Posted tagged ‘Nature’

Mia’s Book Shoutout #4

April 1, 2012

Fifth grade book lover Mia shares her favorite books

“A Book to Get You Buzzing About Spring
Have you ever thought about a bee’s life? What it does, all the different kinds of bees: which ones are useful; which ones are not; how long a bee lives; or how you get honey, I mean real honey?
Well, A Hive for the Honey Bee is told from all sorts of bee perspectives and Thora is the main character. Thora, is a worker bee and we follow her through her life. To really appreciate this book, you really need to know a few things about bees. First, the queen controls everything. Second, the drones do absolutely nothing– well, it’s awkward, but the drones are needed for the queen bee to make babies. Third, all the bees that work are females.
Back to the story which starts when the queen bee leaves Thora’s hive to start a new hive somewhere else. Of course you probably know that it is bad for a honey bee hive for the queen to leave, because the queen controls all the work orders. And, just all the bees knowing the queen is there helps everyone. So a hive must learn how to survive with only about 100 bees and no queen, so if you want to learn how the hive survives in this beautifully illustrated and written book, I recommend you read it now.  But if you are not too interested in bees, there is another part of this story!  It is about Moe, a drone, and his search to find idleness for all worker bees whether they want it or not.  He can see how unfair the hive is, even though most drones are too blind to see it themselves.
A Hive for the Honey Bee is so sad and good. When you finish it you will probably start to cry because Soinbhe Lally is a truly amazing author. Her writing in this book is SO beautiful. This book might be hard to get into at first, but if you just keep pushing through, you will eventually come out on top with the beauty of it. So if this sounds appealing to you, go to the “L” section of the Crescent Park School Library and read it. So, on your mark, get set, BUZZ!

Wildwood by Colin Meloy

December 2, 2011

Before winter and the Christmas season really set in, I want to tell you about the greatest book I read last month, Wildwood.  Set in the real city of Seattle and the fictional “wildwood” that is located across the river from Seattle, it is full of adventure, danger, colorful characters, and nail-biting suspense.  There are echoes of the “Narnia” books, but the author has put his own personal stamp on it and made it original.  There are beautiful pictures throughout the book, drawn by the author’s very talented wife.

The main character is Pru, a young girl who loses her nearly one-year-old brother one day when she’s babysitting.  One minute he’s sleeping in the little red wagon, and the next he gets carried away by crows! Very disturbing, but of course she sets out to find him, and of course the crows have taken him to Wildwood, which is the mysterious forbidden area across the river from Pru’s city. Children have been taught that it is a dangerous, uncivilized land, but Pru is a daring and loyal sister who will stop at nothing to get her brother back. What will she find when she gets there? Will she succeed in finding her brother, and why would crows carry him away in the first place? Read this beautifully descriptive fantasy if you are looking for a challenging and rewarding reading experience.

New chapter books added recently

March 15, 2011

Here are some new chapter books recently added to the CPS library collection that I have read and highly recommend:

Nature Girl by Jane Kelley

A 12-year-old New York City  girl is reluctantly spending the summer in Vermont with her nature-loving family.   After an argument with her friend, she decides to hike 30 miles of the Appalachian Trail with her dog.  Her journey is both physical and emotional, as she has plenty of time to think about her life along the way.

Out of my mind by Sharon Draper

Born with cerebral palsy, 10-year-old Melody has never said a word.  She is a brilliant fifth grader trapped in an uncontrollable body.  What happens when she starts to be included in “normal” classes – will the other fifth graders accept her?  Will they understand she is actually the smartest student in the school?  Read this moving novel to find out how Melody finds her “voice”. 

The year money grew on trees by Aaron R. Hawkins

A young teenage boy and his siblings spend the summer running an apple orchard with no adult assistance, because an elderly neighbor has promised to GIVE it to them if they can make a success of it.  An interesting look at family, hard work, determination, and the pride that kids feel when they are working toward a goal.  Suspenseful and inspiring!

Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea

Seven fifth graders in Vermont learn a variety of life lessons, not necessarily from their textbooks, with an inspiring new teacher who really understands them and is always on their side.  Short chapters told in the different students’ distinct voices give the reader many perspectives on the events of the school year, including the accident that teaches them the most important lesson of all.

Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh

Set in England in the winter of 1347, this suspenseful and spooky story  is about fourteen-year-old William, whose family perished in a fire 18 months earlier, and who now works as a servant at the local monastery in exchange for his room and board.  While gathering firewood  in the forest,  he discovers a creature – a hobgoblin – caught in a trap and saves its life.  As the hob recovers from his wounds, Will encounters a mystery that shakes him to his core.  This book’s fascinating attention to detail draws the reader deeply into the story, and you get a real sense of life in medieval times.

Erin Hunter’s Warriors series: #1 at CPS!

May 1, 2010

A seemingly never-ending series by Erin Hunter about clans of cats in the wild is WILDLY POPULAR in the CPS library. For a few years these books have been turning 4th and 5th grade casual readers into avid bookworms. This year for the first time I have many 3rd graders who have picked up on the craze. Here are the books:

The original series, Warriors, is made up of six books; The New Prophecy is another six books, followed by Power of Three (another six books). The author has just started Omen of the Stars, a 4th series. Then there are the Manga (graphic novels) and a few super editions and guides. The CPS library has all but the Mangas and the guides, and out of a total of 20 books, maybe 5 are on the shelf on any given day.

Here’s your question, readers: what is it about wars between tribes of cats that keeps you coming back for more, book after book after book? I want to know why these are the most popular books in the library. I confess I have not read them, and you must convince me that I should!

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

February 25, 2010

This year’s Newbery Honor book presents a very charming main character, Calpurnia (“Callie Vee”) Tate , who is growing up surrounded by six brothers on a cotton and pecan plantation in Texas. It is 1899 and girls are expected to learn to sew, cook, play the piano, and dream of getting married someday. What do you think Callie Vee would rather do? Study nature! She loves observing plants, bugs, and animals, and her mysterious old Grandaddy, an amateur naturalist, begins to teach her what he knows about science and the great outdoors. Her favorite brother gives her a notebook to write down her observations, and Callie’s new scientific life is officially “launched”. There are humorous sections where Callie struggles to please her mother and lots of vivid details of family life with her older and younger brothers. (If you liked Our Only May Amelia, you will understand that Callie and May Amelia would be wonderful friends!) Throughout the book there is mounting anticipation: will Callie be able to pursue her dream of being a scientist? Read this wonderfully engaging story even if science and nature aren’t your favorite subjects: it’s a wonderful eye opener about growing up 100 years ago.

Snake and Lizard by Joy Cowley

September 16, 2009

url-2I have lots of nature lovers in the library, and plenty of fiction books starring animals, but not so many that feature reptiles. I finally found a chapter book about snakes! Snake and Lizard by Joy Cowley, a New Zealand author who has written more than 600 books, is made up of 15 short, humorous chapters with beautiful color illustrations. There are some realistic details, as the characters hunt for their food and stay safe from their enemies, which will make the book popular with budding zoologists. There is also a little flavor of the Frog and Toad books, as Snake and Lizard learn about friendship and the give and take of life, encounter bad moods, start a business helping other animals, and share stories, wishes and fears.

The Cats of Roxville Station by Jean Craighead George

August 29, 2009

n298560I had a great reading experience yesterday. It was a beautiful sunny day, so I packed up my beach chair, lunch, and a new book and headed to the river to read for the day.

The Cats of Roxville Station was my book, and it turned out to be a great choice for reading outside, because there was lots of information about the natural world that’s all around us but that we don’t often notice. Here’s the opening sentence: “A lady in a fur coat threw a fighting, hissing cat off a bridge, got back into her car, and sped into the night.” Poor Rachet! Abandoned, she must now fend for herself . She quickly discovers that there is a group of wild (feral) cats in the neighborhood and she must learn to fight for her place among them. Jean Craighead George is a master of writing about the natural world (she won the Newbery Medal for Julie of the Wolves and My Side of the Mountain). In this book we find out about the hidden world of the wild cats; how they hunt, establish their territory, and try to avoid predators like snakes, owls, and foxes. There are humans in the area, too, including the nice “Bent Lady” who feeds the wild cats every day, and Mike, a foster child who wants more than anything to bring Rachet home. Check this book out if you like reading about the animal world. The author does a nice job of combining an interesting story with real facts about how cats communicate with each other and humans. Since reading this book I have had great fun watching my cat move around in the back yard, interacting with other cats (not wild cats!), birds, chipmunks, etc. I learned a lot.