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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Box #2 what gifts are special?

As I pack today’s box of books for River Valley Elementary School, I’m going to group them by publisher.

Bearport Publishing is such a favorite of mine that I cannot bear to give away their books. If you see one on this list, know it is a sacrifice to share:
Savage Slashers (Dino Times Trivia) by Natalie Lunis and Nancy White. This is a great read and savor title not a read-aloud. I like the format on each two page-spread. The Saurornitholestes page shows me how to say it, what it means, how big it was compared to a human, an artist’s depiction, and a few sentences of facts to interact with. There’s a sentence, a question, and then an answer. Usually there is a fact box with more information to ponder. 

The first page tells us that slashers are called raptors, so those of you still traumatized by the ferocious raptors in Jurassic Park – take heart. You can read this book and shudder with facts. You remember, truth is scarier than fiction. You need some details to bring your imagination to life.  I like the map in back of "Where Did They Live?" The timeline at the back is simple and concise. I can picture the students huddled in 2’s and 3’s reading and talking about these savage slashers. NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) recommends this book. 

Enslow Publishing including the Rainbow of Animals series. Kindergarten and first grade teachers will enjoy integrating these titles into their color units. I admit that I had to read the book about purple animals first. The first animal listed is the purple martin which is amusing since I live in Mount, Juliet, Tennessee – "The Purple Martin Capital of Tennessee." The publisher indicates that their are "no other published series that cover this topic" and I was intrigued how science author Melissa Stewart would "simply yet scientifically explain" these animal’s colorations. Learning that purple animals tend to attract their mates and yet are often poisonous, I’m thinking of changing my hair color. These are visually appealing titles with simple sentences. A must have for elementary collections.

Why are Animals Red? (cool, a Bald Uakari!)
Why are Animals Orange? (Golden Mantella Frog)
Why are Animals Yellow?  (Guineafowl Pufferfish)
Why are Animals Green? (Masked Puddle Frog)
Why are Animals Blue? (Indigo Bunting)
Why are Animals Purple? (Agama Lizard)

Holidays – Count and Celebrate! series by Fredrick L. McKissack and Lisa Beringer McKissack from Enslow Publishing including:

Enslow’s Baby Animals of the Grasslands (part of the Nature’s Baby Animals series I mentioned in box 1) and
Baby Animals of the Tropical Rain Forest

Capstone Press:
Peacefulness (First Facts) by Rebecca Olien. Introduces ways peacefulness can be used throughout the day. 24 pages and useful for grades 1 & 2.
Bilingual titles from Capstone including:
Trenes / Trains Matt Doeden Capstone Press
Las estaciones del año / Seasons of the Year Margaret Hall Capstone Press
Veamos el otoño / Let’s Look at Fall Sarah L. Schuette Capstone Press 

"R" is for Research Library BookUpstart Books:
"R" is for Research by Toni Buzzeo and Illustrated by Nicole Wong. I’m excited for the librarian to share this title with elementary students as she/he introduces research. "V is for verify that we’ve done our best work." I love any book that uses words like verify. This is a quick intro for the youngest of researchers. 

ABDO Publishing:
Show Me the Bunny! – a SpongeBob Squarepants Ready-to-Read Level 2 book Steven Banks ABDO Spotlight
Dora Helps Diego! – a Dora the Explorer Nick Jr. Ready-to-Read Level 1 book Laura Driscoll ABDO Spotlight
Diego Saves the Sloth! by Alexis Romay Go Diego Go! Nick Jr. ABDO Spotlight 

These picturebooks intended for fans of the TV shows do encourage students to pick them up and try reading them. Is it their familiarity with the characters or is it that they believe they can predict the storylines. Maybe they just love the characters so much they are willing to turn away from the TV and try to see new stories in their heads. Readers, you know when you have book fairs that students convince their parents to buy these books. Let’s hook these very young readers.

Lost in the Mall (The Adventures of Marshall & Art) by Noel Gyro Potter. An Abdo Magic Wagon title. This picture book with computer generated graphics features black belt brothers and character education. According to the publisher’s description their "martial art training helps them resolve problems as a team, without using karate to intimidate others." This title focuses on being prepared with code words in case you are separated from your family or lost. This may help prevent child abductions and the ending material includes additional safety tips.

Monster Boy’s Field Trip (Monster Boy) by Carl Emerson (Abdo Magic Wagon) has tips in the back for containing your inner monster. How do you react to bullies and people who make you frustrated? This series shows Marty Onster trying to be like everyone else and not the monsters his parents are.

Blue (Colors) by Patricia M. Stockland and illustrated by Julia Woolf is part of the Colors series for beginning readers. Pages with text like these enable students to predict. With each page ending with "The [blank] is blue," young readers feel more confident.

Are You My Rabbit? by Julia Vogel and illustrated by Matthew Williams is part of the Are You My Pet? series. I really liked the information included in this series, although the choice of computer illustrations surprised me. I had an art teacher who kept her pet rabbit at school. I enjoyed watching him wander the room, but having read this book, I know my house would not be a good home for rabbits. I need to check out the rodent title next. 

Cameras by Kristin Petrie part of the Checkerboard Science Library Everyday Inventions series. This series features books with only 32 pages,but there are ALOT of words on these pages. The publisher indicates the interest level is 3-6, but the reading level is grade 4.

J.R.R. Tolkien by Jill C. Wheeler is part of the Checkerboard Biography Library Children’s Authors series. This series is intended to interest too broad a range of readers K-6 with a reading level of grade 4. While some students will appreciate these short 24 page books, I hesitated on whether J.R.R. Tolkien, which takes a good reader, would be a good match. What do you think readers? Do your elementary students devour this series? Is it more appealing for those struggling readers to pick up a 24-page picturebook biography?

Another series in the Checkerboard Science Library is Bugs! I’m packing Termites by Kristin Petrie. 32 pages. Lots of words on these pages. I have never found a title for Box Elder Bugs so I’d have to add these to my collection in an elementary library.

ABDO’s Sandcastle series varies in topics. I’m packing What in the World is an Ounce? by Mary Elizabeth Salzmann from the Let’s Measure series and Cheetah! It’s a Baby from the Baby African Animals series. Test scores for my previous students shows that measurement is a difficult math topic. Both of these series are of interest to preschool through grade 2.

ABDO Super Sandcastle State Stories The Lonesome Star: A Story About Texas: Fact & Fable by Karen Latchana Kenney and illustrated by Bob Doucet.  

This series intertwines state symbols, nicknames, history, geography and maps through stories. Intended for emerging readers, these books will provide an introduction to states for young travelers be it by car or armchair. 

ABDO Super Sandcastle Let’s Look A to Z series provided Albatross to Zebra Finch: Birds from A to Z for my gift box today. Written by Mary Elizabeth Salzmann, this series includes birds, inventions, famous men, famous women, mathematics, and geography. Yes, readers, there is an "X" bird Xantus’s Murrelet

Norwood House series A Great Idea focusing on inventions and green technology.
Beginning to Read - Hybrid Cars, Going GreenHybrid Cars by Bonnie Juettner
Home Windmills by Cherese Cartlidge
Water from Air: Water-Harvesting Machines by Cherese Cartlidge
Recycled Tires by Toney Allman. This title is so fascinating, that I debated (okay agonized over) keeping it for my middle schoolers. It contains great content, lots of information, and many sides of environmental and safety issues. I learned much about crumb rubber and devulcanization. Still, it’s going in the box.

Here’s an interesting fact I read in Home Windmills: Did You Know? Running a power line out to a remote site to connect it to the power company is very expensive. It can cost up to fifty thousand dollars per mile. 

I am fascinated with the wind turbines near Storm Lake, Iowa. Having read Home Windmills, I hope that someday my house will be equipped with the newest version of a SkystreamAndy Kruse and David Calley – you are my heroes! Where are the biographies on you?

Norwood House The Fright Zone: Jokes, Riddles, Tongue Twisters & "Daffynitions" by Gary Chmielewski, illustrated by Jim Caputo. 
Readers, my friends know that I cannot tell jokes and that I have the absolute worst sense of humor. Even when I laugh at jokes, it’s usually a slight grimace. ARGH! Now this book has put all kinds of silly riddles in my head like:

Why did the vampire’s girlfriend dump him?
The relationship was too draining!

Blame this book if I subject you to these riddles and jokes. It’s a good thing it’s going in a box to Iowa over 850 miles away. Oh, no, what if my niece and nephew stumble upon this? I can just see the look on my brother Randy’s face when they subject him to these jokes. (rubbing my hands with glee) I hope you plan to add the entire Funny Zone series to your elementary school collection.