Review: Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman

  • Reading level: Ages 5 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books (January 5, 2012)
  • ISBN-10:
  • Source: Publisher

A little girl is walking through the park when she sees a tall man who reminds her of someone.  She can’t remember who he is at first, but when she pays for lunch (with a five dollar bill) she recognizes him at once: Abraham Lincoln.  She becomes fascinated with Lincoln and goes to the library to learn more about him. Throughout the book, she relays facts that she comes across in her reading, from his birth in a small log cabin to his presidency, the Emancipation Proclamation and his death. Told through a series of colorful illustrations, Lincoln’s history comes to life on the pages. 

Jenn’s review: As a mom, I appreciated this book because it contained not only useful, textbook type information about Lincoln, but also not so common information, like that his favorite cake was vanilla, he always had an apple on his desk, and that he kept notes he’d jotted down in his tall hat. At just 32 pages, it gives young children a glimpse of Lincoln’s life and information about why he was one of the most powerful presidents in our nation’s history. But my review isn’t important…from the mouth of a child, my six-year-old son Justin’s review:

I really liked the colorful pictures. They aren’t drawn perfectly, but look like they are done by someone my age. Also, did you know that Lincoln’s stepmother lead him read anytime he wanted and sometimes didn’t do his chores. I wish I could do that! It was sad to read how he died. He loved people, all people, and because of this he was shot by a very bad angry man. I got to see his big tall hat at the museum in Washington, DC once. It really is a tall hat. I wonder how he was able to walk through doors with that hat on. Mommy says he was a tall man, almost 7 feet tall! Anyway, I think this book is the perfect book to read to celebrate President’s Day.  I want to go to see Lincoln’s Memorial soon.  It’s too bad I can’t climb up in his lap and talk to him. I think we would have a lot to talk about. 


This is our first picture by Maira Kalman, I guarantee it won’t be our last. Highly recommended!


Review: Nature Squad-Bluebird Finds A Home by Ryan Jacobson

  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Adventure Publications (January 4, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 9781591933113
  • Source: Publisher
  • The Nature Squad’s purpose is to save the planet, one adventure at a time.  In Bluebird Finds a Home , the squad is out to help a bluebird, Skylar, whose tree home has been leveled by workers set out to remove dead trees from the forest. B.B., a helpful and always-hungry black bear points out these dead trees to the workers, who in return give him scraps of food. He’s a little torn about the whole thing…if they stop trees from being removed who will bring him human food?

    Ultimately, B.B. learns the results of his actions; dozens of animals that nest in dead trees are losing their homes.  So, B.B., and the rest of the Nature Squad go on a hunt to help Skylar find a new home. 

    They start with the nest of a wood duck.  That goes well until the following day when the Woodra, the wood duck mother, pushes Skylar & her hatchlings out of the nest.  Ducklings are ready to jump out a day after hatching & so should Skylar!

    B.B. then takes Skylar to nest of a blue-jay family.  That lasts only a few minutes; Skylar can’t stand the sound of the blue jay’s singing.

    Skylar then takes him to Sheldon…a turtle…and suggests that they share a shell.  Unfortunately, it was a little crowded (and smelled liked lily pads) so that idea didn’t work either.

    B.B. rounds up the rest of the Nature Squad and they all build nest boxes (little homes for birds) to hang in the few remaining dead trees in the forest. Skylar finally finds a home, along with other animals displaced by the workers’ actions!

    Bluebird Finds a Home is yet another wonderful book to read as part of your Earth day celebrations, or any other day as well.  The illustrations, by Joel Seibel (Emmy-winning animator of ”Pinky and the Brain,” ”Scooby-Doo” and ”Smurfs”), are colorful and cheerful.  Who wouldn’t want to learn from the adorable creatures that make up the Nature Squad.

    In the back of the book, instructions are provided for how to build a nest box with the help of an adult. Also listed are several conservation tips for children, including recycling, picking up litter, saving water, and conserving energy.

    Overall, Bluebird Finds a Home is a delightful book, destined to be enjoyed by any young conservationist! Highly recommended!

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