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Flight School

Flight School by Lita Judge. Atheneum, 2014, 32 pages. Reading Level: picture book Maturity Level: all An ambitious penguin arrives at flight school with visions of success. Teacher and Flamingo stifle their doubts and patiently include him until the truth can no longer be denied: “I’m sorry, birdie,” said Teacher. “Penguins just aren’t built to fly.” […]

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Hickory Dickory Dog by Alison Murray

Hickory Dickory Dog by Alison Murray. Candlewick, 2014 (first published in U.K. in 2012), 32 pages. Reading Level: Beginning, Picture Book Maturity Level: All Murray applies her signature style in this bold, colorful picture book. Using the familiar nursery rhyme, “Hickory Dickory Dock,” Murray tells the story of a young boy and his dog throughout the […]

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For the Birds

NOTE: Today we begin experimenting with new formats for our book reviews, in anticipation of some big changes ahead–and we need your feedback!  Please scroll down below the review for more. National Wildlife Federation World of Birds: a Beginners Guide, by Kim Kirki. Black Dog & Levanthal, 2014, 80 pages including glossary and index. Reading […]

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For the Birds II

Feathers: Not Just for Flying, by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen. Charlesbridge, 2014, 32 pages. Reading Level: Picture Book, Ages 4-8 Maturity Level: All “Birds and feathers go together, like trees and leaves, like stars and sky. All birds have feathers, but no other animals do.” And did you know . . . […]

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Beach Books! (Librarians’ List)

Of course a professional book reviewer and librarian takes books with her to the beach–for herself AND her family. In case you’re of like mind, here are some beach-related books and Dewey numbers to check out before you head to the coast this summer. Kids enjoy both fiction and nonfiction, so this list is a […]

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Shakespeare: life, theater and historical context

Here are some resources that weave together the life of the bard with the world he lived in, how the plays were produced, and what became of his second-best bed after he died. All of these resources cover pretty much the same material, the primary difference being the age of the intended audience. I have […]

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Ukraine: Lessons in Liberty and Compassion, Pt. 2

Last week, we began our Ukrainian series with a personal reflection from our executive assistant, Hayley.  Having recently visited orphans in Ukraine, Hayley gave us insight into their situation, which is only made more tenuous by the current political upheaval.  And most importantly, she gave us a detailed look at how we (and our kids!) […]

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Retro Reads: Lloyd Alexander’s Picture Books

In reading Lloyd Alexander’s picture books, I observe three things: 1) he is well-versed in a broad range of folklore traditions, 2) he loves cats, and 3) he’s a great storyteller. While his stories contain more Story than Truth, they are cleverly written and worth sharing. How the Cat Swallowed Thunder, illustrated by Judith Byron […]

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The Man with the Violin

 One ordinary Friday morning in January, a famous musician in disguise descended into the busy Metro station in Washington D.C.to share the glory of his music with an unsuspecting public. Joshua Bell, a virtuoso violinist, played his priceless instrument with skill and passion. Hardly anyone noticed in the rush. A few children gazed curiously while […]

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Presidents Day–What the Hay?

There didn’t used to be a Presidents Day; instead, Americans observed Lincoln (Feb. 12) and Washington (Feb. 22) separately.  But since those two had thoughtfully arranged to be born in the same month, and achieve the rank of Best President, and we didn’t want to slight the other 42 (I guess)—why not just slide them […]

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Valentine’s Day

As Christians we are called to practice so many forms of love besides the romantic kind. Themes for Valentine’s Day can be broadened to emphasize kindness in all kinds of human relationships, from friendly to intimate. Whether or not chocolate is involved, it is worth taking time to enjoy expressing the unique gift of love […]

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