Childish Nonsense

Exploring Children's Literature

Some New Children’s Books

on December 5, 2012

I keep getting more and more books to review, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It tells me what’s out there and what publishers are interested in. Here are a few that I’ve gotten independently of any clearinghouse.

One thing: I don’t often give 5 out of 5 stars. I reserve that for To Kill a Mockingbird and Shakespeare. Four stars means I really like it. Three means it is more than worth reading.

Muddled-up Farm

By Mike Dumbleton

Illustrated by Jobi MurphyFour stars

Muddled Up FarmWhat does the cat say? Well, on this farm, it says “moo.” When the farm inspector tries to straighten out the animals, he falls victim to the craziness himself. This hilarious and very readable book was first published in Australia and is due to premiere in the states. Open it if you dare. You may walk away with a moo or woof of your own. Murphy’s cartoon-like art helps make this a fun romp through the farm. This is a great read aloud book, with all the sounds coming out and discussion about what these animals usually say.

Reviewed by Sue Poduska

Star Bright Books, March 2013 release

Picture Book, Humor, Animals.

E-book, 18 pages

ISBN: 978-1-59572-631-5

Calvert the Raven in the Battle of Baltimore

Written and Illustrated by J. Scott FuquaThree stars

  Calvert the Raven                      History is boring. Or at least that’s what Daniel believes, and he expresses that opinion in a school-assigned paper. Needless to say, his teacher is not pleased and Daniel suspects his parents will not be, either. Daniel meets a magical raven named Calvert, who shrinks the boy and takes him back in time to the Battle of Baltimore. With a literal bird’s eye view, Daniel learns that the battle was anything but boring. The survival of the United States hangs in the balance. Francis Scott Key’s joy at seeing the flag felt real. Readers will enjoy the ideas of time travel and of flying with a bird. And they might accidentally learn something. Fuqua’s realistic artwork, as well as the cover art by Susan Mangan, make this volume especially attractive. Recommended for classrooms.

Reviewed by Sue Poduska

Historyworks, Inc./Bancroft Press, February 2013 release

Creative Nonfiction, History.

E-book, 39 pages

ISBN: 978-1-61088-080-0

Goodnight Baseball

By Michael Dahl

Illustrated by Christina ForshayFour stars

Goodnight Baseball                        What is it like to go to a major league baseball game? In answer, the reader is taken along on a trip to a generic ballpark. Through the gates, into the seats, and through the good eats, the reader experiences it all. The little hero even catches a ball. After a long, exciting day, he says good night to everyone and everything. Though drawn with cartoon-like figures, the illustrations are accurate and add to the feel of being at the ballpark. The moon as a baseball is an added touch of whimsy. Recommended for baseball fans of all ages.

Reviewed by Sue Poduska

Capstone Young Readers, March 2013 release

Picture Book, Sports.

E-book, 40 pages

ISBN: 978-1-62370-000-3

World War II Pilots: An Interactive History Adventure

By Michael BurganFour stars

World War II Pilots                        What was it like to fly during the early days of air combat? This is a “You Choose” the path adventure, allowing the reader to explore this question. The author gives a very realistic view of the pilots, right down to the loss of many brave men during the fights. The reader can pretend to be British or American, including a Tuskegee Airman. You go through the training. Messerschmidts or Zeroes hound your Spitfire or B-29. Or you sit out the war with the other black pilots. The twenty different endings make sure this is a book many will be read again and again. The page design and photographs and maps chosen add to the feel of being there. The very extensive tools make further learning easy and inviting. This includes a table of contents, introduction, timeline, “other paths to explore,” books, internet site, glossary, bibliography, and index.

Reviewed by Sue Poduska

Capstone Press, February 2013 release

Chapter Book, History.

E-book, 114 pages

ISBN: 978-1-4765-1813-8

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