children, education, nature, science

Smithsonian Readers: Endless Explorations Level 4

Endless Explorations
Authors: Brenda Scott-Royce, Stephen Binns, Emily Rose Oachs, Kaitlyn DiPerna
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Genre: Children / Science
ISBN: 978-1-62686-454-2
Pages: 192
Price: $14.95

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Science, history, and nature are interesting for kids, and Smithsonian Readers capitalizes on this desire to learn more about these topics. Endless Explorations covers predators, world wonders, space exploration, natural disasters, ocean habitats, and flight. Beautiful photos fill each page, bringing the text alive and making it more engaging. Each section closes with a multiple choice quiz to determine reading comprehension.

The Smithsonian Readers series is designed for early, developing, engage and fluent readers. In this level 4 book, kids will read extended sentences and complex words in a variety of factual texts to challenge fluent readers.

Smithsonian Readers: Endless Explorations Level 4 is sure to generate some curiosity and enthusiasm in the home and classroom. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

education

Smithsonian Readers: World of Wonder Level 3

Smithsonian World of Wonder
Authors: Brenda Scott-Royce, Courtney Acampora, Kaitlyn DiPerna, Emily Rose Oachs
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Genre: Children / Education
ISBN: 978-1-62686-453-5
Pages: 192
Price: $14.95

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Science, ancient history and nature are interesting for kids, and Smithsonian Readers capitalizes on this desire to learn more about these topics. World of Wonder covers the planets, rain forest animals, wild weather, the United States, ancient Egypt, and sharks. Beautiful photos fill each page, bringing the text alive and making it more engaging. Each section closes with a multiple choice quiz to determine reading comprehension.

The Smithsonian Readers series is designed for early, developing, engaged and fluent readers. In this level 3 book, kids will read new high-interest content, longer sentences, and more complex spelling patterns.

Smithsonian Readers: Early Adventures Level 3 is sure to generate some curiosity and enthusiasm in the home and classroom. However, in this volume, I discovered some inaccuracies in the ancient Egypt section. Some assumptions are presented as fact, when Egyptologists actually still speculate on these questions. Other statements are simply incorrect. I’m not as knowledgeable about the other topics, but knowing there are errors in this section makes me question how well this whole series has been checked for accuracy. These books may be good for reading comprehension, but I’d recommend that the facts be verified.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

cats, children, education

Big Cat

Big Cat
Author & Illustrator: Ethan Long
Publisher: Holiday House
Genre: Children / Reading / Cats
ISBN: 978-0-8234-3538-8
Pages: 32
Price: $14.95

Author’s website
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Big Cat lives with a little girl who thinks he’s fun. Rather than just letting him sleep, she wakes him up, dances with him, dresses him up, and gives him a hug. Using simple sentences beginning with “Big Cat can…” this I Like to Read Book introduces children to one syllable words. Humorous illustrations demonstrate Big Cat’s patience with his young playmate. This book would be an enjoyable addition to classroom libraries.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, education

Have Fun With Words

Have Fun With Words
Author: Maria Sarkar
Publisher: Austin Macauley Publishers
Genre: Children / Writing
ISBN: 978-1849634977
Pages:74
Price: $24.95

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Vocabulary building doesn’t have to be hard – in fact it can be fun if it’s presented in the form of puzzles and games. Have Fun With Words encourages kids to play with words to discover their meaning.

Each lesson covers a certain type of word. Adjectives, synonyms and antonyms, nouns, verbs, roots with prefixes and suffixes, adverbs, and abstract nouns are covered. Idioms and other word combinations round out the lessons. Students unscramble words, use them in the fill-in-the-blank sentences, place them in charts, and circle them in word finds, as they learn how to best use each word or combination of words.

The workbook provides:

  • A clear presentation of target words as well as expressions, carefully selected and put in context.
  • Stimulating activities for recall and practice
  • Free practice in challenging extension activities
  • Links to grammar to show how words operate in a sentence
  • Tasks to develop other related skills such as using the dictionary effectively and guessing meaning of words, all eventually helping to improve reading fluency and enriching the child’s writing.

Learning doesn’t have to always be dry and dull. Have Fun With Words is an enjoyable and creative book to help kids to build their vocabulary.

Book Trailer

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, education

I Love Reading Phonics: Tick Tock Books – Level 6

A series of educational books by Tick Tock Books featuring level six reading. A brief summary of the books and their word focus are included below. This is a fun series kids will enjoy, while also learning how to read. Please also see posts on level one, level two, level three, level four and level five information.

What Wally Wanted
What Wally Wanted
Author: Louise Goodman
Illustrator: Kate Daubney
Publisher: Tick Tock Books
ISBN: 978-1-84898-779-1
Pages: 24
Price: $3.99

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Level 6-A: Wally wants gold, so he makes trades to get it.  Will Wally trade his black cat in exchange for a spell?
Focuses on two sounds made with the letter a – as in hat and what.

Superhero Ed!
Superhero Ed!
Author: Louise Goodman
Illustrator: Kimberley Scott
Publisher: Tick Tock Books
ISBN: 978-1-84898-780-7
Pages: 24
Price: $3.99
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Level 6-B: Deb is upset.  Wicked Ted has taken Emu Meg.  Superhero Ed must act quickly to save her!
Focuses on two sounds made with the letter e – as in bed and he.

Adine's Igloo
Adine’s Igloo
Author: Lucy George
Illustrator: Monica Armino
Publisher: Tick Tock Books
ISBN: 978-1-84898-781-4
Pages: 24
Price: $3.99

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Level 6-C: Adine is an Inuit and lives in an igloo.  This book shares a bit of her daily life.
Focuses on two sounds made with the letter i – as in fin and find.

The Robot Bop
The Robot Bop
Author: Lucy George
Illustrator: Caroline Romanet
Publisher: Tick Tock Books
ISBN: 978-1-84898-782-1
Pages: 24
Price: $3.99

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Level 6-D: Ro the Robot loves to bop.  She invents a new dance, but will the other robots like it?
Focuses on two sounds made with the letter o – as in hot and cold.

children, education

I Love Reading Phonics: Tick Tock Books – Level 5

A series of educational books by Tick Tock Books featuring level five reading. A brief summary of the books and their word focus are included below. This is a fun series kids will enjoy, while also learning how to read. Please also see posts on level one, level two, level three, and level four information.

Snapped by Sam!
Snapped by Sam!
Author: Melanie Hamm
Illustrator: Emmeline Pidgen
Publisher: Tick Tock Books
ISBN: 978-1-84898-775-3
Pages: 24
Price: $3.99

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Level 5-A: Sam likes to take pictures, but he learns that people don’t always appreciate his timing.
Focuses on the t sound made with the letters ed.

Max's Trip
Max’s Trip
Author: Melanie Hamm
Illustrator: Kate Daubney
Publisher: Tick Tock Books
ISBN: 978-1-84898-776-0
Pages: 24
Price: $3.99

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Level 5-B: Max travels around the world, and even to the moon. He discovers aliens are friendly.
Focuses on the d sound made with the letters ed.

George the Genius Gerbil
George the Genius Gerbil
Author: Louise Goodman
Illustrator: Suz Hughes
Publisher: Tick Tock Books
ISBN: 978-1-84898-777-7
Pages: 24
Price: $3.99

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Level 5-C: George the gerbil knows the answer to every question, and puts on a show to prove it.
Focuses on the j sound made with the letters ge, gi, and gy.

Budge Troll, Budge!
Budge Troll, Budge!
Author: Louise Goodman
Illustrator: Nicola Anderson
Publisher: Tick Tock Books
ISBN: 978-1-84898-778-4
Pages: 24
Price: $3.99

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Level 5-D: The troll on the bridge won’t let anyone pass by, until an even bigger troll finally forces him to budge.
Focuses on the j sound made with the letters ge and dge.

education

The Student Life Jacket

The Student Life Jacket
Author: Susan M. Sparks
Publisher: SMS Promotional Ventures
Genre: Education
ISBN: 978-1467506557
Pages: 80
Price: $32.95

Author’s website
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College students on their own for the first time may face hurdles they never anticipated. Managing time, money, health, roommates, cars, and school all at once can be a challenge for the under-prepared. The Student Life Jacket was designed to ease this transition from home to college.

There are five basic topics covered in this guide: Health & Wellness, Housing, Money, Getting Around, and Social Life. Although not exhaustive in the ideas presented, there are helpful tips and motherly wisdom on each topic. Fill-in forms for pertinent information and heavy-duty plastic folders for important papers are also included.

Since I’m an accountant, I would have liked to see a simple budget form to help guide the student in making financial decisions. A breakdown of monthly income and expenses can show how much really is available for those late night pizzas. I also would have liked to see all the forms together in one section, as an easy reference. Having to look inside the section marked “Getting Around” for the networking and reference contacts list makes it more difficult to find.

The Student Life Jacket was the IPPY Best Book of 2013 in the Parenting and Family, Organizers and Planners category. This student organizer would be a great gift for all teens heading to college.

Reviewer: Alice Berger