Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Biography: Marco Polo

It's not often that you come across a truly excellent biography for children. It's apparent from the first page that this isn't just another standard title, designed for report writers and school projects.
Author Demi has interwoven rich storytelling with luxurious, oriental illustrations. Embroidered motifs and gold overlays set off the chinese ink watercolours; each page contains a beautiful framed image inside an embroidery border. Images break out of the frames for impact, while the minimal text tells the amazing story of Marco Polo's adventures in flowing prose.

Kids looking for report material might find it hard to extract the information they need from this book; it's not set up to deliver fact bites, and this is a good thing. To me, the value of this title lies in its ability to tell a mesmerizing story that will inspire the adventurer in any reader.
Ages 8-13
Click here to check out the Port Moody Public Library's catalogue.

Easy Reader: Zoom! Boom! Bully

Jon Scieszka specializes in books for boys, and this easy reader title (part of his Trucktown series) is a perfect fit.
It's clear that boys read differently from girls: they tend to prefer nonfiction or fast paced stories, focus on plot rather than interpersonal drama, and have different interests than girls. Rather than fighting against this, educators and authors are starting to work with boys' natural reading preferences, to the benefit of everyone.

Scieszka's Trucktown series is set in a city where the vehicles are the protagonists. Loud, funny and excited: that's how Scieszka describes his trucks and his readers. In this title, Big Rig knocks down whatever the other trucks build. Can they show him that being a bully is not the answer?
I highly recommend these titles to motivate kids who are just beginning to read, especially boys with interests in vehicles, crashing around, or being funny. (that describes most 5-7 year old boys I know!)
Easy Reader
Ages 4-7
Click here to check out the Port Moody Public Library's catalogue!

Poetry: The Bill Martin Jr Big Book of Poetry

Storyteller Bill Martin (of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom) pairs up with classic children's illustrators in this essential poetry anthology. Nearly 200 best loved poems are included in this weighty book, each illustrated by a favourite artist.

The poems range from classic (Robert Frost) to contemporary, and provide kids with a warmly comprehensive introduction to the genre. I would recommend this to kids of all ages, from preschooler to tween. Come on folks, the world needs more good poetry in it!

All ages (esp. 6-12 yrs)
Click here to check out the Port Moody Public Library's catalogue!