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Book Review: Sylvan Dell Publishing 2012 Spring Collection Titles

Sylvan Dell Publishing Award-winning picture books that integrate Science, Math, and Geography . . . hardcover and paperback plus read-aloud eBooks with Spanish

2012 Spring Collection Titles

Gopher to the Rescue! A Volcano Recovery Story by Terry Catasus Jennings

About the Book: The forest animals are surprised when a volcano suddenly explodes, covering the land in gritty, warm ash and rocks that make it unlivable for many plants and animals. Gopher survives in his underground burrow with food to eat. How does Gopher help bring life back to the mountain? Scientists spent years observing life returning to the mountain following the eruption ofMount St. Helens onMay 18, 1980. This fictionalized story is based on their surprising observations of how life returns to an area that has been totally changed or destroyed.

My Review: In this book you will learn how the gopher saves the earth after a volcano eruption. How the gopher mixes the soil from his tunnels with the crusty ash, adding life giving nutrients. The nutrient helps plants to grow and the gopher helps the mountain to recover. The plants start to grow and animals start to return to the mountain. The book also includes four pages of learning activities about What and Where Are Volcanoes? Tectonic Plates, Natural Disasters and Habitat Changes and Hands On: Pressure and Melting. Interesting illustrations by Laurie O’Keefe helped bring the book to life.


Home in the Cave by Janet Halfmann


About the Book: Baby Bat loves his cave home and never wants to leave it. While practicing flapping his wings one night, he falls, and Pluribus Packrat rescues him. They then explore the deepest, darkest corners of the cave where they meet amazing animals—animals that don’t need eyes to see or colors to hide from enemies. Baby Bat learns how important bats are to the cave habitat and how other cave-living critters rely on them for their food. Will Baby Bat finally venture out of the cave to help the other animals?

My Review: A story about a young baby Bat who loves the cave so much that he is afraid to leave it. In other to hunt for food, his mother told him that he needs to practice how to fly so he can hunt for his own food. While hearing stories told by other baby bats how their mothers caught a gazillion mayflies, almost got snatched by an owl or flew between a fox’s sharp teeth he was even more certain that he will never leave the cave until he met Pluribus Packrat. He learnt from Packrat while showing him around the cave how important bats are to other animals. The food dropping helps provide food for other cave critters to eat. Baby Bat couldn’t wait to let his mom know that he practiced flapping his wings so that he will be ready to go hunting with her the next day.

The book also includes four pages of learning activities about Life in Caves Zones, Rock Formations, Cave Habitats, Hands On: Bat Echolocation, Compare and Contract: Bats, Birds and Humans and learn about Are Bats Good or Bad? The illustrations by Shennen Bersani are great and helps tell the story.


Three Little Beavers by Jean Heilprin Diehl


About the Book: Beatrix the beaver longs to be good at something. Her brother Bevan is an expert at repairing the lodge with mud and twigs. Her sister Beverly is a superb swimmer and underwater gymnast. What makes Beatrix stand out? One day, she runs away by swimming up the creek and finds some fresh garden plants to eat, and tasty trees to gnaw. When her siblings set off to find her, all Three Little Beavers wind up trapped! It takes some simple engineering on the part of the humans who set the traps, and Beatrix’s discovery of her special talents, for the people and beavers to finally find a way to live in harmony.

My Review: Great story told by the author. Teaching kids that it is okay to be an individual. Beatrix is not perfect and skillful as her brother Bevan and sister Beverly, but she wasn’t one to sit back and watch her siblings do all the work. All summer, she did her best to gnaw trees and stash branches, mend the lodge and dam and even try to dig a canal but something always seem to go wrong. She decided to leave home to find out what she is good at. Then she gets trapped in a cage but remained calm even when her siblings came to rescue her and got trapped as well. When they saw that Beatrix was calm and quiet, they too grew quiet until they were rescued by humans and built a habitat to accommodate them.

This book is prefect for children teaching them that it is okay to be an individual.  The book also includes four pages of learning activities about Beaver Fun Facts and Adaptations, Hands On: Lodges and Dams, Busy Beavers:Pestor Environment Engineers? Love the illustrations by Cathy Morrison which makes the book fun to read.

The Penguin Lady by Carol A. Cole


About the Book: Penelope Parker lives with penguins! Short ones, tall ones; young and old—the penguins are from all over the Southern Hemisphere including some that live near the equator! Do the penguin antics prove too much for her to handle? Children count and then compare and contrast the different penguin species as they learn geography.

My Review:  A book about Penelope Parker and the penguins sent to her from all over the world. On her birthday, her brother sent her one penguin from theGalapagosIsland. Then her sister gave her two Rockhopper penguins fromArgentina. Three Chinstrap penguins fromAntarctica were at her front porch, and the penguins just kept coming fromAfrica,Australia andFalkland Islands. The penguins became loud and messy that she had to call her local zoo rented a large truck and drove them to the zoo.

This book not only helps young readers learn about different types of penguins from around the world but teaches them about numbers.  It also includes four pages of learning activities about Compare and contract Penguin Adaptations, Penguins of the World: True or False Questions and Hands On: How Tall Are Penguins?


The Great Divide by Suzanne Slade


About the Book: Animals, like people, enjoy spending time with their friends and family. Many groups of animals have their own unique names. Did you know that a group of gorillas is called a band? And a bunch of billy goats is a tribe? Following in the footsteps of Multiply on the Fly (multiplication), What’s New at the Zoo? (addition) and What’s the Difference? (subtraction), this rhythmic, fun-to-read-aloud book introduces children to division as they conquer bands, tribes, mobs and more.

My Review: A book that teaches children basic division using animals and group name. Example, 15 * 3 =? Fifteen playful elephants, looking quite absurd, perform in three rings. How many in each herd? The illustrations by Erin E. Hunter are very beautiful and bold making it a pleasant read.  Also includes four pages of learning activities.


Disclaimer: As per FTC guidelines, I received a copy of this book from Sylvan Dell Publishing in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation. All opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.





March 13, 2012 - Posted by | Book Review | , ,


  1. Some really good books available Ella. Thank you again for bringing them to our attention.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at() aol (dot) com

    Comment by Carol L. | March 13, 2012 | Reply

  2. My daughter will love the Penguin Lady! That is a must buy! Thank you!!

    Comment by Kelly L | March 13, 2012 | Reply

  3. Ella, thanks so much for the nice review of my book. I appreciate it very much. Happy Reading to All!

    Comment by Janet Halfmann | March 13, 2012 | Reply

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