Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

CATastrophe! teachers readers to spot patterns

CATastrophe! : A Story of Patterns, by Ann Marie Stephens/Illustrated by Jenn Harney, (Aug. 2021, Boyds Mill Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781635923216
Ages 4 to 8
Nine kittens set out on a fishing adventure to catch some dinner, but – OH NO! – they’re running into some trouble! Luckily, the Captain is there to help them out, by organizing them and calling out patterns for them to follow: row, row, meow; heave, heave, ho; Captain calls out the code, and the kittens follow, creating an organized unit where they can paddle their boat and catch their fish. Using math as a code-building foundation, this is a great way to introduce patterns and coding to younger kids. Rhyming and wordplay, a fun story, adorable artwork, and a fun story makes mathematical concepts accessible and fun to learn and easy to remember. A fun side challenge has readers searching for a dragonfly and a worm that each appear 20 times throughout the book.
A fun companion to Ann Marie Stephens’s Arithmechicks series and Josh Funk’s How to Code books, bring the math fun early on this school year.
Posted in History, Intermediate, Middle Grade, Non-fiction, Non-Fiction, Tween Reads

Titanic survivor stories: 10 True Tales

titanicTitanic: Young Survivors (10 True Tales), by Allan Zullo, (Dec. 2015, Scholastic), $5.99, ISBN: 9780545818391

Recommended for ages 10-12

Another solid addition to the 10 True Tales series, Allan Zullo researched survivor stories of the kids who survived the Titanic sinking and told their stories. With heartbreaking statistics – only 86 of about 195 young people under age 17 survived – and tear-jerking stories of children saying goodbye to their fathers as they were lowered into lifeboats, these stories are tough to read, but create an emotional link between readers and the kids who survived the tragic sinking of the luxury liner over 100 years ago. It’s a good additional book to add to nonfiction collections; one that will go beyond the facts and straight to the heart of the people and what they lost. Each story includes a brief epilogue that details what happened to the survivors after arriving back in New York, and any information about the recovery of the survivor’s family members.

If Allan Zullo’s name is on it, I buy it. He’s written over 100 nonfiction books for kids, and knows how to write series nonfiction that reads like page-turning fiction. He knows the subject matter that kids like to read about, from war heroes to surviving sharks, and he makes sure to get a kids’-eye view with books like Kid Pirates and Teens at War. He puts the real face of history into nonfiction text by telling the stories of people affected by world-shattering events.

The book includes a glossary, and Zullo mentions several reliable Web resources, including Encyclopedia Titanica, Titanic-Titanic, and the Titanic Inquiry Project.

Allan Zullo’s author webpage offers more information about his books and an FAQ that features questions kids have asked him.