We want to help create motivated and engaged young readers. This blog is about children's and YA literature (especially New Zealand), literacy research, and ways to get, and keep, kids reading.
Miles Wednesday is an escaped orphan who lives in a barrel on a hillside of the town of Larde.Miles Wednesday is an escaped orphan who lives in a barrel on a hillside of the town of Larde. On the day the Circus Oscuro comes to town and he meets a tiger, his life changes for ever. The circus owner and villain of the book, the moustachioed Great Cortardo has a plot to control the people of Larde through laughter at the Palace of Laughter. Sinister indeed!
A great adventure with a winged Song Angel, Little and a host of bizaare characters makes this a lively adventure/ fantasy with appeal to middle school children.
This is Jon Berkeley's first novel and he has a great love of words, but probably uses too many of them in this story. However his wit is brilliant and eccentric, and this makes you keep reading it.
Highly recommended for lovers of fantasy.
Pub. HarperCollins Children’s Books
Reviewed by Bob
by Glyn Harper & Colin Richardson. HarperCollins Publishers, 2006.
The recent raid on the Waiouru Army Museum has put war medals in the spotlight right now. Here are the stories of the 26 men who won the highest military honour our country can award. Only a few of the names will be known to most New Zealanders, but all of the stories are part of our kiwi heritage, and deserve to be known. Glyn and Colin have done a superb job of introducing these fighting heroes of the First and Second World Wars to young readers. This is an ideal read for all those who enjoy true adventure stories – boys are often attracted to this kind of book – and it will also be a valuable asset every year as Anzac Day comes around, and we focus once again on New Zealand’s history touched by war.
Reviewed by Pamela
Allanah's Appleby Showcase has been chosen as a finalist in the international EduBlogs awards (the Eddies). These are "the annual event where the best education blogs of the year are decided by, well, you!" Allanah and her students are up against 4 other finalists from around the world in the Best Educational Use of Audio category.
Allanah's Appleby Showcase is a blog of student podcasts (audio broadcasts) created by Allanah, a teacher at Appleby School in Nelson and her Year 4-5 students. The most recent podcasts are student reviews of Shaun Tan's The Lost Thing, and of Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes. Maybe this is something you could try at your school?
Another category in the awards is the Best Librarian/Library blog, with 5 great blogs to look at here.
If you would like to have a look at the EduBlog finalists, and vote for your favourites, you will need to do so by the end of TODAY (Thursday December 6th)!
Did you know that a "jolly-boat" is a dinghy-type boat to collect stragglers from the quayside and deliver them to the Man-of-War? How is a knot (ship’s speed) calculated? Or that a sailor’s day begins at noon? Close to the Wind is full of these nuggets of knowledge for the curious. It is a cornucopia of maritime information.
It also belongs to what seems to be a growing genre – I think one calls it “faction”. They can be difficult to place in the library too - picture book or non-fiction? We, here at National Library have this one in non-fiction (551.518 weather) and really there is no dilemma in this case I think.
Although all characters are fictional - except Captain Beaufort and engineer John Smeaton - there is loads of factual information about the Beaufort Scale, wind, sailing ships, the sea and various ports between Naples and Barbados.
It is a very impressive production with gorgeous pictures and clear layout. Each page describes a different level of Beaufort Scale indicated by wind effects on the surface of the sea, wind effects on land (such as smoke direction and flag movement) and the effect of the wind on the handling of a Man-of-War.
Close to the Wind covers lots of curriculum areas – social science, technology, art and science. It is a great read for children who are interested in the sea and sailing - and for the generally curious. An excellent book for children from year 5 and older.
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons (part of the Penguin Group)
It’s elementary: Putting the crackle into chemistry by Robert Winston. Published by Dorling Kindersley 2007
Full of information boxes, speech bubbles, colourful illustrations and a myriad of facts, this book would appeal to young scientists who enjoy browsing for information. Readers can investigate atoms, find out what dogs are made of, learn how the colours are created in fireworks and much more. A glossary and index are provided. The book is more suitable for recreational reading than research as topics are only covered lightly.
Content most likely to be appreciated by Year 7 plus.
A similar title in the same series is Can you feel the Force: Putting the fizz back into chemistry by Richard Hammond
In this title the reader is drawn into the text by questions such as ‘Can you lie on a bed of nails?’ and ‘Can you walk on custard?’ and are then provided with brief scientific explanations. Pages also include frequently asked questions and practical activities the reader can try.
Other books in this attractive series are:
Think of a number by Johnny Ball and What makes me me? also by Robert Winston.
Reviewed by Melva
Super Science Projects About Earth's Soil and Water
By Robert Gardner. Published by Enslow Publishers Inc, 2008.
This book is easy to read, and the layout and illustrations look inviting. It is a book in a series of six called 'Rockin' Earth Science Experiments' that includes books of science projects about the earth, rocks and minerals, sun and moon, sky, and the weather.
The book has 10 experiments that are are straight forward and fun to do. Each one starts with 'now lets find out,' which is the procedure for the experiment, and plenty of questions for consideration. This is followed on the next page with an explanation, and some related ideas for possible science fair projects. The procedures and explanations are very clear and easy to understand. They are supported by cartoon style diagrams, photographs, and a glossary and list for further reading at the back of the book.
It is suitable for senior primary and intermediate classes, and would be a great introduction to science fair investigations.
Reviewed by Heather
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