Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks. ~ Dr. Seuss







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Norse Myths

Norse Myths

Aby Kevin Crossley-Holland(Author) , Jeffrey Alan Love (Illustrator)

Tales of Odin, Thor, and Loki

“Norse Myths” is a Candlewick Studio publication packed with stories and tales of Gods, Goddesses and giants from the Norse Mythologies. The book opens with a note from the author explaining the origins of the stories. Author Kevin Crossley-Holland explains that a long time back the Vikings believed that human beings lived on Middle Earth. This land was shared with creatures such as dwarfs and giants. Above Middle Earth was Migard, the land of gods and goddesses. The third level, one below the Middle Earth, was the land of the dead ruled by a woman whose body was half alive and half dead. The three levels were connected by an enormous ash tree, the Suffering tree which was their version of the Tree of Life.

Much later, the Vikings moved away from believing in these tales. These stories were then captured as Norse Myths. This rendition is author Kevin Crossley-Holland’s attempt at capturing these tales once more and reminding us the charm and adventure behind Norse Mythologies.

A Table of Content is followed by an introduction to the characters in the stories:

Norse Mythologies Gods1-horz

What follows are the tales about the Viking Gods and Goddesses. Each tale is beautifully illustrated in two tone colors that give these stories a very unique sense of mystic. The negative spaces capture the characters of the tales with splendor and glamour. Stories are written in lyrical prose and bring these tales to life!

Norse Myths Inside2

An amazing collection of stories, this is a great set to add to your reading shelf. Readers of mythology would rejoice in reading this new book!

Find it here: LibraryAmazon

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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A World of Information

A World of Information

by James Brown(Author) , Richard Platt (Illustrator)

Quick reference guide for the curious child

Have you ever wondered about different types of clouds you see in the sky? Did you have questions about roman numerals? Or maybe you were looking at what makes up a bicycle. “A World of Information” is a large sized hard cover publication from Candlewick Studios covering a range of topics from Morse Code to Greek alphabets.

“A World of Information” has quickly become a favorite in our home. This over-sized book is gorgeous to look at and makes for a perfect coffee table book. This book is also a great gift to all kids who are curious and love reading facts. Another aspect I like about “A World of Information” is that while it gives you a snapshot of the topic, it doesn’t feel overwhelming. There is enough detail for one to learn something new but not too dense to put you off from reading more. Take a look at “Different Types of Knots”

A World of Information Knots 1-horz

Information is cleverly organized for ease of reading. In the “Different types of knots” page, an example knot “Baker’s knot” explains the origin of the name, a snippet on how Inca people used knots to record numbers and the correlation of math and knots! So much to read and learn. A few topics including the knots page, also has an example activity (see if you can find it here!)

The full page illustrations are beautifully designed. The Knots page has a lovely layout of different types of knots with a “name plate” right below each knot.

Here’s another example page on the Human Skeleton:

A World of Information Skeleton

A World of Information has 65 pages long covering 30 broad topics. A few of our favorite reads other than the Different Types of Knots were: Anatomy of Type, Screws and Nails, Impossible Shapes, Solstices and Equinoxes, Periodic table of Elements and MOHS Scale of Mineral Hardness.

A few fun facts to get you excited about this book:

One of three forms of carbon, diamond is hard because each atom is in the middle of a tetrahedron of other atoms and is strongly bonded to each of them

“The Wright brothers patented not flight itself but a method of controlling an aircraft.”

“American women caused a sensation when they first cycled in “bifurcated nether garments (trousers). Newspapers reported in 1894 that more than one hundred women cycling in New York –  but only at night, when nobody could see them.”

This is a stunning book for your home library or for gifting to young readers. A World of Information is wonderful as a read aloud so is just as suitable for younger children. Highly recommended!

Find it here: LibraryAmazon

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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Stand Up and Sing!

Stand Up and Sing!

by Susanna Reich (Author), Adam Gustavson (Illustrator)

Pete Seeger, Folk Music and the Path to Justice

Stand up and Sing! is an interesting picture book biography of Pete Seeger, an American folk song singer and social activist. Born in the early 1900’s, Pete’s life is described as one that was full of music and fight for justice.

Pete was born with music in his bones“, claims the author Susanna Reich. Although a shy child, Pete felt the most comfortable around music. He grew up with songs being sung during dinner time and music that he heard in the woods. But Pete also grew up seeing injustice being done around him. Especially when the Great Depression hit, Pete could see that the rich had enough food on the table while millions of poor folks struggled to get a meal everyday. Pete’s father also took him through poor neighborhoods, where Pete saw first hand the suffering during such hard times.

Stand up and Sing  learning

One day Pete and his family drove to a music festival. There he heard music that went straight to his heart. He studied the various types of music and tried to imitate it. He listened to all kinds of music, love songs, lullabies, blues, game songs, blues and chants! So it wasn’t a surprise that he found a job helping a family friend sort and organize music records for the Library of Congress.

Pete went on to travel around the country with new musician friends. He tried his best to imitate to sing and play the banjo at the same time. With a group of singing friends, Pete would perform to anyone who would listen and sang his heart out. Before long, the group was traveling through the country and performing. It was hard to find a good place to stay with so little money, but Pete didn’t mind as long as he got to play. Pete went on to be part of a popular singing group and became successful. But Pete was far from being happy.

Stand up and Sing We Shall Overcome2

Pete didn’t want to sing only at high paying gigs, but wanted to sing for ordinary people. He was also singing songs that were not particularly popular in the government. But Pete  stuck to his values and beliefs. Tough times lay ahead, and he knew the price to pay for his “unpatriotic” songs. But Pete persevered…

“Stand up and Sing!” chronicles Pete Seeger’s career as a singer and activist. Author Susanna Reich documents Pete’s stead fast belief that he could move people through his music. Through simple narrative, Reich descries Pete’s passion for connecting with the common people through his folk songs and his constant struggle in speaking up for what was right despite his own suffering. Adam Gustavson’s art brings the character and his music to life.

Stand up and Sing continuing to sing

This is a great book to add to a character study material or to simply read to learn and listen to Pete’s music. I had not previously read about Pete Seeger, but was fascinated about his life’s journey after reading “Stand up and Sing!”. A lovely picture book for ages 9+.

Find it here: LibraryAmazon

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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Motor Girls

Motor Girls

by Sue Macy (Author), Danica Patrick (Foreword)

How Women took the wheel and drove boldly into the 20th Century

Motor Girls is an thoroughly researched book about the history of women and automobiles. Author Sue Macy’s earlier book “Wheels of Change” recounts the history of how women took to the bicycle. Curious about what happened after women took to riding the bike, Sue Macy digs into the past and brings to us this brilliantly researched book on Motor Girls.

Motor Girls Fair sex at the wheel

Motor Girls chronicles the journey of how women came to be behind the wheel and the challenges they faced in getting there. The author opens with a lovely foreword by Danica Patrick who recounts her own challenges in becoming the “fastest driver” and not just the “fastest woman” of the 20th century. An introduction by Sue Macy details her own motivation into digging into the past on Motor Girls and what road the women of the early 1900’s had to undertake to become women drivers of the 20th century.

Motor Girl Amelia Walker

Motor Girls early chapters introduces the reader to a brief but engaging history of the motor car. Following which, Sue Macy dives into perception issues around women drivers in the early 1900’s to role of women during WWII. Women were believed to “not trained to think of two things at once”, a skill clearly required to drive motor cars. Other believed that driving would undermine women’s femininity, having to deal with all the dirt and dust from driving on mud ridden roads. Finally, more people believed that the independence that women might get due to driving would upset the social structure existing at the time.

Motor Girls Cars for women

Objections to driving were made from not just men but also other women. However, as Sue Macy narrates, there were enough women to take up the challenge, enough women wanting to feel the freedom of being behind the wheel and enough women who wanted to prove themselves over and over again.

And as more women drivers hit the road, women mobilized in many more ways, ultimately giving up their traditional roles and taking up newer and better opportunities to employment.

Through simple but engaging narration, Sue Macy writes about Motor Girls with lovely period photography and snippets of historical factoids sprinkled through the book. A wonderful and important read for everyone!

Find it here: LibraryAmazon

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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Mama, LOOK!

Mama, LOOK!

by Patricia J. Murphy(Author), David Diaz (Illustrator)

Take your baby for a nature walk

Celebrating nature and togetherness, “Mama, LOOK!” is a picture book to read aloud with your little one.

The book opens with a little baby with its mama in a beautiful garden. The young toddler spots a group of grasshoppers in the garden and exclaims “Mama, LOOK!”. The toddler spots many more creatures as the mom and child explore the garden teeming with life.

Mama, Look inside

Each page turns into a discovery of yet another little critter spotted by the young one. Every page is beautifully illustrated with realistic vibrant and colorful paintings. Keeping to the target reader, the nature renderings are cartoon like which makes it endearing to read aloud to the young ones in the family.

Mama, Look inside2

“Mama, LOOK!” is an invitation to readers to get out and discover nature and the many surprises within. We loved the colorful renderings of the many critters and going on a nature walk while reading this book.

Find it here: LibraryAmazon

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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Freedom in Congo Square

Freedom in Congo Square

by Carole Boston Weatherford (Author), R. Greogry Christie (Illustrator)

A story of hope

It is 1817 and the slaves in Louisiana were hard at work. They ploughed the fields, fed the hogs, chopped the logs and washed the clothes. Every day was a day of hard work and labor. Slavery was not fair, but it existed in the early 1800’s in the city of New Orleans.

Freedom In Congo Square inside 1

A new law came to pass which declared Sunday a day of rest. Even the slaves were allowed to take Sunday’s off. On this day, the day that the slaves looked forward to during the week, the slaves were allowed to gather at various locations. In New Orleans, this location came to be known as the Congo Square.

Freedom In Congo Square inside 2

Each week hundreds of slaves and free blacks gathered at Congo Square. In some city’s such gatherings were forbidden. In other city music was strictly banned. But in the city of New Orleans, the African rhythms, culture and customs came alive on that 1 day of the week. people gathered freely. They beat the African drums and danced to African music. The musicians played the violin, the drums, the gourd, marimbas and the tambourines. Local whites and visitors came to the Congo Square too, to experience the lively music and dance.

This piece of Earth was a world apart, 

Congo Square was freedom’s heart.

“Freedom in Congo Square” is a vibrant picture book written in verse captures the essence of the African culture during a difficult time. A countdown from Monday to Sunday gives us a glimpse of the hard life of slavery that this people lived. However, when Sunday arrives, the theme and emotion changes to that of hope and celebration… celebrating the day of freedom in Congo Square, when the slaves came together to greet and enjoy their culture.

They rejoiced as if they had no cares;

half day, half free in Congo Square.

The vibrant yellow and orange color spreads with the long dark silhouette figures show the toil alongside the joy. The folk tale like art work accompanied by pictures of masks, drums and other instruments capture the essence of the culture. Beautifully executed, Freedom in Congo Square showcases the powerful resilience of the people. A MUST read for every age! Highly recommended!

Find it here: LibraryAmazon

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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Fancy Party Gowns

Fancy Party Gowns

by Deborah Blumenthal (Author), Laura Freeman (Illustrator)

The Story of Fashion designed Ann Cole Lowe

No one knew this designer of Jacqueline Bouvier’s (President John F Kennedy’s wife) wedding gown. Who designed Academy Award winner Olivia de Havilland’s gown in 1947?  And who was designing those lovely one-of-a-kind designer dresses for society women such as the DuPont’s, Posts and the Lodges in the 1960’s?

Ann Cole Lowe grew up helping her mother sew dresses for the elite in the town of Alabama. But when her grandmother died when Ann was 16, she was forced to step in and take over the sewing business. Later, Ann had the opportunity to go to New York to study design.  But she found herself alone in a segregated classroom. This didn’t stop Ann.

When Ann saw obstacles, she thought about what she COULD do, not what she couldn’t change.

Fancy Party Gowns segregated classroom

Ann was able to save enough money to start her own salon in Manhattan. She didn’t always have enough to cover her bills, but she kept on sewing!

One day a special order came from Washington. Ann had a opportunity to design and create dresses for a special bride and her wedding party. The bride was none other than Jacqueline Bouvier, who was to become Jacqueline Kennedy. But just 10 days before the wedding, her salon got flooded and ruined all her dresses. But,

Ann though what she could do, not what she couldn’t change!

Fancy Party Gowns kennedy wedding Fancy Party Gowns kennedy wedding gown

Finally she delivered her dresses although no one knew who the designer was. Why?

Because Ann Cole Lowe was an African American and life wasn’t fair!

Ann went on to make many more fancy party gowns. One day she was awarded “Official Couturier” for designing 33 Cinderella gowns for a fancy ball. Finally, Ann had gotten the much deserved recognition for a lifetime of work.

Fancy Party Gowns ann-cole-lowe

“Fancy Party Gowns” is a wonderful picture book biography of a Ann Cole Lowe, filled with fun filled facts and told simply but drawing inspiration. The untold story is beautifully illustrated bringing to life Ann’s colorful designs and gowns. The inside back and front covers have card layouts of Ann’s lovely gowns to ogle at. This is a perfect book for any young reader and teaches the never give up spirit, inspiring the readers to challenge yourself to look beyond what can’t be done.

“Fancy Party gowns” is a perfect book of an untold heroine, a un-celebrated but inspiring tale of a person who followed her life’s calling!

 

Find it here: LibraryAmazon

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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Under Water, Under Earth

Under Water, Under Earth

by Aleksandra Mizielinska, Daniel Mizielinski

A Big Book!

Authors Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinski have done it again. After writing “Maps” in a large book format, the duo author / illustrator bring to us “Under Water, Under Earth“.

“Under Water, Under Earth” is a stunningly illustrated journey into what lies beneath! In their trademark style of alternating between brief text and detailed illustrations, the author & illustrator duo, introduces a “whole world to explore just below the surface”.

The book format is very unique. It opens horizontally like a calendar and reads from both “ends”. I love the creativity behind the contents page illustration.

Under Water Under Earth inside6

The calendar format to flip through the book really works well for the way the information is lined out. Each double page spread takes a theme such as “coral reefs” or “sinkholes” and does a visual description of the topic. Here’s an example of “A history of diving suits” from the “Under Water” part of the book.

Under Water Under Earth inside 7

This page lays out the history of diving suits literally as a timeline from left to right. The leftmost diving suit runs all the way to the bottom of the page and the others are chronologically laid out with “call outs” of info texts alongside these.

Here is another interesting example from the “Under Earth” section. “Mponeng” is the world’s deepest mine, a gold mine in South Africa. This spread visually lays out information as a mine and each little section of the “mine” provides snippets of interesting information about this unique mine.

Under Water Under Earth inside5

The two sections work wonderfully together giving the reader a look of what lies underneath. Thematically the book feels unique, looks absolutely delightful and is packed with easy to read information. The Under Water section covers topics ranging from coral reefs to Titanic to underwater chimneys. The Under Earth section covers topics such as Caves and tectonic plates as well as Earth’s layers and underground utilities.  This 112 pages long book is worth its weight and is a great book for your home library, school library and makes a perfect book for gifting for a variety of age groups.

 

Find it here: LibraryAmazon

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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