LATEST BOOK REVIEWS FOR NORWOOD
HOUSE PRESS TITLES
iMath - Levels A, B, and C
School Library Journal, April 2013
"K-Gr 2–This subset is a busy mix of language arts and math. The texts have short sentences, and most of the titles engage readers with a story. Each book begins with “iMath Ideas,” which introduces a concept, poses a math problem, and provides strategies for getting the answer, encouraging students to evaluate which method is strongest. Every volume ends by reiterating the same “iMath Ideas.” Additional sections include a “Discover Activity” and an informational section that connects the math discussion to science, history, or art. Each book ends with a “What Comes Next” page that gives ideas for expanding on the concepts presented and an “Additional Notes” section that provides answers to the various problems. Photos, charts, illustrations, and diagrams decorate the pages. At times, there is so much going on that the math might become lost for this young audience. For example, it seems almost random that “ligers” and “tigons” are discussed in Picnic Fun. Do not expect intense computational practice. This comprehensive set of CCSS resources may work well with reluctant math students."
"Gr 3-4–These comprehensive CCSS resources have an appealing layout and attractive photos, charts, maps, diagrams, and illustrations. The texts are a busy mix of language arts and math; each volume contains an engaging story line and information that will draw in readers. For example, Mummies combines directions about division with facts about embalming. Every book begins with “iMath Ideas,” which introduce a concept, pose a math problem, and provides strategies for getting the answer. The strategies are reiterated at the end of the book. Questions throughout encourage student engagement. Also of interest are a “Discover Activity” and an informational section that connects the discussion to science, history, or art. Each book ends with a “What Comes Next” page that gives ideas for expanding on the concepts learned and an “Additional Notes” section that provides answers to the various problems. Do not expect intense computational practice; the casual approach may work well with reluctant math students."
"Gr 5-6–This subset provides an engaging mix of social science, language arts, and math. For example, in Designer Digs readers will get caught up in Anela’s school project that requires her to use equations for finding area to create unusual living spaces. Each book begins with a discussion of strategies and provides several methods for solving the posed problem. Student engagement is encouraged with leading questions. Additional sections include a “Discover Activity” and an informational text section that connects the math discussion to science, history, or art. Photos, maps, illustrations, charts, and diagrams aid in comprehension. Each book ends with a “What Comes Next” page that gives ideas for expanding on the concepts learned and an “Additional Notes” section that provides answers to the various problems. These volumes are not contrived collections of math activities; readers will believe the math is part of the story. This casual and creative approach will be especially helpful to reluctant math students. Overall, a comprehensive set of CCSS resources. "
"Part of the iMath Readers series, this uses a thin fictional story line involving a young boy’s visit to the library for a book on mummies (thus the title) to introduce the concept of division. Division problems are woven into the story line (for example, how many days will it take the narrator to read his 160-page book?), followed by information about Egyptian mummies and a few more division problems. The information about mummies connects a range of topics to curriculum segments. For example, the page on the Great Pyramid of Giza is called “Connecting to Engineering.” This series is specifically designed to fulfill STEM and Common Core standards and should be useful to educators looking to provide titles on specific aspects of math. The mummy connection, meanwhile, might make the math lessons go down a bit easier for some."
Indivisible: Poems for Social Justice
Booklist, March 2013
"In their introduction to this unique, timely collection, the coeditors write, “These poems have been selected and arranged and offered to the reader as our contributions to living in a more socially just America.” To that end, they have selected 54 previously published works by twentieth-century poets. The work represents a broad variety of races, cultures, and ethnicities and deals with such issues as bigotry and injustice, as well as with freedom, equality, and comity. Divided into five sections, the poems essentially chart a course from outside our culture to an inside where we can celebrate common dreams. The contributors range from the celebrated—Billy Collins, Ishmael Reed, Pat Mora, William Stafford—to the lesser known, and brief biographies of all are included in an appendix. Matthew Thomas Bush’s elegantly decorative line drawings illustrate the pages without overwhelming the selections, and a foreword from rap artist Common will help draw more attention to this thought-provoking anthology for classroom sharing, broad discussion, and individual appreciation."
Dear Dragon Go Reader Volume 4
School Library Journal, July 2012
"K-Gr 2–Four beginning readers by Margaret Hillert (Norwood House, 2008-10) are accompanied by a palm-sized MP3 audio player, batteries, and ear buds. The player has buttons for power, play/pause, fast forward, reverse, volume, and a small display screen. Readers can fast forward or go back to select a book, but the titles are only identified by a number in the display. Each book is read slowly, clearly, and distinctly, and accompanied by a few sound effects, brief music at the beginning and end, and page-turn signals. Colors 1,2,3 is a cute counting and color concept book in which a boy plays with his toy cars. A Is for Apple presents an object for each letter of the alphabet and a simple descriptive sentence. When Dear Dragon Goes to the Library with a boy, they enjoy a story time, do puzzles, color, and take home books, although it is unclear how the books are checked out. They see many big animals, pet a few, and then have a snack in the restaurant in Dear Dragon Goes to the Zoo. Parent pages offer tips for using the books to teach phonics, vocabulary, alphabetical order, fluency, and text comprehension. Although the buttons on the player may be slightly difficult for youngsters, the GoReader is more compact and simpler to use than CD or cassette players. The books must accompany the recording to be understood. These narrated books will help young children learn to read with engaging yet repetitive and predictable stories and David Schimmell’s colorful illustrations."
Dear Dragon Go Reader Volume 2
School Library Journal, June 2012
"A young boy enjoys the seasons with his parents and, of course, his dear dragon. Holidays, seasonal changes, activities, and clothing all reflect the differences you would expect as the year progresses. Margaret Hillert is well known for her easy-readers that include simple stories with basic vocabulary, no contractions, and plenty of repetition, setting beginning readers up for success. In this case, the four books have been loaded onto a Go Reader-an individual listening device. The stories are told through conversations between the boy, his dragon, and his parents. Each voice is unique. The bright illustrations by David Schimmel are essential to the story, often illustrating what the characters are talking about but not naming. The slow-paced narration is clear and crisp. Some sound effects are added, as well as page turn signals. The Go Reader is an interesting device that allows listeners to locate the specific preloaded story they want, adjust volume, pause, and fast forward. It does, however, have a few minor flaws. It took several tries to get the batteries settled perfectly for use, the ear buds would need to be cleaned between users, and a clip attachment would be a nice upgrade. A good enrichment activity for beginning readers who need a little extra support."
"The revamped Team Spirit series of MLB franchise profiles keeps some of the content from the 2007 editions but adds a good deal of new features and brings each team into the present day. New chapters like "Legend Has It," which looks at unique team lore, and "Talking Baseball," which doles out notable quotes from players and managers, help add some personality to each identically structured book. The best new feature is easily the "Great Debates" spread, which will introduce readers to one of the great joys of fandom: the endlessly debatable "what if" questions in which you can prove your passion and knowledge for your team while pooh-poohing your friend for the same. In The Minnesota Twins, we're invited to decide the team's best shortstop (Zoilo Versailles or Cecil Travis?) and ponder who made the team's most memorable catch (bonus points if you said Sam Rice). The Oakland Athletics treats readers to a debate weighing pitchers Catfish Hunter and Lefty Grove and compares the 1970s A's with the 1930s squad. The Seattle Mariners argues whether the loaded 1995 Mariners lineup would have beaten the 116-win 2001 team, or whether Randy Johnson or Felix Hernandez should be considered the Mariners' all-time best pitcher. And The Toronto Blue Jays compares the arms of Roberto Alomar and Jesse Barfield as well as the curveballs of Roy Halladay and Dave Steib. In all, the new content makes it worth your while to update the series, and links to additional online information seal the deal."
Writing Builders is a six-book set ideal for children in grades 2-4. Each volume teaches young people about the basics of different types of writing. In the increasingly interconnected world, good writing and communication skills are more valuable than ever; these user-friendly guides supplement their simple instructions with colorful, hand-drawn pictures of fellow children undertaking writing projects. The story native of children discovering how to write interleaved with basic steps and handy tips makes the Writing Builders series easy to pick up and learn from. "Are you ready to practice your speeches?" asked Mr. Boscombe. "Practicing will make you more comfortable with your speech. You'll do a better job when you go in front of your audience. Try not to read your note cards. Just glance at them." The Writing Builders series is an absolutely invaluable addition to grade school children's libraries!
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Bridget and Bo Build a Blog (978-1-59953-507-4)
Starred Review from Booklist, April 2012
A close cousin to the publisher’s Poetry Builders set, the Writing Builders series offers gregarious, upbeat introductions to a number of tasks young writers will eventually tackle, from preparing a speech to conducting an interview. This volume introduces nine-year-old Bo, whose recent experience blogging from a family stay in England gives him the expertise to show his friend, Bridget, how it’s done. McDee’s fully colored cartoon illustrations situate the duo in a cozy, middle-class household, where Bridget’s mom pops in with snacks (radishes, anyone?) as well as some sage words of advice before—and this is key—trusting the kids to do most of the work. Bridget’s concerns are understandable: “Well, does my blog have to be as long as yours?” Bo’s answers are a little my-way-or-the-highway, but nonetheless bring up good things to consider: a design template, the intended audience, and using correct terminology such as posting. They read other blogs for inspiration, which is where they learn never to gossip or use full names or personal info. The wisecracks never intrude upon the learning, and the advice can easily extend to other kinds of writing. Kids are going to post stuff online, so why not use sets like this to help them be smarter and safer?
Review from Library Media Connection, March/April 2012 issue
Girls Play to Win
Review from Booklist Dec. 15th, 2011 - Series Nonfiction Showcase Section
The Girls Play to Win series focuses exclusively on women's sports. In addition to profiles of star athletes, the books introduces the basic rules or types of events and give the history of women as participants and competitors in each sport. Illustrated mainly with clear color photos, the books offer straightforward accounts enhanced by sidebars on related topics. In addition to the writer, each book credits a "content consultant" with special knowledge of the sport.
Lacrosse clarifies how the fast-growing women's version of the sport differs from the men's and notes that the women's "much more closely resembles the game Native Americans invented hundreds of years ago." Softball describes the sport's history, its fast-pitch and slow-pitch rules, and its spread around the globe. Before spotlighting outstanding female aquatic athletes of the past century, Swimming & Diving reports that women's swimming was thought too unladylike for the Olympic Games until 1912. Track & Field highlights the number of events and notable women athletes, from Babe Didrikson to Jackie Joyner-Kersee to recent record-breakers. Each book concludes with a glossary and short, annotated lists of recommended books, websites, and places to visit. With their slant toward women, these colorful books will fill gaps in many collections.
Recommended books in this series:
- Swimming & Diving
- Track & Field
Reviews from National Science Teachers Association, October-December 2011
Smart About Sports: Soccer
Review from LIBRARY MEDIA CONNECTION, November/December 2011 Issue
Soccer in Africa. 978-1-59953-441-1; Soccer in Asia. 978-1-59953-448-0; Soccer in Central America. 978-1-59953-443-5; Soccer in Eastern Europe. 978-1-59953-445-9; Soccer in North America. 978-1-59953-444-2; Soccer in South America. 978-1-59953-446-6; Soccer in the British Isles. 978-1-59953-442-8; Soccer in Western Europe. 978-1-59953-447-3
2011. 24pp. ea. $21.27 ea. lb. Norwood House Press. Grades 3-6
This series will be high interest for young soccer enthusiasts and for school librarians who need to fill that soccer niche. The information provided is pertinent to mostly the title region, and includes history, location, stadiums, player statistics, and some rules of the game. Each title includes different rules so that by the time the reader has read all titles, they will know most soccer rules. Photographs are used resourcefully to explain parts of gear needed and actions on the field. Many readers will love the Shoe Box section, which details old and new soccer cards of various regional top players. Men’s and women’s soccer are treated equally throughout. This series will be a solid addition to any elementary media center. Glossary. Websites. Table of Contents. Index. Recommended
Girls Play to Win
Review from LIBRARY MEDIA CONNECTION, March/April 2011 Issue
Figure Skating 978-1-59953-389-6; Basketball 978-1-59953-388-9; Hockey 978-1-59953-390-2; Skiing & Snowboarding 978-1-59953-391-9; Volleyball 978-1-59953-392-6
*Editor's Choice Award 2011
Girls play sports too, and the books in this series are about female athletes. Each book starts with an introduction to the sport. Rules are explained, words are defined and techniques are outlined. A Historical chapter follows. It looks at the sport and the role of females athletes in the sport. Pioneers, such as Sonja Henie in figure skating and Gretchen Fraser in skiing, are discussed and their contributions acknowledged. Past, present, and rising stars are given the closing pages of each book, allowing readers to see the faces of athletes who are making a difference. These books will make excellent resources for research purposes. Color pictures complement the text. Sidebars provide additional facts. Any library seeking books about girls and sports need to look no further than this series. Bibliography. Glossary. Index. RECOMMENDED.
Team Spirit - College
Review from Booklist, April 2011 Issue
Syracuse Orange 978-1-59953-377-3; Kentucky Wildcats 978-1-59953-367-4; North Carolina Tar Heels 978-1-59953-366-7
The Team Spirit College Basketball series continues to churn out reliable, informed, and lively team profiles. These three new entries cover teams that are yearly near-locks to make the NCAA Tournament, with looks at each team’s history, current makeup, home arena, uniform, notable wins, standout players and coaches, rivalries, and in a final Team Spirit: page, its defining traditions and attitude. The Kentucky Wildcats profiles one of the very first colleges to forma basketball team, in 1902- first by women, then followed a year later by a men’s team that scraped together $3 for a basketball and went 1-2 on the season. A humble beginning for what would become one of the most successful programs in the sport’s history, racking up more than 40 SEC championships. Fans will recognize the team the in the North Carolina Tar Heels as a powerhouse in the ultracompetitive ACC, but even casual observers will know this team as the beginning stages of Michael Jordan’s dominance of the sport. The Syracuse Orange looks at the Big East team that boasts an incredible streak of 40 straight seasons with a winning record, almost all of them with head coach Jim Boeheim at the reins. Each book’s ample back matter sports a time line, “Fun Facts, notable stats and records, and a quick rundown of how the college games differ from the NBA. Fine additions to a strong series.
Team Spirit - Hockey
Review from Booklist, February 2011 Issue
Boston Bruins 978-1-59953-399-5; Colorado Avalanche 978-1-59953-400-8; Detroit Red Wings 978-1-59953-401-5; New Jersey Devils 978-1-59953-402-2
With four new entries in the Team Spirit: Hockey series, Norwood expands its shelf of team-by-team profiles of professional and collegiate sports that cover franchise histories, key players, defining games, and plenty of miscellany about uniforms, arenas, and records. The Boston Bruins introduces the first American team to join the NHL, in 1924, a team that would visit the playoffs an astounding 29 years in a row starting in the late 1960s. Of course, Bobby Orr looms large over the franchise's remarkably winning history, and as for the fans? "Wicked good!" Fans of smaller market teams like the one covered in The Colorado Avalanche will appreciate that Stewart remains just an enthusiastic ("When the Avalanche get rolling, there's no stopping them"), and they may be surprised to learn how their team drifted from San Francisco to Quebec to its current mile-high home. In The Detroit Red Wings, Stewart reveals that aside from having won the most Stanley Cups of any U.S. team, this team is responsible for a number of hockey's most defining traditions, from hoisting the Stanley Cup to octopus tossing. The team-first mentality to which the series owes its name really shines through in The New Jersey Devils, which profiles a team that has relied on working as a unit rather than stocking superstars. Crisp action photos are a draw, and a helpful guide to hockey's rules props up the robust back matter, capping off these sharp sports resources.