Review: Snow School by Sandra Markle

snow school

Snow School by Sandra Markle, illustrated by Alan Marks

High in the mountains of Pakistan, two week-old snow leopard cubs snooze in a den waiting for their mother to return.  It’s May and the pair are only a week old.  When the male cub goes outside, he is attacked by a golden eagle and only saved by his mother rescuing him.  As the cubs grow, the practice pouncing one another and then start to eat directly from the game their mother kills.  Their mother teaches them skills they must have to survive in the harsh climate.  They learn to mark their territory, to silently hunt, to be quick, to guard their food, to find shelter when snow comes, and when to retreat.  It is a story of how small cubs grow into strong hunters and how these great and beautiful cats manage to survive in their mountainous and cold habitat.

Markle is the author of over 200 books for children.  In this one she takes on one of the most elusive creatures on earth and shows the strong family bonds and the huge amount of learning these young cats must accomplish to live.  She writes her nonfiction in verse, making it more easily read.  Nicely, as the mother is teaching her cubs, Markle makes sure readers understand the lesson by repeating it neatly at the end of the stanza. 

Marks’ illustrations capture the snow leopards and their beauty and grace.  There are moments of such daring leaps and heart pounding danger that Marks captures with flawless accuracy.  His use of soft watercolors adds to the mystique of these cats and also captures the speed and motion as they hunt. 

Beautiful illustrations and strong text result in a book that will teach children much about the snow leopards and their lives.  Appropriate for ages 7-9.

Reviewed from copy received from Charlesbridge.

Review: The Price of Freedom by Dennis Brindell Fradin

price of freedom

The Price of Freedom: How One Town Stood Up to Slavery by Dennis Brindell Fradin and Judith Bloom Fradin, illustrated by Eric Velasquez

In 1856, John Price and two other slaves escaped to Ohio and freedom.  But the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was in effect and even free states were required to allow slave owners to capture escaped slaves anywhere in the United States.  John and his friend Frank spent the winter in Oberlin, Ohio, a hub of Underground Railroad activity.  They decided to stay and not travel to the safety of Canada.  So when a group of slave catchers came to Oberlin specifically hunting for John and Frank, the residents of the city had no legal grounds to help the two men.  When John was captured though, the city rose up against the slave catchers, forcing a showdown that would be one of the defining moments in fueling the Civil War.

Filled with informational facts, this book reads more like a fictional story thanks to its inherent drama.  It begins with John Price’s escape across the ice on stolen horses, continues through the Underground Railroad but the most amazing part is the final showdown, where your heart almost stops with the bravery and daring the Rescuers demonstrate. Fradin offers just the right mix of information and heroism.

Velasquez’s illustrations add to the dramatic feel of the narrative with their deep rich colors, drawn guns and historical details.  There are so many gorgeous night images filled with danger but also with hope.

This is a nonfiction picture book that is sure to inform children about an aspect of slavery that they will not have heard of as well as a tale of what a group of brave citizens can do.  Appropriate for ages 7-9.

Reviewed from library copy.

This Week’s Tweets and Pins

Here are the links I shared on my Twitter and Pinterest accounts this week that you might find interesting:


50 unseen Rudyard Kipling poems discovered | Books


19 books about bugs

How to find picture books for older children | Books

Random House plans a Sandy Hook book for children from two award-winning authors –

Sharon Gosling’s top 10 children’s steampunk books | Children’s books

Shirley Hughes: a child in time – her top 5 picture books – Telegraph


Nook Is Toast – Business Insider


Somerville Public Library Becomes 1st Public Library to Make “Awesome Box” Available | LJ INFOdocket

These are awesome. They scream library maker program. RT@mashable: 7 Working Devices Made From Cardboard via @PSFK


7 Qualities of Uber-Productive People |


Here’s How You Buy Your Way Onto The New York Times Bestsellers List – Forbes


John Green: ‘I’m tired of adults telling teenagers that they aren’t smart’ | Children’s books

Book Patrol: Books Make a Difference