Sunday, August 26, 2012

Justin Bieber

This week's selection has only a tangential connection to swimming. The Olympic medalist Missy Franklin is a fan of the subject of this book:
Justin Bieber by Lynn Peppas.

 With  32 pages, a glossary and an index this title should be a draw for fans of his who are reluctant readers.

For me, the interesting fact about Justin Bieber is his use of YouTube to build his career. This is a business model for sure.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Dedicated birdwatchers (also known as birders) are familiar with Roger Tory Peterson's A Field Guide to the Birds.  Young readers  can learn all about him in For The Birds: The Life of Roger Tory Peterson by Peggy Thomas. This  40-page picturebook chronicles how Roger's first love was  observing birds and how he experimented with different forms of capturing their images, by photography and painting.

Here's a sample: "Roger knew that watching a bird in the field meant you had just a second or two to remember its shape, color, and size before it flew out of sight. So Roger painted only the memorable bits....Simple outlines against a light background showed a bird's shape, and Roger added arrows to point out the most important field markings that distinguished one bird from another."

The color illustrations done by Laura Jacques enhance this book.

Roger's own collection of illustrations are housed at  the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, Jamestown, New York. I saw them a few years ago and they are worth a visit.

Here's an activity for birdwatching grandparents and their grandchildren.
While grandparents are watching birds through binoculars, their grandchildren can draw birds using Roger's tips: 1. outline the bird's shape.
2. Show distinctive features of the bird through the use of arrows or other marks.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Looking at sculpture

Parents, do you have a house of bored kids but it's not a pool or beach day?
Do I have an idea for you! Look! Look! Look! At Sculpture by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace and Linda K. Friedlaender have combined some fictional mice with a real-life sculptor  in this picturebook.

The three mice, Kiki,  Kat and Alexander find an invitation  to a viewing  of an sculpture called Four Rectangles with Four Oblique Circles by Barbara Hepworth. So they hitch a ride to the museum and find the sculpture that was on the invitation.

 Here's a sample: "They clasped their hands behind their backs and did a museum walk around the sculpture. They looked at the sides. They looked at the back. They looked at the front."

Then they sketched what they saw and made clay sculptures.

This book has an activity: how to create  a sculpture out of paper. Do you have creative kids? Maybe they'd like to give it a try.