Book Review: The Dance of the Violin

Joshua loves making music, even with everyday household items. His parents feed into his passion, buying Joshua a violin. Deciding that he wants to play a difficult piece in a Kalamazoo competition, Joshua practices with his teacher to perfect his performance. Joshua chooses this song because he can hear, see, and feel its captivating story. Once at the competition, Joshua stumbles on his first try, tumbling an imaginary dancer onto her face. The piece falls flat. Not yet defeated and determined, a brave Joshua asks the judge to try again. The music comes alive in his mind, the room disappears, and although the reader never learns the outcome of the competition, the actual winner is irrelevant. Joshua has achieved his goal and demonstrated his enthusiastic talent for music. Joshua’s ambition and story is based on a real person, Joshua Bell, who is now a talented classical violinist. The Dance of…

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Book Review: The Fog by Kyo Maclear

Warble the warbler lives in Icy Land where he loves to people watch. One day, a dense fog rolls in but none of the other inhabitants seem to notice or care. Soon, Icy Land becomes Fog Land, and everyone falls into a new pattern of blindness, forgetting how visible life used to be. Deteriorating into the same disinterested haze, Warble is awoken from his stupor by the sound of a singing child. Together, the pair decides to reach out to the rest of the world using little origami boats to see if anyone else is conscious of the fog. As the duo receives more and more responses, the fog begins to lift. Award-winning Maclear creates a beautifully messaged tale about environmental conscious, friendship, connectivity, and humanity. Although a slightly more abstract concept for younger children, The Fog is a great lap-read for preschool-aged children to third graders. Paired with Maclear’s…

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Review: Liam Takes A Stand

Lister and Lester are identical twins, who like typical brothers, copy and compete with each other. Their younger brother, Liam, is of course left out and just wants to play. The first day of summer, Lister and Lester open rivaling lemonade stands and spend all of their earnings on gimmicks to appeal to their respective customers. The twins eventually go into debt, even owing their parents money. Although little, Liam is an opportunist and opens a cost efficient, specialty apple juice stand. In exchange for playtime, Liam hires his twin brothers to come work for him to help pay off their debt. Opening a business is tough. Suitable for kindergarten to third graders, Liam Takes A Stand is a picture book about family and hard work mixed in with a little youth entrepreneurship. Although I am not a huge fan of the disproportionate body parts—big ears, overly skinny legs, too…

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