Covers of Composting by Koontz & Harrad and Garden Wigglers by Loewen & Peterson.

Worm Books

Everything has gone wormy here at the Dorchester Memorial Public Library this spring. To help this along, Janet Ward made an Adopt-a-Book donation so that we could buy some new worm books.

Covers of Composting by Koontz & Harrad and Garden Wigglers by Loewen & Peterson.
Two books for young children about worms and compost

Our new books are Composting: Nature’s Recyclers, by author Robin Koontz and illustrator Matthew Harrad, and Garden Wigglers: Earthworms in Your Backyard, by author Nancy Loewen and illustrator Rick Peterson, both published by Picture Window Books. These books are written for quite young children, but they’re full of information. Everything is written in relatively simple language, and unfamiliar scientific terms like setae, the very fine bristles that cover a worm’s body, and clitellum, the band around the worm that becomes the shell containing its offspring, are explained in language and concepts even a quite young child should understand. Although an American book, it adheres to international standards of science and gives metric as well as imperial measures — useful for us here in Canada. Each book is only twenty-four pages long, but contains a table of contents, a science project that children can do at home, a glossary, and an index. The attractive illustrations, though not realistic in fine detail, are designed to be very clear and unambiguous in their simplicity. We’re very pleased to have these in our library and we recommend them for K-2 classes or anyone doing composting with younger grades or their pre-schoolers.

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My Heart Fills With Happiness, by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Julie Flett

My Heart Fills With Happiness is a simple and charming board book to share with your baby or toddler. The beautiful illustrations by Flett show small children engaged joyously in everyday things – watching bannock bake, singing with an older sibling, dancing in the sun, holding a parent’s hand, while the text repeats, “My heart fills with happiness when …” every few pages. As is usual with Flett’s illustrations, there are lots of details to linger over, providing good opportunities for conversation and language-building interaction. Look! Do you see the puppy? What’s it doing? Can you find the ladybugs in the flowers? What’s that? Is it a frog? Do you think the boy sees the frog? It ends by addressing the child directly, “What fills your heart with happiness?” leaving room for more conversation and reflection.

Camp X: Enigma, by Eric Walters

Teenage brothers Jack and George are back in another Second World War spy thriller for young readers. In this one, the Canadian boys travel with their family to Britain and plunge back into a world of intrigue overseen by “Little Bill”, William Stephenson, while their code-breaker mother serves at Bletchley Park. As with previous novels in the series, history and action-packed fiction are well-balanced, from the start, where they escort a German naval Enigma machine to Bletchley to an ending of high-adrenaline drama with a German spy. Many historical figures cross their path; the author’s afterword expands a little on these people. Though the teens’ involvement is improbable, it doesn’t tax the bounds of imaginative plausibility. George’s first person narrative is able to explain unfamiliar things to younger readers without seeming to lecture. This would be a great read for teens and older children.

Fortunately, the Milk, by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Skottie Young

 

This short novel is a twisting, tangled, time-travel tall tale that makes a great read-aloud and would also be a good choice for kids new to reading chapter books. It’s pretty entertaining for older readers too! The nameless narrator’s mother is off to a conference, leaving Dad in charge. When there’s no milk for the breakfast cereal, Dad pops down to the shop to get some … and the kids wait, and wait, and wait. His excuse for why he has taken so long, when he returns, involves a flying saucer, alien abduction, the queen of the pirates, almost getting sacrificed to a volcano god, and most of all Dad’s companion through space and time, dinosaur scientist Professor Steg and her Floaty-Ball-Person-Carrier with its Really Good Moves Around in Time Machine. The milk, in the end, was instrumental in saving the world. Or so Dad claims.

Clarice Bean and Ghost Knight

At the Summer Reading Club this year we are reading two books. The younger group is listening to Lauren Child’s Clarice Bean, Don’t Look Now. The story is off to a rousing start as older sister Marcie overflows the bath. First the ceiling begins to drip on Grandpa. Then it collapses – and crushes the television. Oh no! Luckily Clarice Bean has words of wisdom from her favourite literary character, girl spy Ruby Redfort, to guide her: When you lose an important piece of equipment, improvise or seek out an alternative. Even more luckily, her best friend Betty Moody has her own tv in her bedroom. Problem solved! Except the stove was crushed too, and the family is going to have to live on toast forever.

The older group is hearing Cornelia Funke’s Ghost Knight, in which Jon, jealous of his new stepfather, makes himself so sulky and unpleasant at home that his mother sends him away to his late father’s boarding school in a famous cathedral town just dripping with history. Jon is determined to be as miserable as possible, but when the ghosts of three malevolent knights began haunting him, he finds himself drawn into a dark tragedy that unfolded around the cathedral back in the middle ages.