Friday, March 21, 2014


Jim Henson: The Guy Who Played With Puppets.
By Kathleen Krull
Illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
Published by Random House
Copyright © 2011

“Can you tell me how to get… to Sesame Street.” There are very few children in America who have never encountered Sesame Street or other odd looking puppets. And this is due in part to the vision and artistry of Jim Henson.

“The Guy Who Played with Puppets” is a simple biography of Jim Henson the man who helped bring puppets to the mainstream and keep them there. So many of us begin our you lives with the likes of Big Bird and Elmo on Sesame Street and we reveled in the silly humor of the Muppets, who are still going strong. Jim Henson was a visionary who even helped bring “Jedi Master Yoda” to life in the original Star Wars Trilogy. Jim Henson truly was a visionary, and his legacy still lives on as many of his creations are still going strong.

This book is a great introduction to Jim Henson. It also provides a list of written sources and websites where students can find out more about creative genius.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


The Complete Maus
(25th Anniversary Edition)
By Art Spiegelman
Published by Pantheon Books
Copyright © 2011
Review by Anthony Kendrick

So, many people believe that graphic novels and comic books aren’t real literature, and that at most they are a low form of art and entertainment. Those people have not read “MAUS”. I have finally read this much acclaimed graphic novel and I found it to be one the most compelling and absorbing true stories of the Holocaust that I have ever read.

Maus tells the biographical and autobiographical story of Vladek, Anja, and Art Spiegelman. Vladek and Anja were Jews who lived in Poland at the beginning of World War II and they saw the horrors of German treatment of Jews throughout German occupied Europe. Against all odds they lived to tell the tale. Art is Vladek’s and Anja’s son and in addition to his parent’s story he shows and describes a little of how his parent’s ordeal effected his life and choices. What really makes this story unique is how the story is told graphically. The stark black and white drawings work perfectly with the equally blunt and depressing subject matter. Also you won’t ever forget who is who as each person is characterized as an animal based on their nationality; which is why the book is called Maus, because our main characters are Jewish and are portrayed as mice. These characterizations have connections to historic propaganda.

I found this book riveting for its honesty and accessibility.  Using this artistic form really opens up the holocaust to people who otherwise wouldn’t read a book about the subject. He also portrays it in such a way that you still feel the gravity of the event without being overcome by it. This is the perfect book to engage students (and adults alike) in the history of the holocaust. This is a five star book!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Foods of Ireland

A Taste of Culture Series

By Barbara Sheen

Kidhaven Press

Copyright © 2011
Review by Anthony Kendrick

Everybody fancies themselves a little Irish. Among the things that you need to do to be Irish is to eat Irish. When most people think of Irish food they think of Corned Beef and Cabbage. While this food is related to Irish Americans, it isn’t a traditional Irish dish.

So what do the Irish eat? “Foods of Ireland” provides a primer for young readers in the basics of traditional Irish cuisine. It covers the basic locally produced ingredients like butter, pork, potatoes, and etc. It also discusses and provides recipes for some simple traditional preparations, talks of the Irish affinity for tea, and presents tradition holiday related foods again with more recipes.

As a foodie I found this book to be a nice introduction to a complex subject, i.e. Irish gastronomy. I highly recommend it to young food lovers and those interested in their cultural heritage as it relates to food.