Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Picks by Carol C.

Earmuffs for Everyone: How Chester Greenwood Became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs by Megan McCarthy

Cover image for Earmuffs for everyone! : how Chester Greenwood became known as the inventor of earmuffsDo you have creative ideas for a new invention? Maybe you have some thoughts on how to improve an existing invention?  Well that’s exactly what Chester Greenwood did in the book by Meghan McCarthy entitled Earmuffs for Everyone: How Chester Greenwood Became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs.

But the question surrounding this book is, did he really invent earmuffs? After researching the topic, the author learns that sometimes finding the true inventor of something is trickier than it seems.  There were various forms of ear coverings before Chester Greenwood came along, but when Chester was only 19 years old, he improved on other people’s ideas by adding a wire that goes across the top.  He received a patent for that addition and now on December 21st in Maine, they celebrate Chester Greenwood Day…and of course everyone wears earmuffs.

But did he really “invent” them?  Should he be given credit for these fun accessories?  You decide!  This book is told in a humorous yet informative manner with fun illustrations, giving budding inventors some inspiration and insight on patents.

Recommended for K-2nd grade.

Book reviewed by Carol C., Elementary School Liaison

Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard  by Annette LeBlanc Cate

Cover image for Look up! : bird-watching in your own backyardSeveral years ago, the author thought it would be nice to keep a nature sketchbook.  She would sit outside drawing trees, rocks and flowers…and couldn’t help but notice lots of birds…some she knew, and others she did not recognize.  Had they been there all along and she just wasn’t paying attention?  YES!  She couldn’t stop watching and got hooked!

She suggests keeping a sketchbook with you, writing things down and drawing pictures.  And that’s what this book contains…tips to help you head out and start observing these beautiful, amazing creatures.  Colors, shapes, size, sounds, …observe it all!

Great illustrations, facts, cartoons and word bubbles…it’s a lot of fun!

Book reviewed by Carol C.., Elementary School Liaison

Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World by Steve Jenkins

Cover image for Eye to eye : how animals see the worldSteve Jenkins has quite a few amazing nonfiction animal books and this one doesn’t disappoint!  In Eye to Eye, you can learn how different animals have various types of eyes depending on their environment.  For example, did you know that a halibut (fish) is born with an eye on each side of his head, but as he gets older, one eye migrates and eventually they end up on the same side of his head?  He has 2 eyes on one side of his head!  This ends up being very helpful since an adult halibut spends most of its life lying on the bottom of the ocean.  With both eyes on one side of his head he is able to see away from the ocean floor.  How cool is that?

20 animal eyes are featured with great pictures, animal facts and a glossary.

Book reviewed by Carol C., Elementary School Liaison

How to Build a Tornado in a Bottle by Lori Shores

Cover image for How to build a tornado in a bottleCalling all scientists!  Do you like to build things and learn how they work?  This series is for you!  The Hands-On Science Fun series includes titles about making slime, fizzy rockets, mystery smell balloons and….TORNADOs in a bottle!

In How to Build a Tornado in a Bottle by Lori Shores, 1st and 2nd graders are given clear directions on how to create their own tornado using little more than plastic bottles, tape and colored water.  You will also learn how a real tornado happens!  Great pictures and simple directions make this a fun book and an enjoyable series.

Book reviewed by Carol C.., Elementary School Liaison

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Cover image for Rain reignIn Ann M. Martin’s newest novel entitled Rain Reign, we meet 5th grader Rose Howard who is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. This beautiful novel is told through her voice.  Rose is obsessed with homonyms (which are words that sound alike but are spelled differently; like the title of this book Rain Reign).

No one seems to understand her…not her teachers, the kids at school, or even her own father!  They don’t get her obsession with homonyms, prime numbers, and following rules.  This makes school and home quite a struggle.

When her town is hit by a super storm, Rose’s world is turned upside down.  The power is out, schools are closed, her already stressed father loses his job, and the search for her missing dog, Rain, pushes her way out of her comfort zone.

From sadness to joy, this book takes you on a rewarding adventure filled with emotion and allows the reader to see things from the very different viewpoint of someone on the Autism spectrum.

I recommend this book for 4th-6th graders who enjoy a heartfelt read.

Book reviewed by Carol C.., Elementary School Liaison

The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer

Cover image for The secret hum of a daisyIf you’re looking for a heartfelt read, Tracy Holczer’s first novel, The Secret Hum of a Daisy, is beautifully written and emotionally charged.  Grace’s mom always had them moving in search of a “home”.  After her tragic death, 12 year old Grace is sent to live with the grandmother that she never knew.  Blaming her grandma for making her mom move away while she was pregnant with Grace, she decides to make grandma’s life miserable.

Through a scavenger hunt she believes her mom left for her and the help of new friends, Grace makes some surprising discoveries.  While she learns about her family history, she wonders if she will find the “home” her mom was seeking.  Can she forgive her grandma?  How will she cope with the overwhelming sadness?  Will she resume writing which was always her passion?

This is a tough book to put down!

Book reviewed by Carol C., Elementary School Liaison

How Do You Burp in Space? by Susan E. Goodman

syndetics-lcAre you looking for a vacation getaway?  Do you want to travel somewhere far away?  Why not consider going into outer space!

Your generation will be among the first to travel into space as tourists floating high above the Earth.

In the book entitled How Do You Burp in Space? by Susan E. Goodman, you can learn the basics of planning your trip, the actual space flight, and your trip back to your home planet.

What should you pack?  How will you eat, sleep, exercise and shower while on the ship? What kind of preflight training will you need because of g-force and gravity?

For the answers to these and many other questions (including the title question), check out this fun and informational book.

Book reviewed by Carol C., Elementary School Liaison

I Feel Better with a Frog in My Throat: History’s Strangest Cures by Carlyn Beccia

syndetics-lcIn the 2014 Bluestem nominee entitled I Feel Better with a Frog in My Throat: History’s Strangest Cures by Carlyn Beccia, many unusual health remedies are discussed. Take a nasty sore throat for example: Should you put a frog in your mouth, rub skunk oil on your chest, wear a necklace made from earthworms, or tie a dirty sock around your neck? I bet you are wondering where these remedies came from and if they actually work. For the answers to these questions, you’ll have to read this fun yet informative book! But I will tell you that while one of these remedies might actually help your throat, they will all give you a stomach ache!

Book reviewed by Carol C., Elementary School Liaison

Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur

syndetics-lcIn Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur, 11-year-old Aubrey thinks she can live on her own. She pretends everything is fine and survives on Cheerios, Spaghetti-Os, crackers, and cheese and even buys a pet fish to keep her company!  In time, her grandmother learns that she is living alone and takes Aubrey back with her to Vermont for some healing, love, and structured family life.  While learning how to heal, Aubrey makes a best friend and receives some good advice.

Will she find her mother?  Will her physical and mental pain ever subside? Can she overcome the terrible tragedy that has turned her life upside down?  This 4-tissue book is heartfelt and beautifully written!  Recommended for grades 4-6.

Book reviewed by Carol C., Elementary School Liaison 

Greetings From Nowhere by Barbara O’Connor

Greetings From NowhereMost people send postcards from fun and exciting places they have visited such as Florida, Hawaii, or Australia.  In the book entitled Greetings From Nowhere by Barbara O’Connor, you probably wouldn’t find anyone sending a postcard from the Sleepy Time Motel in the Great Smoky Mountains.  Even the name sounds dull!

It is a run-down motel in the middle of nowhere, and there has not been a visitor there in almost three months!  But something very interesting happens when four families meet under somewhat unusual circumstances.  Read this book to find out how sometimes with a little bit of hope, you can find exactly what you need even in the middle of nowhere.

Book reviewed by Carol C., Elementary School Liaison