Review of Sylvan Dell's "Christmas Eve Blizzard," "Water Beds," "Pieces of Another World," "Carolina's Story"
Books from Sylvan Dell Publishing
Reviewed by Debra Ross
When selecting books for our kids, we moms want it all. We want stories that will nurture young minds and not leave the parent numb after the 20th reading. We want to expose our children to good art through beautiful illustrations. And, if possible, we want them to learn something. Even better, we parents want to learn something, too.
It's almost too much to hope to get all of this in one book. But a publisher from South Carolina, Sylvan Dell Publishing, has as its mission to "provide children with a special and unforgettable reading experience." Moreover, Sylvan's goal is to help kids learn -- and especially learn science -- through the enjoyment of reading. It's a laudible goal, and it's one that, I am pleased and grateful to say, they attain. Not only is each book engaging and the story rendered in wonderful illustrations, but each includes a "Creative Minds" section at the back with additional facts about the natural world, with suggestions for games and even fun math exercises. I can also say that each of these books contained at least one fact I didn't know! We should support these efforts. Here is a list of Sylvan Dell's new books for Fall 2005.
Christmas Eve Blizzard Christmas Eve Blizzard makes a wonderful Christmas gift, and is in fact even better to read on Christmas Eve. This is the story of how Nicholas and his grandfather rescue a cardinal from a Christmas Eve blizzard. Not only does the story include a touch of magic and a little Spanish, but also useful information about exactly what kids should do if they should ever find a hurt bird.
Water Beds In Water Beds, Gail Langer Karwoski uses a child's dream sequence to explain how ten different marine animals breathe air as they sleep in the ocen. The child thinks she's listening to a wonderful story about orcas, manatees, and harbor seals, but it's actually fascinating facts rendered in a lovely, dreamlike way. This was my four-year-old daughter's favorite out of all four of these new books.
Pieces of Another World I actually wrote a comprehensive review of Pieces of Another World right here on the KidsOutAndAbout.com site. Author Mara Rockliff and illustrator Salima Alikhan bring readers along with Jody on a nighttime excursion with her father to see a meteor shower. Click here for the review.
Carolina's Story: Sea Turtles Get Sick Too! Carolina's Story is a non-fiction photo-documentary of the story of Carolina, a sea turtle who was afflicted with turtle flu. When she washed up on the shores of South Carolina, she was rescued by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Turtle Rescue Team. Photographer Barbara Bergwerf beautifully documents Carolina's rescue, recovery, and eventual release, with the story narrated simply and elegantly by author Donna Rathmell.
© 2005, Debra Ross