Archive for June 5, 2013

Barnaby the Bedbug Detective

Written by Catherine Stier

Illustrated by Karen Sapp

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Did you know “an adult bedbug lives about twelve to eighteen months”? Or that “adult bedbugs can go months, and in rare cases, more than a year, without eating”? You know a book is going to be a great read when even the inside of the cover pulls you in with such fascinating facts! Barnaby the Bedbug Detective highlights the life of a working dog unlike most we are familiar. Seeing-eye dogs, therapy dogs, and the canine unit for police stations are familiar to almost everyone, but dogs’ trained as bedbug detectives shows just how industrious and useful these furry creatures can be!

Students read about a pound dog, Barnaby, who is passed up as a family dog but is later hand-picked as a perfect candidate for canine training in bedbug detection. Author Catherine Stier weaves a fiction tale based on facts, which triggers readers’ curiosity about different aspects of Barnaby’s job and perhaps other unlikely jobs that dogs can perform. Karen Sapp’s illustrations are bright and cheerful, yet informative; one particular illustration shows the lifecycle of the bedbug. This book would be a perfect fit in a unit about pets, careers, health or as an addition to a unit on research. After reading Barnaby the Bedbug Detective, students may be encouraged to ask questions and find the answers through research in the media center. To promote comprehension, students may be assigned to research a canine job and present their findings in a multimedia presentation. If students are interested in learning more about bedbugs in particular, there are several resources listed at the end of Barnaby.  This book is well-suited for reading aloud in any second or third grade class; most students will relish in learning more about the gross facts and fascinating job of Barnaby.

  • BarnabyTitle: Barnaby the Bedbug Detective
  • Author: Catherine Stier
  • Illustrator: Karen Sapp
  • Publisher: Albert Whitman and Company
  • Reviewer: Sharon Schulte
  • Hardback, 32 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-8075-0904-3
  • Genre: fiction/dogs/working-dogs


Shark Baby

Written by Ann Downer

Illustrated by Shennen Bersani

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Shark Baby is a picture book that bursts at the seams with facts and fun information for any grade level that enjoys picture books. Independent readers at a third grade level can easily master the language in the picture book text, although some may need assistance with pronunciation or comprehension.

The illustrations are fabulous and keep the reader turning the page. The illustrations also keep those being read to interested because they depict action with each page. Third grade level readers will enjoy the mystery of discovering what type of shark the new baby shark is. Students will be amazed at all the interesting facts they will learn about the sea, creatures who live in the ocean, and the habitats that are depicted as Shark Baby travels to find out what kind of shark he is.

This picture book is a treasure for the classroom teacher because along with a good story based on science facts, this book includes 4 pages of activities and additional lesson material to support information about sharks. Additionally, Sylvan Dell Publishing offers more teacher assistance on their web page at  making this a must to any third grade level classroom.

  • Shark BabyTitle: Shark Baby
  • Author: Ann Downer
  • Illustrations: Shennen Bersani
  • Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing
  • Reviewer: Terri Forehand
  • ISBN: 978-1-60718-6342
  • Genre: Juvenile/ Nonfiction


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