Mymcbooks's Blog

Keepsake that Educates!

Book Review/Giveaway: 2013 Fall Collection Titles from Sylvan Dell Publishing. Ends Nov 15th

Anyone Home

Anybody Home? by Marianne Berkes and illustrated by Rebecca Dickinson.

About the Book: Polly ‘Possum is looking for a new home to raise her expected babies. Along the way, she meets a wide variety of diurnal and nocturnal animals. She learns how they build and live in webs, nests, hives, shells, burrows, lodges, dens, caves, dreys, and even hollows. While those homes are perfect for those animals, they aren’t right for her. How does Polly find a home and will she find it in time? Animals in this book include: bat, beaver, bee, fox, mole, opossum, robin, spider, squirrel, turtle and woodpecker.

My Review: Polly is a pregnant possum in search of a new home to raise her soon to be born babies. So she goes from place to place asking if anyone has a spare room. She comes across a busy oak tree but there was no room for her as it’s occupied by Sammy the Spider, Robbie the bird whose babies are getting ready to hatch and Becky the Bee. So Polly tried the rock, pond, ground and a cave but they were occupied by other animals.

Finally Polly came across Woody the Woodpecker’s hole in a tree but he wasn’t in, the hole was empty. So Polly moved into the abandoned hollow and had her 12 babies.

It is so interesting to read about how animals use their homes not only to sleep but to protect themselves from predators, store food and hide from the bad weather.  Explore the activities in the back of the book. Learn about the Animal Homes, Name the Animal Home, Diurnal or Nocturnal and Polly’s map.

I recommend this book for classroom teaching.  The illustrations by Rebecca Dickinson are colorful and helps tell the story.

The Fort

The Fort on Fourth Street. A Story about the Six Simple Machines by Lois Spangler and Illustrated by Christina Wald

About the Book: When a young child decides to build a fort in the backyard, Grandpa comes forward to help. But they can’t do it alone—they get help from the six simple machines: lever, pulley, inclined plane, wheel and axle, screw, and wedge. Told in cumulative rhyme, similar to The House That Jack Built, this story follows grandfather and grandchild as they build a fort together from start to finish.

My Review: This a story about how Kathleen’s grandpa used six simple machines – A lever, an inclined plane, a pulley, some screws, a wedge, a wheels and axles to build her a fort for her and her friends, a fun place to play. Kathleen explains step by step how her grandpa used these tools to build the fort.

The last few pages of the book gives additional and educational material activities such as include matching the machine.

I recommend this book for classroom teaching.  The illustrations by Christina Wald are colorful and helps tell the story.

A Butterfly Called Hope

A Butterfly called Hope by NY Times best selling author Mary Alice Monroe with Linda Love, photography by Barbara J Bergwerf.

About the Book: The colorful flowers in Mama’s garden reveal a strange-looking creature. “What is it? Does it sting, does it bite?” Join in this photographic journey as the young girl and her mother care for the caterpillar. Watch as it transforms into a chrysalis and then emerges as a beautiful monarch butterfly. How can the young girl “claim” the butterfly as her own but still let it go free?

My Review: When a little girl called Hope spotted a bright yellow and black bug in her mom’s garden on a  milkweed leaf she called to her mother wanting to know if the bug will bite, sting me or make me sick?. Her mom told her not to be afraid that it wouldn’t hurt her and that the bug is a caterpillar which will later grow to become a beautiful butterfly. And when it did she named the Monarch butterfly Hope.

Explore the activities in the back of the book. Learn about the Monarch life cycle sequencing, the butterfly vocabulary matching activity, their generations and migrations and raising monarchs.

Photographs taken by Barbara Bergwerf capture the different stages of the caterpillar to a butterfly.  I recommend this book for classroom teaching and to children who loves butterflies.

Dino Tracker

Dino Tracks by Rhonda Lucas Donald and illustrated by Cathy Morrison

About the Book: Step back in time and follow dinosaur tracks around the world. Whether made by a few dinosaurs or large groups, these tracks provide clues to the movement and behavior of these lovable ancient creatures. What dinosaurs made the tracks and what do scientists think they were doing when they made them? The author tells the story in rhythmic rhyme that may be sung to the tune of Over the River and Through the Woods.

My Review: This story rhyme book gives an account of dinosaur’s footprint.

“T’was quite long ago in Hadley, Mass., a farm boy plowed a field. What he turned up, created a fuss – what had his work revealed?

Across the cast surface of stone so hard, huge three toed prints abound.

They looked like a bird, but the size – my word!

Fossil dino tracks he’d found!”

The tracks of the dinosaurs show how they move and eat. Some tracks shows a lone dino or a herd of dinosaurs. Some tracks measures higher than a small tire and other’s a few inch dot.  While some show a gliding bump in the sand with short hop and walking on all fours. Dinosaurs lived in warm places but their tracks were also found in the North Pole.

If you have children that love Dinosaurs then this is the book for them. Explore the activities in the back of the book, the Dinosaurs True or False activity – All dinosaurs walked upright on two feet. Dinosaurs’ puzzles and scientists – How do we really know that dinosaurs once roamed this earth? Dinosaur Tracks – Who big is the footprint of a dinosaur?  Learn about Dinosaurs locations around the world. I recommend this book.

A Day in the Deep

A Day in the Deep by Kevin Kurtz and Illustrated by Erin E Hunter.

About the Book: Travel deep into the ocean way below the surface and you’ll encounter some creatures you never knew existed! This book takes you on a journey through the dark depths of the sea towards the ocean floor. Most ecosystems need sunlight, but deep in the ocean where the sun doesn’t shine animals have adapted some very interesting ways to see, protect themselves, and eat. Discover the unique habitats, adaptations, and food chains of these deep -sea creatures.

About the Author: Kevin Kurtz is also the author of A Day in the Salt Marsh and A Day on the  Mountain. He has loved science, nature, and books since he was a kid. As an adult, he has worked as an educator for organizations such as the South Carolina Aquarium and the Science Factory Children’s Museum, and also onboard the research ship the JOIDES Resolution during an expedition in the South Pacific. Kevin currently lives in upstate New York, where he continues to write and visit schools to teach children about the wonders of nature. Visit Kevin’s website.

The Perfect Pet

The Perfect Pet by Samantha Bell

About the Book: After begging for a pet, a child’s mother finally says “yes.” But which animal will be the best pet? Using animal classification and habitat needs, the child narrows it down from Kingdom Animalia, through invertebrates to vertebrates. Reptiles and amphibians are out, and birds and fish are soon off the list. That leaves mammals, but which one? An elephant won’t fit through the door, and a tiger would be too hard to walk. What’s a child to do?

About the Author: The Perfect Pet is Samantha’s debut picture book with Sylvan Dell. Her stories, poems, and articles have been published both online and in print, including e-zines and magazines such as Wee Ones Children’s Magazine, My Light, Guardian Angel Kids E-zine, Learning Through History, Boys’ Quest, and Clubhouse Jr., and accepted for publication by Hopscotch for Girls. Her picture book, It’s Birthday Time, Jake!, was released in 2010 by Guardian Angel Publishing; she has also illustrated Shaping up the Year, As I Watch, Growing Up Dreams, Cinderfella and the Furry Godmother, One Pelican at a Time, and Sea Turtle Summer. Samantha also writes instructional text for her website that features art lessons for children and adults, She served for two years as the managing editor of the Pen & Palette, the newsletter of SCBWI-Carolinas Chapter. Samantha is a homeschooling mom who keeps her constantly on her toes or in the car. A native of sunny central Florida, Samantha Bell grew up in an area brimming with wildlife; now living in the upstate of South Carolina with her husband and four children, she’s found there is lots of room for the family’s animal friends. Visit her website at

Animal Helper Zoos

Animal Helpers Zoos by Jennifer Keats Curtis

About the Book: Zoos are amazing places to see and learn about the many native and exotic of animals that inhabit this world. Some animals are plentiful while others are threatened or in danger of extinction. Zookeepers not only feed and care for these animals, they may also be helping to conserve and protect whole species through breeding and “head start” programs. Follow the extraordinary duties of these unusual animal helpers in this behind-the-scenes photographic journal.

About the Author: Award-winning nature author Jennifer Keats Curtis is  frequently found among students and teachers, talking about literacy and  conservation. In addition to the Animal Helpers series, Baby Owl’s  Rescue, and Turtles In My Sandbox for Sylvan Dell, some of her other  recent titles include Seahorses, Osprey Adventure and Saving Squeak: The Otter  Tale. Recently honored with the SoMIRAC Literacy Award for Outstanding Contributions to Literacy. Jennifer resides in Maryland with her family and a wide variety of pets. Visit her  website at

FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of these books from Sylvan Dell Publishing in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion in any way.

All pages: 32

Sylvan Dell Publishing

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

Giveaway (US ONLY)

There will be ONLY 1 Winner

Select any 2 Books

Comments like these would be deleted – Great contest, Please enter me, Love to win this! This is so cute! So please leave a helpful comment relating to this book.

PLEASE FOLLOW ALL MANDATORY RULES – Rules not followed will be deleted immediately.

Mandatory: You must leave your comments with the name of any 2 books in the comment field below

Mandatory: You must Blog, twitter, facebook, pinterest or tell a friend about this giveaway. Please note that in your comments. Thanks

Don’t forget to leave your email address for contact if you win.

Giveaway Ends Nov 15th

The winner will be selected via


If you have a Blog, twitter, facebook, pinterest etc post this giveaway and leave a link with your comment below.

AND DON’T FORGET to Select any 2 Books

This Giveaway Has Ended!

I’ve decided to select two winners instead of one via

Winners are #6 – Mel Bourn and #9 – Carol L


October 13, 2013 - Posted by | Book Review, Free Giveaways | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Thanks, Ella, for the nice review of “Dino Tracks” and Sylvan Dell’s other fine fall offerings. As an author, there’s nothing better than having readers enjoy my work!

    Rhonda Lucas Donald (804) 732-0326 mobile: (804) 943-8635

    Brown Tabby Writing Services 1737 Fairfax St. Petersburg, VA 23805

    Dino Tracks is out now! And Deep in the Desert is a silver medal winner in the 2011 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards! Both from Sylvan Dell Publishing and online bookstores.

    Comment by Rhonda Lucas Donald | October 13, 2013 | Reply

  2. Love Dino Tracks &A Day in the Deep. Great selections of books. These all look like great reads!

    Comment by lisa | October 13, 2013 | Reply

  3. All sound like great books to have. Would choose Anybody Home and Dino Tracks.
    4.Pinned to Pinterest(

    Comment by Lori Thomas | October 13, 2013 | Reply

  4. My kids would love Dino Tracks and Animal Helpers Zoos! makeighleekyleigh at yahoo dot com
    I tweeted:

    Comment by Megan Parsons | October 13, 2013 | Reply

  5. Dino Tracks and A Day in the Deep sound like books that my kids would be interested in and enjoy learning from!

    Tweeted here:

    khmorgan_00 [at] yahoo [dot] com

    Comment by Kristie | October 14, 2013 | Reply

  6. I’d choose The Fort on Fourth Street and A Butterfly called Hope because these are topics my grandchildren are studying in school.

    Comment by Teresa Young | October 14, 2013 | Reply

  7. I love these kinds of books. Between books I use in the classroom, homeschooling my own kids, and reading to my Goddaughter, Sylvan Dell is one of my favorite places to get books. The Fort on Fourth Street and Anybody Home? would make wonderful additions to our ever growing library.


    bournmelissa at hotmail dot com

    Comment by Mel Bourn (@MelCamino5) | October 14, 2013 | Reply

  8. I like The Fort on Fourth Street and Anybody Home. I like the educational concepts that these two books teach in a fun way, simple machines and animal homes.

    Comment by Merry | October 14, 2013 | Reply

  9. A great giveaway chance. All good books. I’d go with Dino Tracks and Anybody Home. Shared on Pinterest too. Here’s the link.

    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    Comment by carol L | October 19, 2013 | Reply

  10. a day in the deep and the perfect pet thank you for the giveaway. nice selection of titles.

    Comment by Maureen Downing | October 26, 2013 | Reply

  11. I think my gkids would love these;

    Comment by Diana Montgomery | October 26, 2013 | Reply

  12. Dino Tracks and A Day in the Deep would be the 2 I would pick! My kid would enjoy these!
    makeighleekyleigh at yahoo dot com

    Comment by Megan Parsons | October 26, 2013 | Reply

  13. Great giveaway. We would love to have “A day in the Deep,” and “Dino Tracks.” I shared your post via Pinterest ( and on Twitter (

    Comment by Elle (@Cleverlychangin) | October 31, 2013 | Reply

  14. Anybody Home? and Dino Tracks would be great books to teach students about animals. They could teach them about rhyme, while also teaching about habitats.

    Comment by Abbie | November 3, 2013 | Reply


    Dino Track and A Day in the Deep would be books my grandson would love! He has just started watching Dinosaur Train and would relate to Dino Track. My daughter-in-law has his room decorated in an under the water theme so he would love A Day in the Deep, too! Thank you for the giveaway!

    Comment by Carol M | November 4, 2013 | Reply

  16. Dino tracks & animal helpers zoo. My son is addicted to dinosaurs and my girls love animals!!!

    Comment by Amy | November 5, 2013 | Reply

  17. Your reviews and the abouts on the books are making it hard to pick just two. The two I would choose are A Day in the Deep and Dino Tracks. These are two topics that interest my nephew and it is getting harder and harder to pull him away from the computer and stay with a book.

    Comment by Diane S | November 6, 2013 | Reply

  18. I want the Fort on fourth street and a butterfly called hope. They both sound interesting to me so I think my son would like them too. I just found this site but will be telling my mom who teaches and a friend of mine about this in the morning.

    Comment by Danielle Jones | November 6, 2013 | Reply

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