Thursday, December 15, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [kids]

The Mitten, retold by Jim Aylesworth, 30 pages.
One cold winter day, a little boy put on his warm hat, scarf, coat and mittens and went outside. He played happily in the snow for a long time, but when he went back into his house, he discovered that one of his mittens had been lost.
That night, a squirrel found the red woolen mitten. He crawled inside it to escape the cold and was soon toasty warm. Soon, a rabbit came along. He too crawled into the mitten to warm up. Then a fox, and then a huge black bear, crawled into the mitten, which of course, had to stretch as widely as possible to hold the four animals - who just barely fit inside.
Then a teeny tiny mouse squeezed himself into the only teeny tiny spot left in the red mitten.
For a minute – just one minute – all was well.
Then the animals each had to take a big, deep breath of air … and so they did … and the mitten stretched a little more …and a little more … until it couldn’t stretch any more, even a teeny little bit ….
Young readers can probably guess at the very sudden ending of this story, which is a fresh new adaptation of a traditional tale from the Ukraine.
However, the little boy never did learn the true story of what happened to his red mitten. Only the animals knew for sure!
Barbara McClintock’s warm, expressive illustrations are perfect for this very entertaining picture book.
** Recommended for ages 3 to 6 years.

The Story of Snow, by Mark Cassino and Jon Nelson, 28 pages.
The wonders and marvels of snow are explored for children in beautiful, detailed colour photographs and easy-to-read text in The Story of Snow. Young readers can find the answers to most snow-related questions that they may have, such as “How are snowflakes and snow crystals formed?”  “What are they made of?”  “What shapes do snow crystals take?” and “Why do snowflakes usually have six sides?”
The scientific explanations to these questions are made easy enough for children to understand the amazing diversity and beauty of snowflakes.
Readers may not have realized before that “a snow crystal is a letter from the sky.” How? The author explains that as snow falls from a cloud, the shape of each snow crystal can tell us how wet and cold the cloud is.
Of course, one of the most-often asked questions about snow is, “Is every snowflake actually unique?” The Story of Snow answers this question quite satisfactorily for children. (The answer is that because each tiny snowflake is composed of so many molecules, it’s very, very unlikely that two of them would be formed identically.)
The Story of Snow would be a fine choice of book to share with a child at this time of year.
Jon Nelson is a teacher/physicist who has studied ice crystals and clouds for many years. He now lives in Japan. Mark Cassino is a fine art and natural history photographer residing in Michigan.
** Recommended for ages 4 to 8 years. 

These reviews appeared in The Stratford Gazette on December 15th. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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