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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Giving ABDO early nonfiction titles

Nurses at Work by Kenney and DummNonfiction Monday
Cinco de Mayo by Owens and Conger
In the Llama Yard by Stockland and Ouren
October by Kesselring and Rooney
It’s a Baby Spiny Anteater! by Hengel
Screwdrivers by Hanson
Cool Sets & Props by Kenney
Patricia Nixon by Wheeler 
Sleek Siamese by Hanson 

Nurses at Work by Karen Latchana Kenney and illustrated by Brian Caleb Dumm. ABDO ©2010. ABDO price $18.95 Part of the Meet your Community Workers series which includes librarians (see cover). 

Why am I giving this to an elementary school instead of keeping it? It has drawings, not photographs. There are four-five sentences on a page. It is definitely written for prek-two. The publisher indicates this is on a second grade reading level. I think that would be the highest grade to utilize this title.

The page on different kinds of nurses includes neonatal, registered nurses or RNs and licensed practical nurses or LPNs. These are not early elementary vocabulary words, but it appears this series is meant to be read to or read with a child for early career and community information. I liked the page at the back "A Day as a Nurse" with a look at tasks early morning, late morning, afternoon, and early evening. 

Community workers in the set: Firefighters, Mail Carriers, Police Officers, Teachers, Librarians, Nurses. 

Cinco de Mayo by L.L. Owens and illustrated by Holli Conger is part of the Cultural Holidays series. ©2010 $18.95 ISBN 978-1-60270-602-6  

There is more information in this title than I expected. The drawings appear to be intended for the youngest of students, yet there is information that older students studying holidays could use. This would work as a read-aloud for older students in grades 3-4, but they would be less likely to think the title was intended for them in the drawings in my opinion. 

Cinco de Mayo includes two recipes – one for Mexican Limeade and one for Horchata Water.  There are lyrics to a Cinco de Mayo song set to the tune of Pop Goes the Weasel.

Cultural Holidays in this series: Chinese New Year, Christmas, Cinco de Mayo, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan 

In the Llama Yard by Patricia M. Stockland and illustrated by Todd Ouren is part of the Barnyard Buddies set. ©2010  $17.95 ISBN 978-1-60270-644-6. 

I know of two farms in Iowa where llamas were raised so I was very interested in this title. I’d love to show you the cover, but ABDO only puts one cover of a title on their website per series. This is part of the second set, but the goats are the featured cover. 

Barnyard Buddies Set 1 ©2008  includes: cattle, chicken, horse, sheep, pigs, ducks
Barnyard Buddies Set 2 ©2010 includes: buffalo, goose, goat, llama, rabbit, turkey

I definitely would purchase the second set of Barnyard Buddies. I found the information interesting – particularly the fun facts page at the end. The text is simple and reads well aloud. I’m not thrilled with the illustrations, but the text makes up for it in this set. I found only two other llama nonfiction titles on the market. Both had photographs, but their focus wasn’t upon llamas as farm animals. 

Libraries will need In the Llama Yard to accompany the rising number of picture books with llamas as main characters. Think of Llama Llama, Red Pajama and his sequels, The Littlest Llama, The Llama’s Secret, Is Your Mama a Llama?, and The Llama Who Had No Pajama: 100 favorite poems by Mary Ann Hoberman.

October by Mari Kesselring and Ronnie Rooney is part of the Months of the Year series. This title had rhymes on every page. It included leaves falling, Yom Kippur, Columbus Day, fire safety week, Popcorn Poppin” Month, Dinosaur Month, and Halloween. One page included the confusing fact that October once was month number eight instead of ten, but doesn’t elaborate. I suspect they needed the fact for rhyming purposes only. See’s wikianswers. Additional purchase if additional read-alouds are needed. See questions I raise about Holiday books on this blog post.

It’s a Baby Spiny Anteater! by Katherine Hengel. Part of Sand Castle’s Baby Australian Animals set. ©2010 $13.95 ISBN 978-1-60453-578-5. The description from the publisher’s website is:

Some of the most intriguing animals in the world live exclusively in Australia. This endearing series teaches kids about the births and early lives of six of these amazing creatures. Astonishing photography and easy-to-read sentences bring these baby animals to life for early readers. Each book highlights a different Australian animal, detailing its growth patterns, eating habits, enemies, parenting style, and more.

This Sand Castle title had 2 flags, so it is intended for transitional readers. There are vital statistics on the first page. It took me aback because I expected a table of contents and almost skipped this centered listing.  Buried in one little fact box towards the end of the book is the statement that the spiny anteater is also called the echnida. When I researched Australian animals with first graders, we always looked for books on the echnida. Since the word isn’t even listed in the index, you might miss this.  The format of information is easy to read for beginning researchers. (see inside illustration of the layout from the publisher’s website)
Baby Australian Animals set includes: Australian Fur Seal,  Flying Fox, Kangaroo, Koala, Tasmanian Devil, and Spiny Anteater.

Screwdrivers by Anders Hanson. (Tools of the Trade) Sand Castle Fluent Reader level. ©2010 $13.95 ISBN
Specific tools included in this book are hex keys (aka Allen wrenches), screw gun, Phillips screwdriver, slotted driver. 

After growing up in a carpenter/mechanic’s house, I wish this title had been available to me when I was younger. I would have read this so I could understand what my dad and brothers seemed to be simply born knowing. I remember my dad telling me I couldn’t learn everything in a book. Hah! Dad, you’d be surprised what’s out there now and how they explain just what I needed to know and was always too embarrassed to ask.

Tools of the Trade includes Drills, Saws, Hammers, Wrenches, Pliers, and Screwdrivers. I’d buy the entire set for both the students who want to learn about "real stuff" and for those first and second grade tool lessons that accompany the reading textbooks every year.

Cool Sets & Props by Karen Latchana Kenney. (Cool Performances series) ©2010 $17.95 ISBN 978-1-60453-718-5. 

AHA! This title has much more information in it than the previous series. Schools that have drama clubs and that put on dramatic performances will utilize this information. Intended for grades 3-6 this title is filled with color photographs and d-e-t-a-i-l-s. This is what students who need inspiration are looking for – details. I’d purchase the set for drama clubs and for those creative students who like to design props or who are looking for creative craft ideas.

Cool Performances series: Cool Costumes, Cool Makeup, Cool Productions, Cool Scripts & Acting, Cool Sets & Props, Cool Special Effects

Patricia Nixon by Jill C. Wheeler (First Ladies series, set 2) ©2010 $17.95 ISBN 978-1-60453-632-4
When I opened the box and saw I’d received Patricia Nixon to review, I was initially disappointed. I knew "of" Patricia Nixon only in reference to Nixon and Watergate. Remember, I was a very little girl at that time. The first lady I was really conscious of doing good things was Rosalynn Carter. 

I’m so glad that I read this biography of Pat Nixon. I feel a bond because she loved to travel. Until Hillary Clinton, Patricia Nixon was the most traveled of all first ladies. She was also the first 1st lady who wore pants. I can remember having to wear skirts most of the time, putting pants on underneath them to travel through the snow and then taking them off for school. Patricia Nixon supported the Equal Rights Amendment and women’s rights. She is a far more interesting person than I expected and I’m glad this biography was available to me.

There were 12 titles in the original set with set two adding six new first ladies: Abigail Adams, Mamie Eisenhower, Harriet Lane, Patricia Nixon, Michelle Obama, and Edith Wilson. 

To give or not to give? That is my dilemma now. I really like the Super Sandcastle Cat Craze title Sleek Siamese by Anders Hanson. ISBN 978-1-60453-725-3 

Sure, the series is written at a third grade reading level and is expected to interest grades K-4, but I like this title and I want to possess all of the books in the series:  
Awesome Abyssinians, Hip Himalayans, Marvelous Maine Coons, Popular Persians, Smooth Sphynx, and Sleek Siamese. There are statistics out there about librarians being bibliofiles, aren’t there?

Let’s face it, I’d like to have all those cats, too, if I didn’t have to have a job to go to earn money to feed those cats. Be sure to read the checklist to help readers decide what kind of cat is right for them. I am so moody that I think all cats are right for me. The question will be which cats can live with each other? 

 I know those elementary students at River Valley will love this book, but what about my middle schoolers? We like cats, too. In fact, I am a fan of the cats Koko and Yum Yum from The Cat Who series by Lilian Jackson Braun. Whether they will get this title or not shall remain a mystery tonight. 

Take a look at the inside of the Abyssinians title:

This is well-designed and interesting. Happy Reading! I’m off to have a talk with my cats about sharing.