Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Monday, February 13, 2012
Written by: Barthe DeClements
First line: Mrs. Hanson, our fifth grade teacher, was sitting at her desk grading papers.
Why you should read this book: Elsie Edwards is a fat, lying thief, and as far as Jenny Sawyer and her friends are concerned, that's three strikes against her. Nobody is willing to have anything to do with Elsie, until it turns out she's really good and math and Jenny can't understand fractions at all. When Elsie becomes Jenny's tutor, she learns to see Elsie through unclouded eyes, and as Elsie helps her, she begins to wonder what she can do to help Elsie.
Why you shouldn't read this book: Some of the ideas about weight in this book seem hopelessly quaint thirty years after its original publication.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Written by: Brian Selznick
Friday, February 10, 2012
Written by: Jennifer A. Mather, Roland C. Anderson, and James B. Wood
First line: Octopuses are amazing animals.
Why you should read this book: Indeed, octopodes (not octopi, we learn) are amazing, and while much evidence of octopus intelligence is anecdotal, this book brings together peer-reviewed, experiment based evidence of the intellectual capacity of this short-lived, long-armed cephalopod, along with detailed information about the animal's physiology, neurology, hunting and mating behaviors, and other little-known data about these fascinating creatures. The three co-authors have spent decades studying octopuses (the preferred plural) in the ocean, the aquarium, and the lab, and have brought together the results of their findings: that they are indeed highly intelligent, easily adaptable problem-solvers with individual personalities and preferences. The book includes a lovely selection of color plates depicting various species engaged in a variety of behaviors, along with an appendix discussing how best to keep an octopus alive and healthy in captivity.
Why you shouldn't read this book: Reviewing evidence of animal intelligence might clash with your diet or your religious beliefs.