A wonderful resource for households, schools, Scouting groups and other organizations catering to kids.

READ REVIEW

THE ART OF STONE-SKIPPING AND OTHER FUN OLD-TIME GAMES

Ferrer transports readers to a time gone by, when stoopball and jacks, string games and stickball, hopscotch and marbles were the staples of childhood.

As Ferrer notes in his introduction, games have been a part of childhood since the beginning of time, helping children “learn new skills, discover unknown strengths, and build peer relations—which translates directly into solving problems, creating solutions, and becoming a good team player.” Divided into seven sections, the text covers all sorts of games in all sorts of venues: ball, brain, solitary, car, card, group and partner. The format puts the name of the game (and its aliases), number of players, object and materials needed right at readers’ fingertips, summarizing the basic rules in an easy-to-follow paragraph and listing any additional rules, hints or tips in separate, bulleted sections. Most include variations to either modify the challenge or offer variety. “Fun Facts” sections are set off in black and scattered throughout, providing background on many old favorites (Bingo was invented in 1500s Italy), as well as some fascinating factoids (the stone-skipping world record is 51 skips!). Grayscale drawings break up the text and help illuminate some of the more difficult activities (string games, yo-yo tricks), though they also introduce a measure of modernity to what is largely a retro-themed book.

A wonderful resource for households, schools, Scouting groups and other organizations catering to kids. (index) (Nonfiction. 5 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-936140-74-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Imagine Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist.

HOW TO WRITE A STORY

This follow-up to How To Read a Story (2005) shows a child going through the steps of creating a story, from choosing an idea through sharing with friends.

A young black child lies in a grassy field writing in a journal, working on “Step 1 / Search for an Idea— / a shiny one.” During a walk to the library, various ideas float in colorful thought bubbles, with exclamation points: “playing soccer! / dogs!” Inside the library, less-distinct ideas, expressed as shapes and pictures, with question marks, float about as the writer collects ideas to choose from. The young writer must then choose a setting, a main character, and a problem for that protagonist. Plotting, writing with detail, and revising are described in child-friendly terms and shown visually, in the form of lists and notes on faux pieces of paper. Finally, the writer sits in the same field, in a new season, sharing the story with friends. The illustrations feature the child’s writing and drawing as well as images of imagined events from the book in progress bursting off the page. The child’s main character is an adventurous mermaid who looks just like the child, complete with afro-puff pigtails, representing an affirming message about writing oneself into the world. The child’s family, depicted as black, moves in the background of the setting, which is also populated by a multiracial cast.

A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5666-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers.

DON'T READ THIS BOOK BEFORE BED

THRILLS, CHILLS, AND HAUNTINGLY TRUE STORIES

A compendium of paranormal doings, natural horrors, and eerie wonders worldwide and (in several senses) beyond.

Maladroit title aside (“…in Bed” would make more sense, cautionwise), this collection of hauntings, cryptids, natural and historical mysteries, and general titillation (“Vampire bats might be coming for you!”) offers a broad array of reasons to stay wide awake. Arranged in no discernible order the 60-plus entries include ghostly sightings in the White House and various castles, body-burrowing guinea worms, the Nazca lines of Peru, Mothman and Nessie, the hastily abandoned city of Pripyat (which, thanks to the Chernobyl disaster, may be habitable again…in 24,000 years), monarch-butterfly migrations, and diverse rains of fish, frogs, fireballs, and unidentified slime. Each is presented in a busy whirl of narrative blocks, photos, graphics, side comments, and arbitrary “Fright-O-Meter” ratings (Paris’ “Creepy Catacombs” earn just a “4” out of 10 and black holes a “3,” but the aforementioned aerial amphibians a full “10”). The headers tend toward the lurid: “Jelly From Space,” “Zombie Ants,” “Mongolian Death Worm.” Claybourne sprinkles multiple-choice pop quizzes throughout for changes of pace.

A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2841-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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