Books by Connie Roop

Released: June 14, 2016

"Flashy but ultimately poorly conceived. (Informational board book. 3-5)"
An inventively designed board book introduces the solar system to the youngest learners. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2014

"Just the ticket to spark or nurture early interest in the wonders of the natural world. (Informational early reader. 5-7)"
"Extreme" gets a broad definition (ticks?), but the first-rate photographs and easy-to-read commentary in this survey of animals adapted to harsh habitats will win over budding naturalists. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

Before pioneers cut roads through wildernesses, rivers carried people across the continent. The Roops become river guides here, taking readers on the Hudson, the Ohio, the Mississippi, the Missouri, the Rio Grande, the Colorado and the Columbia rivers. Each river gets its own photo-essay, complete with maps, prints, photographs and paintings. Much of the colorful history of the nation is linked to rivers: Indians and explorers; Rip Van Winkle, Mike Fink and Johnny Appleseed; the Revolutionary War and the Civil War; the Erie Canal and the Hoover Dam. Dip in anywhere in the volume and follow a water route through American history, learning much about culture, geography and the growth of the nation along the way. The attractive format is supplemented by a thorough bibliography and a list of websites. Excellent for research or for browsing. (afterword) (Nonfiction. 9-12)Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2002

At age ten, David Glasgow Farragut became the youngest midshipman ever assigned to a warship in the United States Navy. In a series of fictionalized letters written to his father, Farragut relays the capture of his ship and three-week imprisonment pending parole. Beginning March 29, 1814, aboard a prison ship in Valparaiso, Chile, and ending April 20, 1814, on the 23rd day of captivity, the letters flash back to the time when Farragut's father sent him to serve Captain Porter following his mother's death. Porter is posted to the ship, Essex, which sets sail in the war against England. As one of the ship's 11 midshipmen, Farragut faced many obstacles because of his age and particularly because of his small size. The voice in the letters rings with determination and strength, shaping the character of the young man whose name would stand in history. The eight black-and-white scratchboard illustrations in McCurdy's signature technique are equally commanding, building the strength of the narrative with hewn details of ship life and creating still life images of the drama of the action. A glossary defines nautical terms and the authors' note cites the sources for their research that includes Farragut's own accounts of his life. An unusual presentation that could spark interest in this exceptional young man. (Historical fiction. 8-11)Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2000

A child's experience on a whaling ship in 1851 is brought to life in this fictional account based on two real whaling families' journals and diaries. Nine-year-old Laura and her younger brother William sail with their mother and sea-captain father on an expedition to the Arctic whaling grounds. They won't return for seven months or until the ship is filled with 2,600 barrels of whale oil. Laura writes in her diary each day, sharing with readers the routines of eating, sleeping, and learning, as well as the adventures and the hardships of living on a small whaling ship. Excitement mounts as the ship enters arctic waters. Whales are hunted and processed. When unseasonably cold weather sets, the boat is caught in the ice and the captain is forced to abandon ship before reaching his goal. Laura and family travel in a longboat until they are rescued at sea, and there, Laura ends her diary. Allen's (Good-Bye, Charles Lindbergh, 1998, etc.) sepia ink sketches set alongside the text illustrate many objects that may be unfamiliar to the modern reader. These include a chamber pot, sailor's knots, and a harpoon. Two-page color pencil-and-oil wash illustrations interspersed with the text give the larger context of the whaling scene. These luminous images sharpen the reader's understanding of a bygone life. Additional information and historical background are included in an authors' note, and a glossary is placed at the front of the book for easy reference. A good read with an interesting historical background. (Fiction. 8-10)Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 6, 1995

The Roops (I, Columbus, 1990, etc.), skillfully adapting primary sources, fill a gap left when E. Brook Smith and Robert Meredith's Pilgrim Courage (1962) went out of print. They have selected passages from William Bradford's Of Plymouth Plantation and Mourt's Relation to tell the Pilgrims' story from their departure from Holland in August 1620 until the arrival of the Fortune in November 1621. In between are the familiar tales of hardship, encounters with native populations, and the feast of thanksgiving. Spelling and punctuation are modern, and some of the language has been altered for clarity, but the unmistakable cadences of King James's English roll from the pages, their dignity and power intact. A cavil: In Bradford's famous ``so the light kindled here'' passage, shone is less-sensibly rendered as shown. Still, invaluable for those eager for textual authenticity and ready to go beyond Marcia Sewall's The Pilgrims of Plimoth (1986) and Joan Anderson's The First Thanksgiving Feast (1984). (Nonfiction. 10+) Read full book review >
OFF THE MAP by William Clark
Released: May 1, 1993

Excerpts from the Lewis and Clark journals—framed between a brief ``Prologue'' (on the purpose of the expedition), plus Jefferson's letter outlining guidelines for exploring the Territory, and an equally brief ``Epilogue'' (on the trip back and the ultimate fates of major participants)—that sufficiently suggest the hardships and heroism of the journey. But though this is authentic source material, it's merely a taste—the full journals run to eight volumes. Meanwhile, many episodes here are so truncated as to be enigmatic, while others tantalize by not reporting outcomes of events described. The Roops don't even, usually, indicate which explorer authored the brief entries. Tanner's realistic oils, on canvas mimicking a parchment ground, are attractive, but his endpaper map also needs more details. Since there are some telling incidents here, this will have some use as a supplement to secondary sources; but a more extensive sampling, with fuller explanation, would have been a good deal more valuable. (Nonfiction. 8-12) Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

Set in the Pacific Northwest, 14 double-spread vignettes of woodland, meadow, and sea. A single sentence on each spread interprets the action, including a collective noun (``A mother fox, sensing danger, signals to her litter of pups...''); successive spreads are loosely related by the area and animals involved, coming full circle with owls at the beginning and again at the end, as night returns. Of greatest interest is the art: Kells, who brings expertise in natural history to her first children's book, depicts the animals with exquisite precision. Appreciative but unsentimental, a realistic glimpse of nature at work. (Nonfiction. 4-8) Read full book review >
Released: May 15, 1992

Ahyoka—daughter of Sequoyah, inventor of the Cherokee alphabet—is credited with ``enter[ing] into the genius of his labors.'' Adapting and filling out the historical record, the Roops depict their determination to find a way for Cherokees to read and write like whites, despite the antagonism of their family and tribe. In initial attempts, the two try drawing a picture to represent each word; then Ahyoka discovers the concept of symbols for sounds, and the result is a workable syllable alphabet. Oddly enough, the epilogue here is more interesting than the slender story, which lacks any real sense of time and place; it provides information on the period and mentions the novelty of an alphabet being created rather than evolving. It also implies historical fudging: History has Ahyoka helping to construct the syllabary, not producing the pivotal brainstorm. Not the best place to look for information on the Cherokees. Appealing b&w watercolors; bibliography. (Fiction. 6+) Read full book review >