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Product Type: Books
Award: Gold
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Review Year: 2012

 


2012 Award
My Pop-Up World Atlas
(by Anita Ganeri and Stephen Waterhouse, Candlewick $18.99 Score:)

Anyone who has worked with early school age children knows how fascinated they are by maps. An interest in geography begins early! Perhaps it has to do with their budding abilities to deal with symbolic thinking. As they begin to learn that a word can stand for a thing, they can make another leap in understanding that a map can stand for the land and water we live on. In this bright and clever pop-up book they will find a single map for each of the continents of the world with pops, flaps and tons of facts that will invite lots of talking and discoveries each time they return to it. The cover is the least interesting part of the book. Open it and enjoy! A parent/child book for sharing.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Star of the Sea
(by Janet Halfmann/ illus by Joan Paley, Henry Holt $16.99 Score:)

Through quiet prose and lovely illustrations, this is, as the subtitle says, A Day in the Life of a Starfish. Slowly the starfish manages to get about, turns mussels to liquid food, and escapes from danger until a seagull snatches it up into the air and breaks off one of its rays! Imagine how surprised young readers will be to discover that the ray will grow back again. Watercolor collages add much to the charm of this fine science book for 5-9.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Sky Color
(by Peter H. Reynolds, Candlewick $14 Score:)

Her class is making a mural and Marisol loved to paint. But, after offering to paint the sky, Marisol discovers there is no blue paint! Thanks to the missing paint Marisol makes some other big discoveries that will help others think out of the box. Another winner from the author of The Dot and Ish. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
Mice on Ice
(by Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley, Holiday House $14.95 Score:)

Though the shape is larger than the usual easy-to-read series book, this true beginner's book uses very few words and colorful illustrations that will appeal to new readers. Fun for working on rhyming, as well. Level 1

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Bailey at the Museum
(by Harry Bliss, Scholastic $16.99 Score:)

Having a classmate like Bailey, a curious pooch, does make for a lively field trip to the Natural History Museum. Bailey is more than enthusiastic about sampling the dinosaur bones and somewhat under impressed by the Stone Age display. The narrative is told in prose that is lightened up with dialogue bubbles. Thanks to the cartoonish illustrations and the bubbles, we get a take on Bailey's often amusing thoughts as well as those of his teacher, the museum guard and others.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
The Other Side of Town
(by Jon Agee, Scholastic $17.95 Score:)

Take a zany cab ride to Schmeeker Street with a funny little guy in a goofy green suit. No, he does not mean Bleecker Street. He means Schmeeker, on the other side of town. And so it goes. The god natured cab driver plays straight man to the goofy guy’s directions and finds himself in an alternative world...where they have spotholes instead of potholes, a Finkon Tunnel instead of the Lincoln one and baseball is played by the Spankees not the Yankees. As always, Jon Agee comes up with a light romp that is carried by his cartoonish illustrations. Entertaining—but probably not more than once or twice.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Unspoken: A Story From the Underground Railroad
(Henry Cole, Scholastic $16.95 Score:)

With sepia illustrations and no words, Henry Cole tells a moving story of a small girl who feeds a runaway slave who is hiding in the family's henhouse. When the Confederate soldiers come she is fearful but courageous. It's hard to know how young students are these days when they learn of the Civil War and the Underground Railway and will they still be looking at picture books at that stage. This is marked 4 & up, but clearly this is not a story for 4 year olds. That said, this is beautifully done and perhaps can be used to inspire older students to write their own stories too accompany Cole's charming illustrations.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket
(by John Boyne, ills. Oliver Jeffers, Knopf $19.99 Score:)

Born into a family of ordinary people, who liked being that way, young Barnaby Brocket came into the world anything but ordinary. Within moments of his birth he could float. In fact, he could not help floating. Unable to stop, as his parents felt he could if he tried, he is rejected at age eight and cast off into the vast blue sky over Sydney. In a journey that takes him round the word, Barnaby survives a series of adventures and discovers he is not unique in failing to fit his parent's expectations. By the time the story comes full circle Barnaby makes another discovery about himself and being "normal." Though many of the scenes are amusing, this is a bittersweet story with a very moralistic message. Marked for 8-12, one has to wonder if readers of 10-12 will stay with a book about an 8 year old and if younger readers of 8-9 will stay with or get the point of this rather long fantasy. That said, the opening pages are pure silk!

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Camping: A Mr. and Mrs. Green Adventure
(by Keith Baker, Houghton Mifflin $12.95/4.99 Score:)

Beginning readers are apt to love this story as much as Mr. Green likes the cookies. Mrs. Green(an alligator) has left a note for her napping husband. He misreads the note by only seeing half of it and then decides to disregard the message. A light breezy read for beginners. Level 2.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
Magic Tree House, Hour of the Olympics
(by Mary Pope Osborne, Random House $4.99 Score:)

No girls are allowed at the Olympics! That was the rule in ancient times and in this time travel book the rules apply....or do they. Another one of those suspenseful adventures for Jack and Annie. If your new to chapter book reader has not discovered this series, this is a good summer read that will give them a bit of history, a meeting with heroes and heroines of the Greek myths and perhaps a lively taste for time travel and more Magic Tree House mysteries.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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