasure ships as I was into reading Treasure Island in those days and my best friend's great-grandparents had exotically moved to California via ship around Cape Horn, instead of across land like the pioneers.
I taught my children to observe and collect at the seashores of California, Britain, and Costa Rica, though never to harm life or take anything if it were a nature preserve. Next time I'm at a seashore I shall journal too, and encourage any child I'm with to do the same! Besides journaling is more environmentally friendly!
I know you'll enjoy these latest books from Sylvan Dell:

In Arctic Waters

What an enjoyable way to learn about Arctic sea and land animals in this rhyming tale! The book, created by author Laura Crawford, has the cadence and cumulative story of the rhyme “The House That Jack Built.” It is wonderful that the charm and humor in the book is such that a young child can easily identify with each animal.

Ben Hodson’s paintings wed the rhyming text perfectly. Children will delight in the expressions of each animal, expressions that tell the tale as much as the text. At the end of the book there is a mini encyclopedia where the inquisitive child can learn more about each animal. It can also be the basis of a classroom unit. Highly recommended for ages three to seven.

The Rainforest Grew All Around

Yum, a rainforest cookie recipe, informative sidebars, and luscious illustrations, make this lovely book a keeper! The text by author Susan K. Mitchell is a cumulative rhyme that takes the reader through life in the rainforest from giant trees to tiny insects and frogs. It highlights both plants and animals.

Connie McLennan’s illustrations are both rich and informative. Children will enjoy the variations of subject and texture in the paintings, perhaps discovering small plants and insects not mentioned in the text. The book is a marvelous blend of text and illustration. Besides the recipe there are two matching games at the back. The only missing element is the musical score, for the verse, which is adapted from the old English cumulative folk song, “The Tree In The Wood.” Children ages 3 to 7 will delight in this book, which will be enjoyed for years to come in both home and classroom libraries.

Turtle Summer, a Journal for my Daughter

This book presents a charming idea for a parent and child: to keep a nature scrapbook. Mary Alice Monroe has written this enchanting journal of a mother and daughter’s summer surveillance for loggerhead sea turtles on their beach. While watching the turtle nests, they observe and sketch nature’s other offerings at the seashore. Like a family photo album, it is an intimate book.

Photographer Barbara J. Bergwerf teamed with Mary Alice Monroe to add exceptional and informative photos, including one of Carolina from the previous Sylvan Dell book, Carolina’s Story: Sea Turtle’s Get Sick Too! This is a splendid mixture of photos, drawing, and text. Children, ages 4 – 9 will relate to this book and its activities, hopefully clamoring to create a similar journal with their siblings and parents.

ABC Safari

Author Karen Lee has come through again in ABC Safari! Like her previous books, One Odd Day and My Even Day, she offers a fun way to learn. This time it is the alphabet on a safari journey to meet animals around the world. A boy and his parrot, like the young reader, unobtrusively observe each animal in its habitat. Can you spot the boy in each picture?

Ms. Lee paints each animal accurately and to scale in its environment. This is an important feature for the young reader to learn size and scale. The rhyming text flows to an easy beat so that a teacher could use each animal’s verse for movement or dramatization. The animal flash cards at the end of the book are a brilliant addition. Pre-readers will enjoy identifying each animal. Quite highly recommended for ages 2 to 7.


Blogger Kate said...

The turtle book sounds like a charming concept! Thanks for the review!

Great blog!

3:45 PM  
Blogger Be Inspired Always said...

Wonderful job in reviewing books :)


8:16 AM  

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