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Nonfiction Monday: Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Enter If You Dare – Not your Mama’s Nonfiction

2010 December 5

Welcome to Nonfiction Monday! I can’t tell you how glad I am that you’re here … Please add a link to your contribution in the comments and I’ll be back throughout the day to update this post. Since there are folks who get their contribution up early, I’m posting this Sunday evening. [Oh, what a horrible host ... I forgot the logo!! It's here now, though."

The first day Catherine browsed the book fair at school, she asked if we could get a Ripley's Believe It or Not! book. A couple days later we went to the book fair together. [Me, miss a chance to browse children's books? Not a chance! But I digress ...]

Ripleys for kidsBecause it was VIP day, the library was packed with people, and Catherine started wiggling her way through the crowd. She made a beeline to the spot where Enter If You Dare! was on display. I had a review copy waiting on the TBR shelf, so I assured her that she could read one at home.  Let’s just say she devoured it … over and over and over again.

Now, I generally love to hear “Mom, listen to this …” and then have Catherine read a passage or two from a book. No more. There is no shortage of bizarre, gnarly, gruesome, downright gross stuff.  This is not my kind of nonfiction. But that’s okay, it’s not meant for me.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Enter if You Dare! has clearly grabbed its intended audience. Catherine has spent h-o-u-r-s moving back and forth among the pages. She will also see something and pull out a fact that she recalls from the book! Can’t ask more from a book than that!

Catherine says every kid should read this … I’ll vote for borrowing it at the library!

Happy Monday. As an added bonus, today, I have the pleasure of including a link to YALSA’s list of five finalists for the Excellence in Nonfiction Award (2010)

‘Tis the Season

Susan Thomsen has some wonderful suggestions (and a great pic!) from her recent trip to the New York Botanical Garden. At Chicken Spaghetti she ha a BIG selection listed in Nature Books for Kids (or Spying at the NY Botanical Garden). Warning: If you don’t like cold weather, be aware that she uses the S word (snow!)

At Points West, Beth gives a 4-stars to Hanukkah Around the World by Tami Lehman-Wilzig, illustrated by Vicki Wehrman (Kar-Ben Publishing, 2009). “The book is a visually appealing glimpse into Jewish customs around the world. Great for browsing, and likely to spark interest in further reading (and cooking).”

Margo also celebrates Nonfiction Monday with a Hanukkah book. She reviews the recently released Jackie’s Gift: A True Story of Christmas, Hanukkah and Jackie Robinson, by Sharon Robinson and E. B. Lewis (Viking 2010) at The Fourth Musketeer. “I thought this was a delightful holiday story, enriched by E.B. Lewis’ trademark watercolor illustrations, which lend a nostalgic mood to the 1940′s setting.  I would recommend this book for Jewish and Christian families alike, since it offers a subtle message of accepting all religious faiths which is well-suited to the holiday season.”

Mammals: from Awww to Ick

Catherine Nichols found Bones: Skeletons and How they Work by Steve Jenkins (Scholastic, 2010) a perfect complement to her recent visit to the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, PA. At The Cat in the Hat blog, she explains how Jenkins’ book captures that same sense of wonder she felt looking at the museum displays. “The book concludes with a fascinating section featuring more facts about bones … Jenkins’ extraordinary cut-paper collages reinforce the text and greatly add to a reader’s understanding.”

At Bookends (a Booklist blog) Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rhutan share their collaborative thoughts on Nic Bishop Lizards byNic Bishop (Scholastic, 2010). ”If you are in the habit of only giving fiction books for holiday gift giving, consider mixing it up this year. Lizards would make a great gift for many young readers…and I bet the adults in their lives will be checking it out too.”

Shirley Duke admits that she read Nest, Nook, and Cranny by Susan Blackaby (Charlesbridge, 2010) “for the science.” But she tells you that based on the endpapers alone she was “hooked before she read a word.” How often do you have that reaction? Wow! Read more in her review at Simply Science,

When a review starts with “Grab your scuba gear” (and today’s high 25 degrees where you live), you know you have a winner! Dad of Divas shares his review of Oceans: Dolphins, Sharks, Penguins and More (National Geographic Kids) by Johnna Rizzo; photographs by Sylvia A. Earle (National Geographic, 2010) at Book Dads. “You will learn amazing facts about all kinds of sea animals , a trench in the sea, mountains on the ocean floor, and more. Beautiful photographs, taken by Sylvia, enhance the text. The text is written in easy to read and understand language so all ages would enjoy this book.”

Here is another “awwww” inspiring book: Pugs are the Best! by Elaine Landau (Lerner Publications, Inc., 2011). Kim Hutmacher not only reviews this upcoming title in Lerner’s Best Dog Ever series at Wild About Nature! she also is giving away a copy.

“Who knew that a book about worms could be so darned cute and interesting?” Well, Abby Johnson discovered that they are! Head over to Abby the Librarian to read her review of Yucky Worms by Vivian French, illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg (Candlewick, 2010).

ZooBorns: The Newest, Cutest Animals from the World’s Zoos and Aquariums by Andrew Blieman and Chris Eastland (Simon & Schuster, 2010). If the title doesn’t make you say “awww,” then check out the photos Aaron Mead includes in his review at Children’s Books and Reviews. “This picture book boasts attractive photos, interesting and rare animals, and stirs children to value conservation and the natural environment … This book would make a great holiday gift!”

Human Mammals (aka Biography)

In her review of Kubla Khan: Emperor of Everything at Shelf-Employed, Lisa Taylor shares some of the bits of history, biography, geography, and culture captured in this picture book. “Krull writes in a familiar, easily accessible style, yet she still conveys the majesty and immensity of Kubla Kahn’s empire … [illustrator Robert Byrd's] folk art style illustrations complement and enhance Krull’s storytelling, colorfully depicting the vastness of the Chinese empire and the resplendence of Kubla Khan’s court, while conveying the sensibilities and possibilities of the time period. Every page is richly illustrated.”

You may already know that twins, NFL players, and UVA grads (sorry, couldn’t resist) Ronde and Tiki Barber have a series of sports-oriented stories for kids. Most of them are fiction. Teammates, written with Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Barry Root (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 2006) is an autobiographical look at their shared childhood. Mary Ann Scheurer, who admits she is not a knowledgeable football fan, says ”this book grabbed my attention, made me care about the characters and helped me see the value of practice. It would make a great gift for football-loving little kids.” You can read her full review at Great Kid Books.

To Grandmother’s House We Go

… by plane! Jeff Barger reviews Planes: A National Geographic Reader by Amy Shields at NC Teacher Stuff. It is impossible to pull just one quote from Jeff’s review, as he fills it with so many ideas on how to use the book, not only as a nonfiction text for new readers, but also as a window into other learning.

… through public space. I know, it’s a stretch. Just ignore me and go read Tammy Flander’s review of Watch This Space; Designing, Defending, and Sharing Public Spaces by Hadley Dyer, illustrated by Marc Ngui (Kids Can Press, Limited, 2010). From her review at Apples with Many Seeds. (Love that blog name!): “Watch This Space helps define what exactly constitutes public space (both virtual and reality-based), how public spaces help create a sense of community and why this is important. It addresses very real issues from how spaces are regulated, to the accommodation of special groups such as young people in general, skateboarders, graffiti artists, and advertisers and finally, it encourages young people to get involved in finding a voice for themselves when it comes to public spaces.”


Book cover and title links for Enter If You Dare! go to The Reading Tub has an affiliate relationship with Amazon, as it is a passive fundraising tool for our literacy mission. No other books are linked to Amazon.

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17 Responses leave one →
  1. Abby
    December 6, 2010

    I am so, so late (sorry!), but I’ve got a review of YUCKY WORMS by Vivian French:

    Thanks for hosting!!!
    Abby recently posted..Yucky Worms

  2. Susan T.
    December 6, 2010

    Terry, Enter If You Dare sounds like just the kind of book Jr. would eat up. Thanks for the recommendation (and the tip for borrowing).
    Susan T. recently posted..Quite a Few Nature Books for Kids- or Spying at the New York Botanical Garden

  3. Shirley Duke
    December 6, 2010

    I have Nest, Nook & Cranny by Susan Blackaby at SimplyScience. Sorry I’m late!

  4. Tammy Flanders
    December 6, 2010

    Hi Terry.
    Thanks for hosting today’s event.
    I’ve posted about Watch This Space which looks at the importance of public space, how we use it and how young people can claim some of it for their own. Great curriculum potential.
    Thanks again.
    Tammy Flanders recently posted..Living in spaces

  5. Susan T.
    December 6, 2010

    Hey, Terry. Thank you for rounding up. Chicken Spaghetti is in with a post, “Quite a Few Nature Books for Kids, or Spying at the New York Botanical Garden.”

  6. Beth
    December 6, 2010

    I’ve got a review up for HANUKKAH AROUND THE WORLD at
    Beth recently posted..Book Review- Hanukkah Around the World

  7. Lynn Rutan
    December 6, 2010

    Cindy Dobrez and I are review Nic Bishop Lizards today on Bookends Thanks for hosting!
    Lynn Rutan recently posted..Nic Bishop Lizards by Nic Bishop

  8. Catherine Nichols
    December 6, 2010

    Thanks for hosting! My post for Nonfiction Monday is a review of Bones by Steve Jenkins. It’s at:

  9. Margo/Fourth Musketeer
    December 6, 2010

    Check out my review of a new holiday release, Jackie’s Gift: A True Story of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Jackie Robinson, by Sharon Robinson.

    Here’s the link:
    Margo/Fourth Musketeer recently posted..Nonfiction Monday Book Review for Hanukkah- Jackies Gift- A True Story of Christmas- Hanukkah and Jackie Robinson- by Sharon Robinson and E B Lewis Viking- 2010

  10. Aaron Mead
  11. Chris (@Book_Dads)
    December 6, 2010

    Nice review! I can see a lot of dads enjoying this with their kids as well!

    I have National Geographic Kids: Oceans for review over at Book Dads for NonFiction Monday:

    Thanks for hosting!
    Chris (@Book_Dads) recently posted..Book Review- National Geographic Kids – Oceans- Dolphins- sharks- penguins- and more!

  12. Kim
    December 6, 2010

    It’s week 2 of our holiday giveaway at Wild About Nature blog! This week, we are reviewing and giving away a copy of Elaine Landau’s PUGS ARE THE BEST. We hope you will stop by, read the review and enter to win your very own copy.

    Thank you for hosting this week!

  13. Shelf-employed
    December 6, 2010

    My son is fascinated by the Ripley’s books as well. They are seldom on the shelves at the library – always checked out.

    My post today is on Katherine Krull’s Kubla Khan: The Emperor of Everything. Thanks, Lisa

  14. Mary Ann Scheuer
    December 6, 2010

    Hi Terry,

    Thanks for hosting – the Ripleys book sounds great! I’m sure it would be a hit at our library! Today I’ve added to my “Ways to Give a Book” feature, with a great book for football-loving kids: Teammates, by Tiki and Ronde Barber. It would make a great gift with a football for little hands. Come check it out!

    As always, I have been hugely inspired by Pam at MotherReader, for her wonderful ideas giving books and gifts. Many thanks, Pam, for setting such a great example!

    Mary Ann
    Mary Ann Scheuer recently posted..Football tikes- a ball for little hands and Teammates- by Tiki and Ronde Barber ages 6 – 10

  15. Jeff
    December 5, 2010

    Hi Terry! Thanks for hosting. I can understand the love for Ripley’s. I was endlessly fascinated as a kid. I have posted a review of Planes this week:
    Jeff recently posted..Nonfiction Monday – Planes- National Geographic Reader

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