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Middle-school librarians Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan prove that two heads are better than one when it comes to discussing YA and children's books

Archive for the 'Nature' Category

Mon, July 28th, 2014
National Geographic Super Readers
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

What child isn’t curious about their world?  Books about nature and science are always popular with young readers and for librarians and teachers, there is an endless demand for books about bugs, birds, animals and our physical world.  With the addition of CCSS, that demand is even higher.  National Geographic has a relatively new leveled […]


Wed, July 23rd, 2014
Skink–No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: ‘”Hold my eye,” (Skink) said, and plucked the left one out of his face.’ By page 8 reluctant readers are going to be hooked by Hiassen’s latest mystery, Skink–No Surrender (Knopf 2014). Skink won’t be new to Hiaasen’s adult fans who may have encountered the hermit Vietnam vet, ex-governor of Florida in a half […]


Mon, July 21st, 2014
Swim, Duck, Swim! by Susan Lurie
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: Swim season is upon us making Swim, Duck, Swim (Feiwel and Friends 2014) a perfect book to share. My own children took to water like, ahem, ducks to water, but not every child does. Murray Head’s close up and expressive photographs are paired with Lurie’s spare words to tell the story of a duck […]


Mon, May 12th, 2014
The Secret Life of the Woolly Bear Caterpillar by Laurence Pringle
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  I know this is Mystery Month but trust me, there IS a mystery connection to this charming bug book.  Most kids will recognize the chubby black and orange striped caterpillar so commonly seen trundling around in late-summer to early fall.  Folklore about them is plentiful too about them predicting a harsh or mild winter […]


Thu, April 10th, 2014
Cheers for a Dozen Ears by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: What a perfect title for this book. When our farmer’s market finally opens, I will be cheering! Cheers for a Dozen Ears: A Summer Crop of Counting (Albert Whitman 2014) is the perfect tonic for we who are weary of winter…children included. In fact, I have to disagree with the final line from the Booklist […]


Mon, April 7th, 2014
Handle with Care by Loree Griffin Burns
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  For many years our family has enjoyed a wonderful rite of spring that fortunately doesn’t depend on the outside temperature in Michigan.  We are lucky to live close to the outstanding Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids.  I could go on and on about the wonders of the Gardens but today […]


Thu, November 21st, 2013
The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  Close your eyes and picture this scene in your mind:  The setting sun is shading from golden to purple, back-lighting a vast field of golden grain and from our somewhat elevated perspective we see five huge combines in a slightly staggered formation sailing toward us, a great wave of golden haze behind them.  It […]


Thu, October 24th, 2013
Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  My husband wonders why I was laughing hysterically at the farmer’s market this morning but it is all the fault of Pat Zietlow Miller and Sophie’s Squash (Random/Schwartz & Wade 2013)!  Talk about a fall classic in the making! Sophie and her parents go to market where Sophie picks out a lovely winter squash.  […]


Mon, September 23rd, 2013
Frogs Everywhere
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  Frogs are high interest to kids and frequently populate picture books, leaping about in a wild variety of adventures.  So it is nice to review two excellent frog books  – this time nonfiction. The first is Frog Song (Henry Holt 2013) by Brenda Z. Guiberson.  In this stunning book, eleven species of frogs are […]


Tue, August 20th, 2013
One + One = Two New Math Picture Books
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  Math picture books are usually about counting so it is exciting to find two new picture books that introduce different aspects of counting and math to young readers. First up is Lifetime:  The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives (Chronicle 2013) by Lola M. Schaefer.  On the first page, Schaefer explains that “Lifetime shows how […]





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