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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

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 […]


Mon, July 29th, 2013
Eruption! by Elizabeth Rusch
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: Did you feel the earth move? It wasn’t an earthquake, but me clapping enthusiastically over another entry in the Scientists in the Field series. Eruption! Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives (Houghton 2013) adds another compelling book to the series that we love. I always read these with no intention of blogging them. […]


Sat, May 25th, 2013
If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  So, I’m a mad fan of this duo – Fogliano and Stead!  It started last year with And Then It’s Spring which I loved with a passion and gave to every child I know.  I was lucky to get the galley for If You Want to See a Whale (Roaring Brook/Neal Porter 2013)  at […]


Mon, March 25th, 2013
Look Up! by Annette LeBlanc Cate
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  In an age of expensive entertainment, the opening sentence of Look Up!:  Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard (Candlewick 2013) has a refreshing simplicity: “You don’t have to go anywhere fancy to watch birds!” In fact, Cate goes on to assure young readers that all they really need to do is learn to keep quiet […]


Wed, January 30th, 2013
Lulu and the Duck in the Park by Hilary McKay
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  “Lulu was famous for animals,” is the opening sentence of the engaging Lulu and the Duck in the Park (Albert Whitman 2012), the first in an irresistible new series for early readers.  Fortunately for Lulu, her mother’s rule is “the more the merrier as long as Lulu cleans up after them.”  Unfortunately for Lulu […]





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