Sunday, October 19, 2008

Encyclopedia of Life

The World Wide Web continues to provide unprecedented opportunities for the collection, organization and dissemination of information. Five organizations are coordinating the Encyclopedia of Life "to organize and make available via the Internet virtually all information about life present on Earth." The Encyclopedia is a series of websites devoted to the 1.8 million or so species of life on earth. Everyone is invited to participate as a curator, a contributor, and/or a donor. The site Encyclopedia of Life went live in February 2008.

The five organizations coordinating the Encyclopedia are the Biodiversity Heritage Library, The Field Museum, Harvard University, the Marine Biological Laboratory, and the Smithsonian Institution.

This new wiki is the brainchild of Biologist E. O. Wilson, who announced his dream at a March 2007 Technology Entertainment Design (TED) speaking engagement. The MacArthur Foundation and the Sloan Foundation committed to an initial $50 million funding grant.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

1, 2, Buckle My Shoe

This lovely counting book, set to the nursery rhyme One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, features colorful quilt squares for each number one to ten, sewn with the corresponding number of buttons, alternating with quilted illustrations of the verse. Readers will enjoy counting the buttons and exploring the assortment of patterns and colors in the quilt squares. Ms. Hines uses illustrative foreshadowing -- for example, a hen peeking from the corner of the two-page spread for "Open the gate" followed by a full-picture of the hen for "My big fat hen!" -- which adds to the enjoyment of reading the book over again. The end pages are a photograph of bright buttons. Ms. Hines’ attention to detail makes this a quality picture book.

1, 2, Buckle My Shoe
by Anna Grossnickle Hines
Harcourt, 2008
9780152063054, $16.00

Ms. Hines discusses her quilting and the making of her book online -- click here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Diamond Willow

Diamond Willow is a unique book, putting together the coming-of-age struggles of a twelve-year-old girl, the history and heritage of the Athabascan Indians, the culture of Alaska, and the creative writing of author Helen Frost. The story is told in diamond shaped poems, mirroring the markings on polished Diamond Willow sticks. The writing is picturesque and beautiful. For example, “Silence stalks around us like a cat. Even Zanna doesn’t chatter it into pieces.” I read this book through in one sitting.

Diamond Willow by Helen Frost
2008; $16.00
Ages 10 to 14

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Choo Choo

This delightful board book features die-cuts helping to illustrate the landscape through which the little train and its happy passengers travel.

Choo Choo by Petr Horacek
Candlewick, 2008
ISBN 9780763634773

Friday, October 3, 2008

Gulliver Snip and His Clipper Ship

Each night Gulliver becomes Captain Snip and guides his ship on exciting adventures -- all from his bath. That's because, "Gulliver Snip had a clipper ship that his mother called the bathtub." Each two-page spread features rhyming text and an illustration of Gulliver in the bathtub adjacent to a full-page illustration of Captain Gulliver in his imagination.

Gulliver Snip by Julia Kay (A Picture Book)

Henry Holt and Company, 2008

ISBN 9780805079920


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bad Kitty Gets a Bath

Laugh out loud funny! Nick Bruel knows cats (and dogs), and his portrayal of them is very funny in Bad Kitty Gets a Bath. Kids will enjoy the various writing styles used (comic book, newspaper, novel, textbook), the illustrations, and the glossary (which includes some advanced words). I think this book might even be enjoyed by a reluctant reader.

Bad Kitty Gets a Bath by Nick Bruel
Roaring Brook Press
August 2008
Library/Reinforced; 9781596433410; 13.95