Monday, October 29, 2012

Shelf Life [kids]

Mystery Math: A First Book of Algebra By David A Adler, 30 pages
@ SPL: J 512 Adl
There’s a creepy haunted house with a math mystery behind every door. How many bats are in the haunted house? How many skeletons? How many cats? When Mandy and Billy discover the haunted house, they are quickly able to answer these questions by learning and applying some simple, well-explained algebra rules, with some helpful tips from “Igor,” the caretaker.
Soon they know how many bats, cats, and skeletons are in every room, and how many ravens are sitting on the hydro wires outside the house. By following the same basic algebra rules using simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, readers can also discover the answers to the math mysteries in the haunted house.
They’ll discover how useful – and easy – algebra can be, and that solving math mysteries really isn’t scary at all … it’s fun! Colourful illustrations by artist Edward Miller and large-print text are used to explain algebra principles in a light-hearted way in this Halloween-themed picture book, making it an inviting book for elementary students who may be intimidated by math.
The attractive collage-style illustrations feature friendly-looking cats and jack-o-lanterns and skeletons with silly expressions. A hands-on project (making a balance scale) is included at the back of the book to reinforce the algebra principles for readers in a fun, practical way.
David A. Adler is the author of many children’s books, both non-fiction and fiction, including other math concept books such as “Working with Fractions,” “Fractions, Decimals and Percents” and “Time Zones”
** Recommended for ages six to 10 … at Halloween or any time of year!
Nightsong, By Ari Berk, 48 pages
@ SPL: JP Berk
Chiro, a young bat, was about to make his first flight to hunt for food without his mother. He was both fearful and worried. The world seemed so very big and so dark at night, and Chiro’s sight, like that of many bats, was poor. How would he find his way without Mother Bat? Mother Bat offered this advice.
“There are other ways to see, other ways to help you make your way in the world. Use your good sense….Use your song.”
Chiro remembered her advice when he flew out from the bat cave into the scary night world. He sang a song, quietly at first, and then louder.
“His song flew ahead of him, and soon he could hear something singing back.”
In this way, listening to the echoes of his song, Chiro could “see” his way. He could see the trees, birds and insects of the forest. The nocturnal world was no longer scary for Chiro, but exciting, and he explored everywhere, eating as many tasty bugs as he could before he returned to Mother Bat.
Ari Berk, an English professor at the University of Michigan, has created a lyrical, almost-poetic story that would be perfect to share with a young child who is about to try something new for the first time. The story is beautifully illustrated by award-winning artist Loren Long. Note: the library has many children’s books about bats which explain how these nocturnal creatures use “echolocation” to navigate and detect food in complete darkness.
** Recommended for ages four to seven.
These reviews appeared in The Stratford Gazette on October 25, 2012. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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