Posted in Book Reviews, Homeschooling

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Wilderness: Earth’s Amazing Habitats by Mia Cassany

SYNOPSIS:
This captivating book brings the natural world into sharp focus. Beautifully colored and intricately detailed illustrations depict places as exotic and wide-ranging as Senegal’s Niokolo-Koba National Park, Russia’s Sikhote-Alin mountain range, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve in Sri Lanka, Daintree National Park in Australia, the Mexican desert, and China’s bamboo forests. The animals that live in these remote places, cleverly hidden in the trees, plants, and flowers, create a marvelous challenge for young readers to find and identify. Each spread contains more than twenty different species including birds, snakes, frogs, iguanas, leopards, tigers, gorillas, pandas, and wolves. The back of the book is filled with additional information about the animals and their habitats. Young readers will find much to discover, explore, and learn in this absorbing celebration of our planet and the amazing creatures we share it with.

MY THOUGHTS: This is an absolute must-have for homeschool classrooms. Each page contains intricate detail of animals, habitats, and geography. It is one of those nonfiction books which can be used for multiple classes: geography, science, and Language Arts. It could also be utilized for an incredible book report.
I was amazed at the level of information that our author packed into each paragraph. In fact, I felt ready for Jeopardy after I finished it!

Marcus Navarro has done an exquisite job with the pictures, allowing the specific animals to ‘come to life’ from the pages. I enjoyed the little smiles on some of their faces. While showcasing nature’s beauty, the illustrations don’t distract from the point of the book. They enhance it.

I appreciate that the author took time to explain larger, more complex terms. She also was careful to explain how & why the endangered species came to be endangered while not scaring younger readers. She makes the point without being graphic. All in all, it’s a brilliantly done book. I give it 5 stars with a high recommendation.
Illustrated by Marcos Navarro (ISBN: 978-3791373720; April 2019; Ages 6-9; Hardcover $19.95; 48 pages)

MIA CASSANY is the author of numerous books for children including Atlas of Imaginary Places and Great Ports of the World (both by Prestel). She is the co-founder of Mosquito Books. She lives in Barcelona, Spain.

MARCUS NAVARRO is an illustrator living in Spain. This is his first book.

I RECEIVED THE TITLE IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE MINE. PIC & SYNOPSIS BELONG SOLELY TO THE AUTHOR/PUBLISHER.

Posted in Book Reviews

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: THE BOOK OF INGENIOUSLY DARING CHEMISTRY: 24 Experiments for Young Scientists : Sean Connolly

National STEM day is November 8th

SYNOPSIS: THE BOOK OF INGENIOUSLY DARING CHEMISTRY: 24 Experiments for Young Scientists (Workman Publishing; On-sale: October 30, 2018; Ages 9 and up; $14.95) turns questions like “Why does helium make balloons float?” and “How does fluoride protect teeth?” into learning opportunities. It’s a journey through the periodic table of elements with the master of daring STEM books, Sean Connolly. Ingeniously marrying science and fun, it is a perfect introduction to chemistry for curious kids as well as those who might prefer a more engaging approach to science. It’s like having a miniature science lab between two covers!
THE BOOK OF INGENIOUSLY DARING CHEMISTRY puts knowledge into action using household ingredients to conduct 24 awesome, hands-on experiments, including:
Sodium: Make “hot ice” by crystallizing vinegar and baking soda into sodium acetate.
Neon: See how this gas emits light by powering a light bulb with static electricity.
Iron: Submerge steel wool in vinegar to see how this metal oxidizes.
Phosphorus: Play cat detective by using ultraviolet light to locate bad cat smells!

MY THOUGHTS: One of the best ways to review a book such as this is to try one of the experiments. My 15 year-old son & I did just that! We re-created Experiment #19 which involved vinegar & eggs. Not only did he learn about acid’s effect on the eggshell, but, the experiment coincided with what he’s learning in his Biology class.

What I loved about the experiment was, well, everything! It gave clear, concise directions that were difficult to screw up (Hooray!). The ‘ingredients’ were inexpensive and, actually, on-hand. But, it went way beyond a typical experiment. After the directions, it told us exactly what we were seeing, what was happening, and why. We won’t tell the textbook company, but, we learned more from this book than we did from the textbook! Plus, it was way more fun!

I was stunned by the wealth of information this book packs in. Gone are the bland, business-as-usual experiments. This brings modern takes on chemistry that entertain while they teach. We will be utilizing this book OFTEN throughout the rest of his academic career. I just wish it had been published sooner. It’s a full 5 star rating from us!

Recommended for ages 9+

*Pic & Synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.
**I received a copy of the aforementioned title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

Posted in Book Reviews

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: JOE DE YONG: A LIFE IN THE WEST: William Reynolds


SYNOPSIS: Joseph Franklin De Yong was a cowboy artist, protégé of Charles Marion Russell (Montana’s cowboy artist), and an historical consultant on western films. Dan Gagliasso wrote, “While director John Ford made extensive use of Frederic Remington’s art in his western films, it was the Russell ‘look,’ kept alive by De Yong’s costume designs, scenic sketch art, and historical advice, that influenced the form and feel of such classic Westerns as The Plainsman (1937), Union Pacific (1939), Buffalo Bill (1944), Red River (1948), and Shane (1953).” The authentic work De Yong did in film continues to influence the way costume and set designs for western movies are conceived, as evidenced in classics like Dances with Wolves and Unforgiven, and the mini-series Lonesome Dove.
Joe De Yong: A Life in the West (Alamar Media/September 2018) by William Reynolds is an in-depth biography that takes readers on an incredible journey exploring western culture of the early 20th Century through the story of one unsung cowboy. Reynolds tells De Yong’s story by including photographs of sketches, paintings and documents culled from private collectors as well as from the permanent collections of major western museums.
De Yong’s life was one of challenges, including overcoming cerebral meningitis in 1913 that left him totally deaf. Never one for self-pity, De Yong went on to become the only protégé of his artistic hero Charles M. Russell. He would take the skills he learned and make a life in the movie business working with Cecil B. DeMille and many others. The early films De Yong worked on created a pathway to authentic depictions that – while it was never loudly recognized – was utilized by many in the industry.

Over ten years of research, Reynolds reveals the life of a relatively unknown artist/illustrator who started out to be “just a cowboy” who turns out was quite a “mover and shaker” touching the lives of so many in the western art world of the 1920s through the late 1960s.
This long-awaited, in-depth, biography a treat for any western art fan or disciple of Charles M. Russell.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
William Reynolds is an award-winning Western journalist and publisher who as worked in the Western industry for over 35 years. He is the author of several books on Western art and culture including The Faraway Horses with Buck Brannaman, The Cowboy Hat Book with master hatter Ritch Rand, and The Art of The Western Saddle. Reynolds is an active member of the Western Writers of America, Los Rancheros Visitadores, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum and former board member of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, and the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum. For more information about him visit his website, http://www.WCReynolds.com.

MY THOUGHTS: This book is absolutely amazing! The level of research and deciation that William Reynolds has given to this work is staggering. From page 1, readers can feel the passion that he had for this project. When an author believes this strong in his work, it’s contagious. You love it because the author loves it.

I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t familiar with Mr. De Yong prior to this work. Now, I can honestly say that I feel as if I really know him. As a homeschooler, I love biographies of often overlooked yet amazing individuals. Biographies such as this one give children a chance to explore the world how it once was and those who made it what it is today. Authors such as Mr. Reynolds give readers an opportunity to explore, grow, and extend their education beyond textbooks.

As opposed to many mainstream biographies, Joe De Yong’s contains a vast amount of images; in fact, over 500! That’s tremendous! If you happen to have a reluctant reader who is also a fan of westerns or cowboys, then you need to pick this book up. In addition to being a biography, readers are also treated to American History, western culture, and, of course, art.

It really is worth a read and it is a profound educational piece. Well-done! I give it 5 stars!

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Homeschooling

Book Spotlight: Minibeasts with Jess French

SYNOPSIS:
With her unparalleled zeal for insects, Jess French dives headfirst into the breathtaking world of invertebrates to explore their unbelievable adaptations and evolution and reveal incredible invertebrates from all over the world, from bird-eating tarantulas and glow-in-the-dark scorpions to meter-long stick insects and bat-eating centipedes.

Learn about the perfect co-evolution of nectar-drinking insects and the flowers they pollinate and discover how minibeasts mate, fight, hide, collaborate, evolve, and survive in the most extreme conditions.

MY THOUGHTS: Let’s be honest. When it comes to bugs, you either love them or you hate them. A lot of that is conditioning from when we’re young. If a bee stings a five-year old, chances are that child we become an adult who detests bees. However, there are so many fascinating things about insects that it’s a shame to go through life hating them for being themselves. That’s why I love this book from Jess French.

She definitely has a way of seeing beauty in each bug, no matter how creepy it is. She’s proof of the childhood love-them-or-hate-them theory. Raised with an invertebrate-breeding father, she became accustomed to the ins and outs of creepy-crawlies. Her passion for them is evident all throughout the book.

Each full-color, intriguing picture shows details in the insects that one would never see normally. Her descriptions, explanation, and even choices with which bugs to showcase are fantastic. This is the type of book that gets kids excited about science. It is a must-have in your home school library. If you have a young reader who is currently petrified of anything that flies, crawls, or buzzes, you need to get a copy of this. It promotes a healthy attitude toward entomology and allows these often misunderstood creatures a chance to ‘wow’ kids.

‘Minibeasts’ is a great read for any age (even adults). I highly recommend it.

Bloomsbury Wildlife | Publication date: May 8th, 2018
$18 | Paperback original | 128 pages | ISBN: 9781472939555
**Pic and Synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.
*I received the aforementioned title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.