Honeybee Man – book review

The Honeybee Man by Lela Nargi Juvenile Fiction/Non-fiction Picture book * * * * Stars (Great!) Fred the Brooklyn beekeeper loves his bees. He climbs up to his rooftop apiaries every morning to greet his colonies with a “Good morning, my bees, my darlings.” And addresses an individual greeting to each of his bee queens (Mab, Nefertiti, and Boadicea). This is an excellent, accessible introduction for younger children to what bees and their keepers do. … Read more

Life Cycle of a Snail – book review

The Life Cycle of a Snail by L.L. Owens Juvenile Non-fiction Picture book * * * Stars (Pretty good) This introduction to snail biology will have young readers racing out to their own backyards to locate their slimy subjects for a closer inspection. Detailed, close-up photographs accompany explications of snails’ life cycle – the one of the land snail laying its eggs in a moist patch of soil is a particularly good catch. While some … Read more

Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs – book review

The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs: A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle Juvenile Non-fiction * * * Stars (Pretty good) In the space of just a few years, biologist Karen Lips noticed a serious decline in the population of golden frogs living in the mountain forests of Panama. She discovered massive quantities of dead frogs and was perplexed and concerned about the cause of their deaths. Sandra Markle follows Lips’ investigation into the near-extinction … Read more

Only the Mountains Do Not Move – book review

Only the Mountains Do Not Move: A Maasai Story of Culture and Conservation by Jan Reynolds Nonfiction * * * * Stars (Great!) The Maasai are a group of semi-nomadic people who live in Kenya and Tanzania. In the past they traveled thousands of miles with their herds, following rain and growing seasons and seeking out new pastures for their animals. They do not believe in land ownership. Their way of life has had to … Read more

Saving Audie – book review

Saving Audie: A Pit Bull Puppy Gets a Second Chance by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent photos by William Munoz Nonfiction * * * * Stars (Great!) Michael Vick, NFL quarterback, was running an illegal dog-fighting ring and raising “fighting dogs” at his appropriately named “Bad Newz Kennels.” When information about his crimes came to light, the dogs were seized, as evidence, and spent many months in isolation in an animal shelter. In the past, fighting dogs … Read more

Stand Straight, Ella Kate – book review

Stand Straight, Ella Kate: The True Story of a Real Giant by Kate Klise illustrated by M. Sarah Klise Biography Nonfiction Picture Book * * * * * Stars (Amazing!) Ella Kate grew up in the late 1800s. She started life in the normal way, but when she was 7 years old she started growing rapidly, quickly outdistancing her peers. She didn’t stop growing until she was 22 years old, and by then she was … Read more

What to Expect When You’re Expecting Larvae – book review

What to Expect When You’re Expecting Larvae: A Guide for Insect Parents (and Curious Kids) by Bridget Heos Nonfiction * * * * Stars (Great!) Bridget Heos presents and answers the questions expecting insect parents might have IF they were capable of asking questions (and needed the answers) in an informative and amusing way. “Congratulations, insect parent-to-be! You must be very excited. You may be feeling proud but also a little scared. Your babies will … Read more

Wimpy Kid Movie Diary – book review

The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary by Jeff Kinney Juvenile Non-fiction * * * Stars (Pretty good) Jeff Kinney has written a behind-the-scenes look at the Wimpy Kid Movie that’s just as entertaining as his bestselling book series. Not only does it capture the same humor and charm of Greg Heffley’s diaries, but it also provides a lot of insider information about how movies get made (and, of course, how this movie in particular was made). … Read more

How to Clean a Hippopotamus – book review

How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page Juvenile Nonfiction (Grades 4-7) Intricate and colorful torn paper collages illustrate the fascinating symbiotic (mutualistic) relationships between various animals and organisms. Their stories are told in comic book/graphic novel-like panels, describing the nature of the relationship and how it benefits each animal. Even if you know something about symbiosis, this book really brings it to life – from … Read more

How to Scratch a Wombat – book review

How to Scratch a Wombat by Jackie French Juvenile Nonfiction (Grades 4-6) * * * * * Stars (Amazing!) Jackie French has been living among wombats in the near-wilds of Australia for over 30 years. She’s made friends with her neighborhood wombats and has cared for orphaned and injured wombats. Wombats are curious creatures, marsupials, which like to dig. They experience the world primarily through their large nostrils and have a highly evolved sense of … Read more