Archive for August 13, 2018

Martin Luther King: Peaceful Warrior

Written by Ed Clayton
Illustrated by Donald Bermudez

On the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. King’s death, this short biography has been resurrected and re-worked. Originally published in 1964, the book was written by people who knew and worked with the Kings. Chapters were added about what happened after the March on Washington. Vivid illustrations, many of them based on photographs, help to tell the story.

With many anecdotes, the author ably demonstrates how Dr. King developed his ideas and attitudes and the great importance he played in the history of our country. This is a valuable resource for anyone seeking to learn about the civil rights movement, the 1960s, nonviolence, or what it means to be in the minority.

Dr. King was the grandson of a sharecropper, a man who refused to give in to the rules of the landowners. Dr. King’s father had a sharp mind and helped his father fight the system. Young Martin was always curious about the world, which sometimes caused him to learn painful lessons. Such as the white stranger who called him a n—– and slapped him for stepping on her foot. But, more often, his curiosity led him to learn about Thoreau and Gandhi. Unjust laws were made to be broken. As pastor at the Montgomery, Alabama Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, he helped lead the bus boycott that made Rosa Parks a household name. It was in support of the striking garbage workers in Memphis that he was shot and killed at his hotel.

Dr. King accomplished much, and his legacy lives on.

  • MLKTitle: Martin Luther King: Peaceful Warrior
  • Author: Ed Clayton
  • New Forward by: Xernona Clayton
  • Illustrator: Donald Bermudez
  • Published: Candlewick Press, 2017
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 128 pages
  • Grade Level: 3 to 7
  • Genre: Narrative Nonfiction, History, Biography
  • ISBN: 978-0-7636-7471-7
  • Extras: Afterword, “We Shall Overcome,” A Short Bibliography of Books on Black People and the Civil Rights Movement

The Rizzlerunk Club: Best Buds under Frogs

Written and Illustrated by Leslie Patricelli

Good news! The queen of board books, Leslie Patricelli (Toot is my favorite), has branch out into middle grade fiction. In her first novel, she introduces the reader to adorable fourth graders Lily and Darby. Lily is painfully shy, which is compounded by her attendance. Darby is afraid of nothing. Her rather large family lives at the other end of a small lake in a ”haunted house.” Lily and Darby immediately hang out together, finding small frogs and talking about ghosts. The two could not be so different and yet so similar at the same time. They form a club named after a ghostly pirate. Their club pledge is based on the Pledge of Allegiance, with best best buds under frogs. When Jill, an old, bossy friend of Darby’s, returns to their school, the three of them find more creative ways of getting into trouble. It’s all about learning to say no to Jill.

The author has stuck with the delightful illustrations and raucous humor that make her board books so great. But she’s added a lot of dimension with the concerns of fourth graders and also of the new kid in school. This would be a great beginning novel for a reluctant reader.

  • Best BudsTitle: The Rizzlerunk Club: Best Buds under Frogs
  • Author/Illustrator: Leslie Patricelli
  • Published: Candlewick, 2018
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 288 pages
  • Grade Level: 3 to 5
  • Genre: Coming of Age, Friendship, Humor
  • ISBN: 978-0-7636-5104-6

Leaf Litter Critters

Written by Leslie Bulion
Illustrated by Robert Meganck

Who knew there was so much going on in the pile of leaves in your yard? Apparently, scientists knew. Each two-page spread in this very informative book highlights a different creature possibly lurking in the typical pile of leaves (duff). The author cleverly weaves a lot of information into various poetry forms, explained later, and followed up by science notes about that creature. The illustrations, though at times cartoonish, give a good feel for what the creatures are up to. From the relatively large ecosystem engineers, earthworms, to predatory mites to the ever tiny bacteria, each creature has a job to do. “A Few Favorite Brown Food Web Kings” to the tune of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things” sort of wraps it all up. Especially fun for kids are the relative sizes and the suggested at-home experiments. How many tardigrades can you fit on the head of a pin? This is a wonderful place to start a biology unit or even a poetry unit. Or just to think about what you’re really jumping on in that pile of leaves.  

  • Leaf Litter CrittersTitle: Leaf Litter Critters        
  • Author: Leslie Bulion
  • Illustrator: Robert Meganck
  • Published: Peachtree Publishers, 2018
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 48 pages
  • Grade Level: 3 to 7
  • Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Biology, Poetry
  • ISBN: 978-1-56145-950-6
  • Extras: Table of Contents, Glossary, Poetry Notes, Litter Critter Investigations, Resources for Further Investigation, Critter Comparisons: Relative Sizes