Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Book Report: Sharing the latest in books, apps and literary marketplace news

Welcome to another edition of “The Book Report.” This weekly column is dedicated solely to the best in books, apps, audio and video adaptations, technology updates as well as literary news and events. Like our sister columns, “If it’s Tuesday it must be toys and tours,” Thursday’s “Musical Notes” and Friday’s “Popcorn Report,” which respectively features the information on toys and travel, music, and movies, this weekly post highlights the important world of literature as positive entertainment for children and teens. Be sure to check back each Wednesday.


‘Scientific American’ Brings Science Home

All during the month of May, Scientific American, the ever-popular science magazine that is set to celebrate 166 years of providing topical and understandable scientific information to laymen and professionals, has initiated an online campaign that brings the world of scientific discovery to children, with their Bring Science Home initiative.

The goal of “Bring Science Home” is not only to inspire young people about science, but to help them connect with science through everyday activities that reinforce literacy for those all- important STEM educational concepts - science, technology, engineering and math. 

Each day, the Scientific American magazine’s website as well as their Facebook, YouTube and Twitter pages, provides a different science (hands-on) activity that parents and children easily explore together utilizing common household items.

A wide range of topics covers everything from finding the DNA in a banana, to bending water with static electricity.

Take a look at the video below, which will show you how yeast “live and breathe.” It’s a fun and simple activity to share. 


J. Patrick Lewis Designated Children’s Poet Laureate

On Wednesday, May 11, 2011, prolific author/poet, J. Patrick Lewis, was honored and named Children’s Poet Laureate by The Poetry Foundation during a ceremony at the foundation’s headquarters in Chicago.

Lewis is now the third Children’s Poet Laureate, and follows such illustrious predecessors as Jack Prelutsky and Mary Ann Hoberman.

As part of his two-year tenure to help raise awareness of the importance of poetry in children’s lives, Lewis received a $25,000 cash award.

Lewis’ laureate activities will also include advising the Poetry Foundation on children’s literature, and two major public appearances for children, their families, teachers and librarians.


Pat the Bunny

Based on the beloved children’s picture book classic by Dorothy Kunhardt, comes a wonderful reinvention of Pat the Bunny for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.

Taking the original idea of engaging a toddler with interactivity, this new offering, after 70 years, provides 14 scenes for in-depth exploration by little hands. Children can pop bubbles, play hide and seek, make music and even look at themselves in a mirror.

There are three ways to read Pat the Bunny: Listen to narration and view the highlighted text; read each page at your own pace, or even record your own voice and play it back.

Pat the Bunny carries a special introductory price of $2.99 and may be ordered direct from the publisher, Random House Children’s Books.

A preview of Pat the Bunny is available in the video below.


Tikki Tikki Tembo…and more stories to celebrate Asian Heritage

It is a true art form when classic picture book stories come visually alive on DVD, and such is this rendering; another excellent production by Weston Woods Studios for Scholastic Storybook Treasures.

The 66-minute collection plus extras, presents six best selling stories that have consistently entertained children. Included in this offering are the following: (Production notes provided by distributor New Video, where the DVD may be ordered direct for $14.95 US or $16.95 CAN.

To explore each of the titles in depth, simply click on links to the original books offered through

TIKKI TIKKI TEMBO (Written by Arlene Mosel, illustrated by Blair Lent) This Chinese folktale explains why great long names are no longer chosen for their children.

THE TALE OF THE MANDARIN DUCKS (Written by Katherine Paterson, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon, narrated by B. D. Wong) A compassionate couple risks their lives to reunite a pair of Mandarin ducks.

GRANDFATHER’S JOURNEY (Written and illustrated by Allen Say, narrated by B. D. Wong) A touching story about Grandfather’s travels from Japan to the United States and back again.

THE STONECUTTER (Written and illustrated by Gerald McDermott) Tasaku is a lowly stonecutter who longs for more power in this Japanese folk tale.

LON PO PO: A RED-RIDING HOOD STORY FROM CHINA (Written and illustrated by Ed Young, narrated by B. D. Wong) This Asian version of the classic fairytale brings lessons about strangers, trust, and courage.

SAM AND THE LUCKY MONEY (Written by Karen Chinn, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu, narrated by Ming-Na Wen) On Chinese New Year Sam meets a stranger who helps him make the perfect decision on how to spend his lucky money.

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