Rummanah Aasi
  I got another great batch of picture books from the Monarch Book Awards.  The Monarch books are a great way to highlight some terrific books for K-3 readers. Today I'll be reviewing Swirl by Swirl, One, and Brothers at Bat.

Description (from Goodreads): A Caldecott medalist and a Newbery Honor-winning poet celebrate the beauty and value of spirals.What makes the tiny snail shell so beautiful? Why does that shape occur in nature over and over againbut also celebrate the beauty and usefulness of this fascinating shape.

Review: Swirl by Swirl is a wonderful introduction to natural science for young readers. The text is very simple, usually containing descriptive words to explain how nature has different spirals and the many ways it is used. The illustrations are amazing- eye catching, colorful, and full of such detail and color that I lingered on the pages much longer just to capture everything on the page. Fun and educational, Swirl by Swirl has now made me aware of the many spiral shapes around me after reading this book.

Rating: 4 stars

Curriculum Connection:

Words of Caution: None.
Recommended for Grades K-3.

If you like this book try:
Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner, A Butterfly is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston

Description: Blue is a quiet color. Red’s a hothead who likes to pick on Blue. Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple don’t like what they see, but what can they do? When no one speaks up, things get out of hand — until One comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count.

One is a deceptively simply book that can be read on many levels. On the surface, young readers can learn about colors and counting. If you take a closer look, however, the book has a powerful message on the subject of bullying- how it feels to be bullied, actions to take to stop bullying, etc.
  The art in One is very minimalist. There is basically a dot and/swirls of watercolor paint to depict the characters in the story. Though the artwork isn't much to look at, the antibullying message will resonant with readers much longer.

4 stars

Words of Caution:
None. Recommended for Grades K-2.

If you like this book try:
Zero by Kathryn Otoshi

Description (from Goodreads): The Acerra family had sixteen children, including twelve ball-playing boys. It was the 1930s, and many families had lots of kids, but only one had enough to field a baseball team . . . with three on the bench! The Acerras were the longest-playing all-brother team in baseball history. They loved the game, but more important, they cared for and supported each other and stayed together as a team. Nothing life threw their way could stop them.

Compared to today's standards, I come from a large family but I can't imagine living in a house of 15 other siblings. That's insane! Brothers at Bat is an engaging story that details the lives of the Acerra brothers who all played their favorite sport, Baseball, until the World War II in which they served the army and later when on with their lives. Based on a real family, I was unaware of the Acerras story and I liked how the book pulled me in since I'm not really a fan of baseball and gave a true sense of how closely knitted the family was. The illustrations definitely has a retro-feel that perfectly fits to the stories historical context. I'd definitely would recommend this book to young readers who enjoy sports.

4 stars

Words of Caution:
None. Recommended for Grades 1-3.

If you like this book try:
We are the Ship by Kadir Nelson, Hey Batta Batta Swing! by Sally Cook
3 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    A definite yes to Swirl by Swirl Rummanah! My niece is in a dinosaur phase at the moment, but it extends to anything nature-related really, so I think she would be absolutely fascinated by this book:)

  2. Candace Says:

    The first two sound great! I'm a little curious about the third even though none of us are really very interested in ball, the story still sounds good. My dad comes from a family of 13 kids.

  3. Wow, what a great group of books you got. I know a little girl who would love all three of these books! My niece is starting kindergarten but has a brother who is on scholarship playing baseball in high school, she plays t-ball, her dad coaches baseball, and her older brother is VP of operations at the minor league baseball stadium in the city. So between the science, the bullying and the baseball, these would all be perfect for her! Everyone reads to her while she's learning to do it for herself. I might just have to get these for her.

    Great reviews of all of these!!

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