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Patrick and the President

Written by Ryan Tubridy
Illustrated by P.J. Lynch

Sometimes, the most memorable moment of your life comes early in your life.

In 1963, President John Kennedy visited his ancestral homeland, Ireland. This is the story of Patrick, one of the children who lived in the village where the president’s family originated.

The president was very famous and very popular in Ireland, so all the residents were excited and happy. Patrick participated in the children’s choir that greeted the president at the airport with “The Boys of Wexford” and two other tunes. “We are the boys of Wexford, who fought with heart and hand, …” Later in the day, Patrick helped serve the president his lunch at Mary Ryan’s home. It was in serving the cake that Patrick had a real opportunity to speak to the president. It was a day no one would soon forget. The author does a wonderful job of bringing out all the emotion of the day and describing every aspect of the entourage.

The realistic illustrations are almost like faded photographs, making the historic event come alive.

Kids will learn about the president, about Ireland, and about what it might be like to meet an idol. The historical note at the end provides more information on the event.

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  • Patrick and the PresidentTitle: Patrick and the President         
  • Author: Ryan Tubridy
  • Illustrator: P.J. Lynch
  • Published: Candlewick Press, 2017
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 40 pages
  • Grade Level: 1 to 4
  • Genre: Historic fiction, Heritage
  • ISBN: 978-0-7636-8949-0

The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked & Found

Written by Martin W. Sandler

Pirates, plunder, shipwrecks and discovered riches all arrive in one accessible and engaging story. First, Sandler lets the reader know what it was really like to be a pirate. Keeping an oath and getting marooned on an island were realities one lived with every day. As well as with the dangers of living on the open sea.

Extensive primary research went into the writing of this book that also looks at the economic tragedies brought about by piracy at the time and the extreme danger faced by any ship at sea with a cargo. Pirates were always hunting new prey.

But sometimes they got caught, by storms at sea and/or authorities on the land. Students can read about the real trial of these pirates, as well as their execution.

Also included are informative inserts of two or three- page length. One such insert relays the beginnings of the rescue missions of the United States Coast Guard.

Teachers and librarians can use this as an example of primary research as well as geography as it all takes place along the coast of Cape Code. Fourth grade readers as well as fifth grade readers will be excited to read about the discovery of the sunken treasures of the, Whydah, so many decades after it sunk. It may also intrigue them to imagine how many thousands of dollars of gold doubloons still sit on the bottom of the sea waiting to be found.

Several authentic photos of the recovery efforts are included and add a sense of reality to the notion of piracy so often relegated only to fictional stories.

Highly recommended for elementary, middle school, and public libraries.

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  • The WhydahTitle:  The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked & Found
  • Author:  Martin W. Sandler
  • Publisher:  Candlewick Press, 2017
  • Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
  • Format:  Hardcover, 176 pages
  • ISBN:  978-0-7636-8033-6
  • Genre: Nonfiction
  • Grade level: 4 to 8
  • Extras: Photography Credits, Source Material, Bibliography, Index

The Harlem Charade

Written by Natasha Tarpley

Harlem is a community of many neighborhoods flavored by deeply ingrained history and worldwide cultures. But this story is as universal as hope, friendship and loyalty. Three kids get involved in solving the mysteries of an attacked grandfather and some missing paintings.

Good guys and bad guys are sometimes hard to distinguish, but friendship and the patient unraveling of clues are reminiscent of Balliet’s, ChasingVermeer. Amid school projects, secrets kept from parents and everyday chores at the bodega, Jin and Alex, two most unlikely friends, protect homeless Elvin from the streets as well as the authorities. Urban development versus protecting the community is a major theme. Teachers, librarians and parents may want to discuss issues of social justice, while readers will be in a hurry to find those missing paintings from those long talked about sixties.

Monetary worth is paled in comparison to the history protected in the paintings as Jin and Alex realize sometimes it takes an object to prove history did happen the way the story says it did. Tarpley’s book is very well done and recommended for all collections. It would be a valuable book club addition as it is a truly cross curricular look at Harlem during the explosive sixties through the eyes of artists who lived it. Many discussion groups would become engrossed in the story and it would fulfill many learning objectives.

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  • Harlem Charade.jpgTitle:  The Harlem Charade
  • Author:  Natasha Tarpley
  • Publisher:  Scholastic Press, 2017
  • Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
  • Format:  Hardcover, 320 pages
  • ISBN:  978-0-545-78387-3
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Grade Level: 3 to 7
  • Extras: Notes on actual locations mentioned in the book.

Harry Miller’s Run

Written by David Almond
Illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino

What was it like to be in the first Great North Run? Liam, eleven years old, doesn’t know, but he’s excited to train for his first participation in the Run. The older kids run all the way from Newcastle to South Shields, thirteen miles. Liam is in the Junior division, running a shorter route. On the way to training, Liam and his Mam stop to care for Harry, an older gentleman. Liam is reluctant to take the time, but ends up glad they did. Harry tells him all about the first time he and his buddies ran to the sea. Harry and three friends set out on a lark and ran and ran. They stopped many times to get drinks. Once, they stopped to enlist the help of a girl who knew the way. “There’s a wolf on your tail! Run for your lovely life!” people would tell them. They knew they were done when they talked to the ice cream man on the Ocean Road. And Harry kept contact with the girl. Shortly after Liam’s visit, Harry died.

Rubbino’s illustrations are perfect for the flavor of the times and the culture of Harry and Liam. The illustrations for present day are black and white, while the time of Harry’s first run are color, as Harry’s memories are so vivid.

Though the story is about a specific event, it points out the importance of oral history and learning about traditions from our elders. Liam found that Harry had a lot to teach him. The dialectic dialogue is occasionally difficult to decipher, so younger or reluctant readers may need a little help with comprehension. But this story is well worth the effort.

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  • Harry Millers RunTitle: Harry Miller’s Run        
  • Author: David Almond
  • Illustrator: Salvatore Rubbino
  • Published: Candlewick Press, 2016
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 64 pages
  • Grade Level: 2 to 4
  • Genre: Early Reader, Oral history, Tradition
  • ISBN: 978-0-7636-8975-9

Muffy’s Florida Adventure

Written and Illustrated by Devra Robitaille

Muffy returns with a trip to Florida. How does a family with six dogs take a vacation? In an RV dubbed the Great Escape. With a touch of magic so the reader can hear what all the animals are thinking, Robitaille creates a cute and cuddly tale that any kid will love.

On the first day of the journey, Muffy gets loose and nearly gets left at a rest stop. The gang stops at Myrtle Beach. Several of the dogs had never seen the ocean and frankly didn’t believe such a thing existed. Arrival at Sarasota Bay reveals a wonderful place to rest and play with cousins. The resident dog there is a huge help on the flat bottom tour boat his owner runs. During a day out on the boat, the dogs encounter manatees and spoonbills – another thing the dogs didn’t really believe in. When they meet a family of dolphins, they wind up helping save the youngster who gets cocky and is separated from his mother.

Younger children would enjoy having the story read aloud. Third graders and up can enjoy it independently. It’s great for learning about some creatures and the environment plus the importance of helping others.
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Muffys Florida Adventure

  • Title: Muffy’s Florida Adventure        
  • Author/Illustrator: Devra Robitaille
  • Published: The Hologram Library, 2016
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: E-book, 67 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 3
  • Genre: Chapter book, Animals, Family, Travel
  • ASIN: B01LYWDYMR

Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of the Missing Goop

Written by N. Griffin
Illustrated by Kate Hindley

This entertaining mystery teaches a little about math, music, code breaking, and music. Kids will love solving the mystery along with the characters.

Smashie and Dontel’s third grade class return to prepare for a musicale with the other third grade class. To spice up the show, they decide to sculpt everyone’s hair using a magical gel invented by Charlene’s mother. The hair goop (aka Herr Goop) allows Charlene and her mother to sculpt hair into any shape. Every time a new jar of Herr Goop shows up, it immediately disappears. Since the ingredients are expensive and the musicale is coming up soon, it’s important that the jars are found. Smashie and Dontel keep a notebook of clues, motives, and suspects to try to figure everything out. They notice a code written on the jars. After decoding, they follow the clues all the way to the musicale itself.

The characters are lovable, the musical and dance numbers are engaging, and the intrigue is intense. Reading activities could include everything from 60s music to code breaking to baking brownies.
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smashie2

  • Title: Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of the Missing Goop       
  • Author: N. Griffin
  • Illustrator: Kate Hindley
  • Published: Candlewick Press, 2016
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
  • Grade Level: 2 to 5
  • Genre: Chapter book, Codes
  • ISBN: 978-0-7636-8535-5

Mr. Ferris and His Wheel

Written by Kathryn Gibbs Davis
Illustrated by Gilbert Ford
America was preparing for the Chicago World’s Fair for 1893, and anxious to surpass France’s Eiffel Tower. But what could possibly do that? A contest was announced and engineers began sketching all manner of tower’s and novelties.
George Ferris won the contest with his idea of a giant wheel that people would ride in closed rooms furnished with velvet chairs. While the contest sponsors liked his magnificent idea, they never thought it would work. In fact, they refused to help finance the project. They seemed to sit on the sidelines watching for it to fail. However, at the conclusion of the fair, they were so amazed by its overwhelming success, they decided to name the magnificence wheel after its creator.

Kathryn Gibbs Davis has written a fascinating account of this episode in American history, including quotes and facts. The illustrations by Gilbert Ford are realistic and magical at the same time capturing the environment that was the 1893 World’s Fair. The illustration of the fair at night is especially meaningful when readers learn that this introduction of electric lights at night gave L. Frank Baum his idea for the Emerald City in his Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Grade three readers, as well as those younger and older, will be interested in the first Ferris Wheel and amazed by its size.

Core curriculum standards of American history, science, geography, and literacy skills will be met by use of this book. It is an excellent example of combining a narrative with factual paragraphs. This book is an excellent addition to every nonfiction library.

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  • Mr. FerrisTitle: Mr. Ferris and His Wheel
  • Author: Kathryn Gibbs Davis
  • Illustrator: Gilbert Ford
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014
  • Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
  • Format: Hardcover, 40 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-547-95922-1
  • Genre: Nonfiction
  • Grade level: K-3
  • Extras: Endpapers include a Selected Bibliography, Quote Sources and related websites.

July Titles

Pdf: July Titles 3rd Grade

 

Animal Tales by Terry Jones, ISBN 9781843651635

Animal Tales is a lovely collection of short stories, perfect for reading aloud to the third grade crowd.  …

 

Celebrating California: 50 States to Celebrate by Marion Dane Bauer, ISBN 978-0-547-89697-7

A new approach to state books in an easy-to-read format.  Mr. Geo is a hip geography teacher who explores new places and takes his young readers along. …

 

Children of the Tipi: Life in the Buffalo Days by Michael Oren Fitzgerald, ISBN 978-1-937786-09-0

A book of photos and quotes, the superb layout allows you to sneak into the camp with the Native American’s shown. …

 

Dozens of Cousins by Shutta Crum, ISBN 978-0-618-15874-4

… Most of us have experienced a family reunion where the adults enjoy each other’s company while the children are allowed a bit of freedom to run and roam and have “beastie delights”.  At least until the neighbors complain. …

 

Emma Dilemma, the Nanny, and the Wedding by Patricia Hermes, ISBN 978-0761462101

…What a shock when they found out, at almost the same time, that not only was Mom having another baby, but Annie was getting married.…

 

Let’s Visit Istanbul: The Adventures of Bella & Harry by Lisa Manzione, ISBN 978-1-937616-09-0

The Adventures of Bella and Harry series is … told through the eyes of two Chihuahua siblings, children of all ages will eagerly gobble up a big dose of geography without even realizing it’s good for them.…

 

Mister and Lady Day, Billie Holiday and the Dog Who Loved HererHer by Amy Novesky, ISBN 978-0-15-205806-7

… Mister and Lady Day has done an excellent job of grabbing the attention of young animal lovers and teaching them a little bit about the history of jazz.…

 

Nikki and Deja: Substitute TroubleerHer by Karen English, ISBN 978-0-547-61565-3

We are told … Nikki and Deja … are the best of friends. As in all satisfying series we see their friendship ripening as they grow in understanding. …

 

The Sleepwalkers by Viviane Schwarz, ISBN 978-0-7636-6230-1

A unique graphic novel for the younger set.  If you are plagued by nightmares, write a letter, put it under your pillow and help will come. …

 

A Squirrel’s Story: A True Tale by Jana Bommersbach, ISBN 978-1-58985-252-5

[This] is one of the best books for use in the 3rd or 4th grade classroom because of both the fun story line and the facts about squirrels the reader will absorb. …

 

Strange Foods by Michael J. Rosen & Ben Kassoy, ISBN 978-0-7613-8984-2

…  Do not read this review before breakfast!  Or any other meal for that matter! …