Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Awfully Ancient: Banished, Beheaded, or Boiled in Oil



Awfully Ancient: Banished, Beheaded, or Boiled in Oil 
Author: Neil Tonge
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Reviewer: Denise Z.
                                            Cover image for Banished, beheaded, or boiled in oil : a hair-raising history of crime and punishment throughout the ages!
Summary: The history of punishing criminals is a long and gruesome one. In 620 BC, a Greek named Draco wrote a legal code that punished almost every crime with death, except murder! For that, criminals were exiled. Odd facts about crime and punishment like this abound in history. Readers encounter many places and periods, from ancient China to the Victorian era, to learn all about the terrible, gross, and strange ways crimes were punished in the past. A colorful layout full of amusing and informative illustrations reinforce the main content, providing historical context and detail that will keep readers turning pages.

Review: This is an interesting read about history that will captivate the curious while informing the reader about punishment practices throughout time. The author is very sarcastic when he explains about each punishment, which will entertain the young reader. The book is mostly divided by punishment practices in certain countries, but there are also parts of the book that talk about animal and child punishment throughout time. The morbid practices explained in this book leads to more questioning and critical thinking about history and compares punishments then to the punishments of today. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Crazy Animals

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Crazy Animals
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Reviewer: Denise Z.
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Summary: Open up to find some incredible creatures. Meet the dog that can ride a scooter, the horse with a mustache, and the largest crocodile ever!
Review: The Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Series is so much fun and entertaining to read. You’ll learn plenty of facts to share with friends and learn about animals in a new, exciting way. Even though so many facts are packed into this small book, absolutely nothing inside is boring to read. My only complaint is that each tidbit should have a picture to go along with it, although I think the publisher did a good job of choosing which information should have matching pictures. This is a series perfect for those who like reading Guinness books.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tucky Jo and Little Heart

Tucky Jo and Little Heart
Author: Patricia Polacco
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Reviewer: Christi
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Summary: A fifteen-year-old soldier in World War II meets a sweet young girl in the Philippines who helps him remember what he is fighting for as he helps her and others of her village avoid starvation, and many years later she returns his kindness.
Review: Get out the Kleenex. This story will inspire you to always keep your heart open because sometimes the smallest thing will remind you why you’re here.The author did an amazing job of telling one soldiers story.  Johnnie is a 15 year old boy from Kentucky that’s fighting in World War II in the jungle. As he fights to not let the despair of that get to him he has to deal with the day to day troubles- like the fact that the ground is damp and mushy and the soldiers feet are never dry, he’s exhausted, and worst of all is the bugs (the size of your hand) stinging him and covering him in welts. One day he turns around and finds a little girl staring at him. Johnnie drank her in because looking at that innocent tiny girl gave him a peace he hadn’t felt in a long time. She picked a plant and showed him how to help his bug bites with the goo from the plant. He tried to tell her his name “Kentucky Jo” that’s what the other soldiers called him. She couldn’t speak his language so when he saw the heart shaped birthmark on her arm he named her “Little Heart”. When she finally tried to say his name it came out like “Tucky Jo”. He whittled her a doll and tried brighten up her and his life by watching her smile. He would bring her food for her village from his k rations. He even helped her village get food from the river. Eventually it was time to go home and for years he wondered about Little Heart. As he got older his eyesight and hearing were almost gone and he couldn’t afford to fix it. One day at the Veterans hospital he came across a new nurse. She told him that she’d had a meeting with specialist and they would take his case for free and get him the expensive medicine he needed. When he asked why are doing this for me she showed him her little heart birthmark and said I’m going to take care of you like you did for me so long ago. She had looked for him too for years in hope she could thank him for his kindness.  This would be a great read aloud to a class learning about the war or even as a gift to a military family. A must read!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

David Visita la Cuidad

David Visita la Ciudad
Author: Ainara Calvo Llorente
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Reviewer: Julie H.
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Summary: This short, simple Spanish picture book describes David’s day visiting his friend in the city. The book pairs pictograms (small images) with each word in the book, to help beginning readers learn to connect pictures with words. David and his friend walk in the city, see dinosaurs at the museum, dance at the park, and go to the movies. The book includes lots of good vocabulary and includes questions at the end to help kids work on comprehension.

Review: I think that this is a fantastic series for beginning readers, and for older children or adults who want to learn Spanish. The simple images are easy to understand and will make learning to read less of a struggle. Although this is not the most exciting, silly story in the world, it’s straightforward plot and cute illustrations make it an excellent choice to read together with your little one!