Review: The Loopy Coop Hens Letting Go by Janet Morgan Stoeke

loopy coop hens letting go

The Loopy Coop Hens: Letting Go by Janet Morgan Stoeke

This is the third Loopy Coop Hens book and it continues the silly adventures of these three goofy hens.  Here the question is why apples fall.  The hens think that it is probably the fox hiding in the tree and throwing apples at them.  They try to get Rooster Sam to help them, but he is so traumatized by the falling apples almost hitting him, that he runs away.  The hens know that it is up to them, so Dot volunteers to climb up the ladder to see what is going on and whether it is a fox or not.  Dot heads to the top of the tree and discovers two things:  why apples fall and how gorgeous the view is that high up.

Stoeke has a real touch for the absurd and silly.  In her flighty hens, she demonstrates how even the silliest can also be the brave ones.  Her art is simple-lined and really tells a lot of the story along with the words.  The book works well as a read-aloud and the pictures are large enough to work well with a group. 

This is a simple chapter book in the guise of a picture book, inviting beginning readers to give it a try.  Even better, it ends with chickens falling out of trees!  A perfect addition for fall and apple story times and units.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Dial Books.

Review: On a Beam of Light by Jennifer Berne

on a beam of light

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

The author of Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau (my review) returns with this picture book biography of Einstein.  It follows the story of Einstein from birth through his series of amazing discoveries about the universe.  The book begins with pages where Einstein as a small child does not speak until he is inspired to ask questions thanks to a compass which is given to him.  Einstein is also inspired by picturing his bicycle riding on beams of light, racing through space.  So he began to study science and numbers and after graduating from college wanted to be a teacher.  Instead, he found a job working in a government office where he had extra time to think.  That time to think turned into incredible discoveries about science and the nature of the universe until scientists and professors were seeking Einstein out to come and work with them.  The end of the book celebrates Einstein’s eccentricities as well as the discoveries that he made.  This is an inspiring look at a scientist who broke all the rules and decoded the universe.

Berne’s writing truly celebrates this amazing thinker.  The pacing is brisk, but the tone allows readers to linger and think if they wish to.  When she focuses on his odder behaviors, they are seen through a lens of what they meant for his genius rather than just being peculiar.  And who wouldn’t want to not wear socks and have ice cream too! 

Radunsky’s illustrations are done on textured paper that adds a soft yellow glow to the entire book, something wonderful to have in a book that speaks about rays of light.  His drawings are rough and have a wonderful sense of playfulness. 

A great read about a great man, this picture book biography should be welcomed by young scientists as well as in science classrooms.  Appropriate for ages 6-9.

Reviewed from library copy.

ALSC Summer Reading Lists

ALSC has some great Summer Reading book lists that are available free of charge, you just need to print them.  Nicely, the books selected should be in all libraries.  If you don’t have the books, it’s probably a good idea to get them anyway! 

The lists are broken into three age groups:  K-2nd grade, 3rd-5th grade and 6th-8th grade. 

Print some out for a quick and easy way to welcome summer into the library!