January 30, 2017

A day with the Maple Leafs

A Day in the Life of the Maple Leafs
by Andrew Podnieks

A book of photographs (with Podnieks providing the captions), A Day in the Life of the Maple Leafs take readers behind-the-scenes as the Toronto Maple Leafs prepare for a game against the New York Rangers. Candid pics of the players and exciting action shots are the main draw; photos of suits in boardrooms less so.

Includes the game summary.

January 27, 2017

Blobfish and friends

The Blobfish Book
by Jessica Olien

A cartoon blobfish eagerly takes readers on a tour of the darkest ocean to show off the many creatures who live there. As each creature is introduced, the blobfish impatiently waits for more of its kind to appear. When one finally does, it's accompanied with these words: "The blobfish was once voted the world's ugliest animal." Poor blobfish! Thankfully, the other animals band together to cheer him up.

A very funny book that informs and entertains.

Good for ages three to six.

January 23, 2017

Perfectly pink!

Pink Is For Blobfish: Discovering the World's Perfectly Pink Animals
by Jess Keating
illustrations by David DeGrand

Pink tends to be a princessy, fluffy-kind of colour. But as you'll soon discover, pink is also gooey, fuzzy, bumpy, scaly, slimy, and hairy! Whether these pink animals are as cute as a pygmy seahorse, as pretty as an orchid mantis, or as ugly as a blobfish, they're all wonderfully unique.

A fun book for anyone who loves the colour pink!

January 20, 2017

Eat in colour!

Eat Your Greens, Reds, Yellows, and Purples: a colorful guide to things delicious and nutritious
(a DK Children’s Cookbook)

Eating a variety of foods makes for a healthy diet, and this cookbook makes it easy. It tells kids to eat a rainbow, which is not only colourful, but fun! The book is divided into five sections - greens, reds, purples, yellows, and oranges. Supplemented with tasty photographs, cartoon veggies, and some helpful prep pages, it's a good way to get kids eating their fruits and vegetables.

January 18, 2017

A feast for the senses

The Forest Feast for Kids: Colorful Vegetarian Recipes That Are Simple to Make
by Erin Gleeson

This is the most beautiful cookbook I have ever seen. Erin’s photographs are so brilliant and delicious that it is a pleasure to look at. The recipes themselves are really simple, with a minimum of ingredients and easy prep times, and an emphasis on fresh food and good taste.

Highly recommended.

January 16, 2017

Easy cookbook for preschool kids

Salad People and More Real Recipes
by Mollie Katzen

Parents and kids will have fun in the kitchen with this easy cookbook. There are twenty recipes, each prefaced with hints and safety tips to minimize mess. The instructions are meant for adults, with simplified, pictorial versions for children. The recipes are healthy, vegetarian, and less sugary than the dessert-filled options of many cookbooks for kids. With appealing titles like Tiny Tacos, Rainbow-Raisin Coleslaw, Counting Soup, Polka Dot Rice, and Sunrise Lemonade, it’ll get kids interested in food and cooking.

January 13, 2017

Coding careers

So, You Want to Be a Coder?
by Jane (J. M.) Bedell

The subtitle of this book pretty much says it all: The Ultimate Guide to a Career in Programming, Video Game Creation, Robotics, and More!  It covers the basics of what coding means, the skills and knowledge you need to pursue it, the many programming languages to choose from, and the myriad coding careers available. Interviews with young coders and tech industry employees provide insights into their day-to-day activities.

Since I have no interest in being a coder, this book didn't really do it for me, but for kids and teens who are currently into coding, it could be very useful. It could help them narrow down their career choices and encourage them to continue in the field.

January 11, 2017

How to Code

I remember taking an introductory computer course in high school, where we used punch cards to write programs. The commands and numbers were a complete mystery to me back then. They still are to some degree. So when I found these books in the library, I thought they might help. Unfortunately, I didn't have the patience to go through every exercise. While I got the sense that coding has gotten easier, the sheer number of steps is still very daunting to me. I suspect, however, that kids nowadays are a lot smarter and can learn about coding with a minimum of effort. But if they get stuck, they can refer to these books for more clarity. I liked their clean layouts, helpful diagrams, and clear instructions. Both books use Scratch as the programming language.

For ages 8 and up:

How to Code in 10 Easy Lessonsby Sean McManus

For ages 12 and up:

Adventures in Coding, by Eva Holland and Chris Minnick

January 9, 2017

Think like a computer

Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding
by Linda Liukas

Part storybook and part activity book, Hello Ruby introduces four to six-year-olds to computer concepts like sequences, pattern recognition, variables, algorithms, data structures, loops, and debugging. It doesn't teach them how to code, but how to think computationally. 

This book is best read when accompanied by an adult to ensure that the concepts are clearly understood. If children still come away with no interest in coding, the book at least shows them how to solve problems in creative ways.