Thursday, March 24, 2011

Non-fiction: A Salamander's Life, by John Himmelman

A Salamander's Life, by John Himmelman
Himmelman is a naturalist, and A Salamander's Life shows his love for all the small things that live in the forest. Like Under the Snow this book is a wonderful selection for preschool and kindergarten. The text is clear and simple, and the illustrations are gorgeous. The illustrations pull you in to the tiny world under the leaves in a way that a photograph could not. Though the text is quite simple, this book can be enjoyed by older students for the pictures alone. I was delighted to find this book is part of a series by Himmelman.
Target Age: prek-2

Also by Himmelman
A Dandelion's Life
An Earthworm's Life
A House Spider's Life
A Lady Bug's Life
A Luna Moth's Life
A Pill Bug's Life
A Wood Frog's Life

Monday, March 21, 2011

Nursery Rhymes

Hey Diddle Diddle illustrated by Annie Kubler
I don't know why I continue to be amazed that preschoolers love nursery rhymes. They LOVE them. And I know I should be reading more. This series from Child's Play is my current favorite format. Even though the books are board books, the preschool students still love to borrow them. Each book has a single rhyme or song spread over eight pages. I have watched countless preschoolers (and toddlers) page through and sing along. Of course they love it - they feel like they are reading to themselves! Hey Diddle Diddle is my favorite. The babies are dressed as the characters from the rhyme. Row Row Row Your Boat has a nice twist in the lyrics. I have the rest of the series on my "to-buy" list.
Target Age: 0-6 years.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Weekly Read Aloud: Meet Einstein by Mariela Kleiner

Meet Einstein by Mariela Kleiner
Monday was Einstein's birthday, so it seemed a fitting time to try this book out. I love the idea of a book that introduces Albert Einstein to small kids. The illustrations are very appealing in their simplicity. The explanations of light and gravity are also very simple, clear and informative. The photos show Einstein asking questions and exploring the world. Wonderful. Except, perhaps it is too simple. It would be quite easy for a child to come away from a reading of this book thinking that Einstein invented the lightbulb and discovered gravity. Perhaps it is true that his discoveries about light and energy would be difficult to distill for this age group, but this book might mislead. That aside, this book delighted my young listeners and they were entranced by the closing line: "Maybe someday you could be a scientist too."
Target age: prek

NOTE ADDED APRIL 18: I have recently become aware of some of the misunderstandings this book has generated among the preschoolers, and I have removed it from my library's collection. So sad, because the illustrations are very cute.