Day: May 14, 2014

Review: Eye to Eye by Steve Jenkins

eye to eye

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

Explore different types of animal eyes in this gorgeous nonfiction picture book by the amazing Steve Jenkins.  In this book, Jenkins not only talks about the different kinds of animals eyes, explaining them in just the right amount of detail, but also looks at specific animals and their unique eyes.  Jenkins shares lots of facts, carefully chosen to be fascinating and fun.  One never knows what will be found on the next page and whether it will be looking right at you.

Jenkins makes sure that children will learn about evolution in this picture book.  His emphasis throughout is on the evolution from simple light-sensitive eyespots to the complex camera eyes of humans and hawks.  As always, his information is well-chosen and interesting.  It is accompanied by large-format images that are paired with smaller images that show the animals entire body.  This is science information at its best.

The eyes have it!  This is a book that belongs in all public libraries.  Appropriate for ages 6-9.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox

elizabeth queen of the seas

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox, illustrated by Brian Floca

This is the true story of Elizabeth, an elephant seal, who decided she wanted to live in the warm waters of the Avon River near the city of Christchurch in New Zealand.  People are happy to have Elizabeth in the river, often spending time watching her swim.  Then Elizabeth decides that her favorite place to sun is the middle of a two-lane road.  It is flat and warm and perfect, except for the dangers of the cars to both Elizabeth and the people.  So Elizabeth is towed out to sea, to live with the other elephant seals.  But Elizabeth returns.  She is removed to the sea over and over again, each time taking her farther away from Christchurch.  But she still finds her way back to those warm river waters. 

Cox, a famous long-distance, open-water swimmer, has written her first children’s book here.  One would never know that it is her first.  She writes with a grace and simplicity that make her book entirely readable but also poetic too.  She incorporates imagery that will help children understand Elizabeth better: “Moving up the soft shore like a giant inchworm.”  She also uses descriptive language to draw contrasts between the waters in the river and those in the cold sea. 

Floca, winner of the 2014 Caldecott Medal, uses his fine-line drawings to show the merry spirit of Elizabeth both when she is in the warm river waters and upon her amazing returns after being towed away.  Floca’s illustrations of Elizabeth on the warm road and her surprise but lack of alarm when the cars approach are beautifully done. 

A winning story that tells the story of one unique elephant seal and the town that she decided was her home.  Appropriate for ages 5-7.

Reviewed from copy received from Random House Children’s Books.

2014 YALSA Teens’ Top Ten Nominees

YALSA has announced the 25 titles nominated for the Teens’ Top Ten.  Teens are encouraged to read the nominees before they vote, which starts on August 15 and goes through Teen Read Week ending on October 18. 

Here are the 25 nominees:

The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1) Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Between, #1) The Clockwork Scarab (Stoker & Holmes, #1)

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Tucholke

The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason

Earth Girl (Earth Girl, #1) Eleanor & Park The Eye of Minds (The Mortality Doctrine, #1)

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die In the Shadow of Blackbirds Love in the Time of Global Warming (Love in the Time of Global Warming, #1)

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block

Maybe I Will A Midsummer Night's Scream Sky on Fire (Monument 14, #2) 

Maybe I Will by Laurie Gray

A Midsummer Night’s Scream by R. L. Stine

Monument 14: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne

The Nightmare Affair (The Arkwell Academy, #1) Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2) Openly Straight 

The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

Of Triton by Anna Banks

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

The Rithmatist (Rithmatist, #1) Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2) Six Months Later 

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards

Splintered (Splintered, #1) Steelheart (Reckoners, #1) Teardrop (Teardrop, #1)

Splintered by A. G. Howard

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Teardrop by Lauren Kate

The Testing (The Testing, #1) This is What Happy Looks Like

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

This Song Will Save Your Life Winger (Winger, #1)

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Winger by Andrew Smith