Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Mini Reviews

As part of the nonfiction picture book challenge, each week, I try to share as many new books as possible. Though I cannot review each and everyone in great detail, I am hoping that mini-reviews will provide some highlights to help you make decisions as to what to read. 

Here is what jumped out of the pile from this week:

Egg: Nature's Perfect Package by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page (HMH Books for Young Readers, March 3, 2015) - Jenkins and Page have worked together on a number of books. Each one seems to be as good if not better than the previous one. Their new collaborative book looks at the size of eggs, where they are laid, egg eaters, how many are laid at one time, and much, much more. The end contains information about each animal and it's eggs, along with some additional reading sources. Informative, engaging, and one for your classroom or school library.  Discussion guide located on the publisher's website here.

Sweep Up the Sun by Helen Frost; Photographs by Rick Lieder (Candlewick, March 10, 2015) - When I saw this one at ALA Midwinter I was so excited. I loved Step Gently Out by Frost & Lieder. The photographs are beautiful and the verse text is lyrical. This would make a wonderful read aloud or mentor text for writing. 

A Nest is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston; Illustrated by Sylvia Long (Chronicle Books, April  14, 2015) - Maybe because I read this one after reading EGG, but eggs and nests go together, right? Very different style from Jenkins & Page, but Aston & Long have another great book with NEST.  This series is wonderful and I have enjoyed each and every book.  The language is rich and wonderful to explore with children and would be a great mentor text for writing. Though I was sad not to see any of the resources I have come to expect at the end of informational books,  this one is still worth adding to your collection. The Chronicle Books webpage does include a teacher's guide with some extension activities, click here

Toad Weather by Sandra Markle; Illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez (Peachtree Publishers, March 1 , 2015) - I am a fan of Markle's work and I was super excited to read this one. It wasn't exactly what I expected but it was special nonetheless. A young girl goes on an adventure with her mother and grandmother and is treated to a special treat - a migration of baby toads.   Sandra's website included some Toad Weather fun, click here. Peachtree Publisher has a teacher's guide for the book as well, here.

Spectacular Spots by Susan Stockdale (Peachtree Publishers, March  1, 2015) - This book may seem like a simple read aloud for very young children, but if that is all you used it for then you would be missing so many opportunities.  The text makes great use of verbs and may expose some children to new vocabulary.  The resources at the end provide readers with more information about the animals, and teachers can discuss with children how spots can help animals camouflage themselves. Peachtree Publishers includes a teacher's guide for the book on here

My Name is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth by Ann Turner; Illustrated by James Ransome (HarperCollins, January 20, 2015) - I have read a number of picture book biographies on Sojourner Truth. Each one overlaps some details but then provides a new slant on the life of this incredible woman. In this biography, Turner focuses on where Sojourner Truth came from and how that built the foundation for her eventually life's work as a preacher. The author note provides more background information for readers. 

Mahalia Jackson: Walking With Kings and Queens by Nina Nolan; Illustrated by John Holyfield (Amistad, January 27, 2015) - I had limited knowledge of Mahalia Jackson but after reading this picture book biography I had some new insight and an interest in learning more about the Queen of Gospel. A chronological timeline and some additional resources are included at the end of the book. 

Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews: