Monday, April 28, 2014

Three 2014 Scholastic Nonfiction Readers

Planets. Scholastic Discover More, Level 1. Gail Tuchman. 2014. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

What's out there? Ready? Let's go! Let's zoom into space. Let's zoom past the Moon. Let's visit the shining stars and their planets. Most stars have families of planets. The planets in a family orbit, or travel around, the star. Our Sun is a star. Earth orbits the Sun. Earth is a rocky planet. Gas planets and rocky planets orbit our Sun. They are all part of the Sun's family.

Level one readers are for beginning readers who are just beginning to learn to read for information. Level one readers consist of 200-500 words, are written in simple sentences, feature new vocabulary, contain key facts, introduce first infographics, and may mention famous people. This book on planets include a glossary and index.

Planets is a good introduction to the subject for young readers. There will be plenty more books for them to grow into as their reading skills improve year by year. The information is simple, straight-forward, and up to date. The writing style is simple, it's true, but it's not boring, in my opinion.

Dolphin Dive. Scholastic Discover More, Level 2. James Buckley, Jr. 2014. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Here come the acrobats of our seas! With flicks of their tails, dolphins leap high into the air. Dolphins love to show off for one another. They may even do somersaults! Watch them porpoising, or jumping in arches. They race across the water. 
Have you seen a bottlenose dolphin doing flips? There are 42 kinds of dolphin. Most are between 5 and 8 feet long. The orca is the biggest. It can be the size of a school bus! There are a few kinds of dolphin that live in freshwater rivers. They have long beaks. The Amazon River dolphin can be pink!

Level 2 readers are written for developing readers. Level 2 readers are much more complex: more text, harder vocabulary, longer sentences, longer paragraphs, etc.

Dolphin Dive is an interesting read. Each page is packed with information and photographs. I love the use of photographs; I think photos can definitely appeal to readers and make the book more inviting and less intimidating. Good nonfiction will almost always offer images (photos or illustrations) to draw readers in.

One interesting thing I noted about this book is that the author seems to LOVE exclamation points. I counted twenty-two exclamations! The narration is factual and enthusiastic!

Where In the World? World-Famous Landmarks. Scholastic Discover More, Level 3. Laaren Brown. 2014.

Let's take a trip around the world. Let's go and see the most amazing landmarks on Earth. Landmarks are famous buildings or structures.

Level 3 Readers are for independent readers who can read fluently for information.

I like the concept of this one. But the organization could use a little help perhaps. It felt a little zig-zag, here-and-there to me. That could just be my perception.

Here are the locations "visited" on the readers' "best vacation ever!"
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Hoover Dam
  • Machu Picchu
  • Colosseum
  • The Parthenon
  • Tower of London
  • Eiffel Tower
  • The Great Pyramid
  • Great Wall of China
  • The Taj Mahal
  • Sydney Opera House
  • Montreal Biosphere
  • McMurdo Station
  • Robben Island
  • Millau Viaduct
  • United Nations Headquarters
  • Burj Khalifa
Facts are included for each location. Some get more attention than others. 

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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