Monday, March 28, 2011

Nonfiction Monday: Electrifying Eco-Race Cars by Michael Sandler

You are probably sick of hearing me complaining about nonfiction. Too expensive! Binding not worth what's inside! Won't actually interest kids! So we are going to take a little break from the down-down-down and look at some books from the librarian's friend, Bearport Publishing.

I discovered Bearport about two years ago and now every January, when I order my series, I spend large amounts of time drooling over their sparkling catalogs. So far, I have added to my library series on snakes, spiders, scary places, big machines, and cats. EVERY SINGLE ONE has been popular. In fact, someone even stole one of the snake books! Library bound nonfiction doesn't often get stolen, in my experience.

So, I was very excited when Bearport offered me a selection from their new spring series to review. The first sample we're looking at here is from the new Fast Rides series. Electrifying Eco-Race Cars has all the hallmarks of a great Bearport series - great photographs and eye-catching illustrations, a unique topic that relates to a high-interest nonfiction topic, and smoothly written text that's accessible to a variety of ages and reading levels.

Instead of looking at the popular but generic topic of cars and race cars, or the much-purchased-but-the-kids-could-care-less topic of alternative forms of energy, Sandler combines the two and showcases an exciting range of race cars with alternative fuel sources, including wind, electricity, solar power, and chocolate! Interesting tidbits of information are sprinkled throughout, along with speed stats for the vehicles and information about the races they have run, won, or might someday participate in. More difficult vocabulary words are bolded and included in a glossary in the back as well as a brief bibliography of further reading and links to more information at the publisher's website. This book is an introduction to the topic, not an exhaustive discourse, so it doesn't address some of the issues like safety concerns - are those super light cars more susceptible to crashes? or the cost of manufacturing them. Kids who get hooked on the topic will be back for more information!

Verdict: When you're ready to update your racing section, this is the hands-down, top choice! Another reason why librarians should -and do- love Bearport is their library-bound nonfiction isn't just popular with the kids, it's affordable. With discounts, buying through your vendor or the publisher direct, each volume usually only costs about $15 which is a definitely reasonable amount for books that will receive a lot of use and are strongly bound.

ISBN: 9781617721373; Published April 2011 by Bearport; Review copy received from publisher.

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