About SamiK

I'm a Library Director for a small(ish) Texas town with a desire to share my love of books and the library with my community.

Currently, I am working towards my MLS (Master of Library Science) from Texas Woman's University (my alma mater!).

When I'm not treading through a pile a school work and work work, I make precious memories with both my handsome men at home. Whether we are playing with the sand between our toes, making a campfire, or just taking in a movie at home, every moment is unique.

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October 29, 2015



1. Bibliography

Fleming, Candace. 2005. Our Eleanor: A Scrapbook Look at Eleanor Roosevelt's Remarkable Life. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers. ISBN 978-0-689-86544-2

2. Plot Summary

     Candace Fleming returns again with another award winning biography of one of America's greats. Readers will get to know Eleanor as the person rather than the elegant former First Lady in Fleming's unique scrapbook layout. Filled with quotes, photographs, and anecdotes, this book is sure to entice readers of all ages.   

3. Critical Analysis

     Fleming did an excellent job by using a unique layout and style to stand out amongst the many biographies of Eleanor Roosevelt. It is the personal feel that allows readers to connect to Eleanor on a deeper level than similar works.
     The pictures with captions and short snippets of information allows readers to enjoy the history without being overwhelmed by unnecessary tidbits. The organization is easy to follow as it is a mix of chronological and thematic but done so in a clever way. Readers are greeted with a contents page, timeline, and family tree before diving into the interesting details of a legend.

4. Review Excerpts

  • Reviews from VOYA, Booklist, SLJ, Horn Book Guide, and Publisher's Weekly. 
  • SLJ Best Books of the Year in 2005
  • ALA Notable Books for Children in 2005
  • "Each page is indulgently browsable, with well-chosen photographs pulling the reader's attention from one snippet of text to the next...An impressive index and ample source notes also make this title an excellent resource for primary source materials.-" -VOYA, 2005

5. Connections.

  • Include in a unit discussing First Ladies and/or other female greats.
  • Use in History (or English) class project in which students would create a scrapbook styled project around a specific time period, person, or place.
  • Display with other biographies.


1. Bibliography

Jenkins, Steve. 2005. Prehistoric Actual Size. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 978-0618-63578-1

2. Plot Summary

Jenkins captured readers, young and old alike, in 2004 with his distinct style in Actual Size. He does it again with this sequel that connects the distant past and the present. New fans are sure to be made when they see just what dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures may have looked like based on fossils and current similar animals.

3. Critical Analysis

      Although Jenkins does not give any reference to his sources, which would have been beneficial to those wanting to find more, the information contained is simple and clear.  It took a time or two to realize that the book is laid out chronologically. However, this does not necessarily affect the information provided.
    The illustrations, also done by Jenkins, capture the existence of creatures one could only imagine. I found the Saltopus (see picture below) most intriguing. The pronunciation of scientific names helped keep the work easy to read and understand.
This is my dachshund Evie. As you can see, she is not much smaller than the Saltopus. She was trying to outrun this quick runner. She wouldn't stand (or sit) still at all!

4. Review Excerpts

  • Reviews in Booklist, SLJ, Horn Book Guide, and Publisher's Weekly. 
  • "Chronologically from a dot-sized protozoan of 550 million years ago, Jenkins has chosen the animals and the portions of them to depict to great effect." School Library Journal, 2005             

5. Connections

  • Display with other Steve Jenkins books, such as the prequel Actual Size.
  • Include in a unit about dinosaurs.
  • For storytime, show children compare their height to those of some of the dinosaurs included.


1. Bibliography

Montgomery, Sy. 2010. Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot. Photographer Nic BishopBoston: Houghton Mifflin.  ISBN 978-0-618-49417-0

2. Plot Summary

Montgomery and Bishop share another one of their adventures through photographs and a first-hand retelling. In this book, readers are taken to the small Codfish Island off the New Zealand coast to recount the journey to save the nearly extinct Kakapo parrot.

3. Critical Analysis

      Despite my personal feelings toward the book, it was informative and unique. It is unfortunate that I did not like the story because I was intrigued by the concept. The duo had the makings for something great, but this one was a miss for me.
     As for accuracy, Montgomery and Bishop lived this experience. I don't know how you become a better authority than that! The organization of the book was easy to follow. Their enthusiasm was clear, but the attempt to include all the details overpowered the great story hidden inside
     What saves this book is the photographs. Bishop captured some beautiful shots of the landscape which helped to understand the isolation of the island. It is a highly recognized book, so it my personal preference of books that has hindered a positive review. My lack of interest in nonfiction, however, could be the reason that I was turned away by what I consider too much information.
     I commend the duo on the efforts to bring attention to such a need. It is their encouragement of future generations to be active and productive in the world that I give praise to this book.

4. Review Excerpts

  • Reviews in Booklist, Horn Book Guide, and SLJ
  • Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award, 2011.
  • ALA Notable Books for Children, 2011.
  • Young Hoosier Book Award, Nominee 2012.
  • Grand Canyon Reader Award, Nominee 2015.
  • "This debut novel shows the capacity of poetry to record the personal and translate it into the universal." -  Booklist, 2010.
  • "Excellent photos and a readable, conversational text provide an intimate look at a concerted effort to save a drastically endangered species unfamiliar to most of the world outside Down Under." - SLJ, 2010

5. Connections

  • Use as a discussion starter for animal extinction.
  • Pair with other stories on animals, especially those in extinction.
  • Have students create donation boxes/jars to help raise funds to send to The Kakapo Recovery Programme.
  • Use in a unit to discuss animal life of New Zealand.


Rating System

IT WAS AMAZING!!!! You should be at the book store right now buying it! :)
I really liked it. You should def check it out and give it a shot
It was ok. At least read the synopsis on the back.
Eh....It was alright. It's borrow from a friend material.
Leave it on the shelf!!


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Samantha has read 6 books toward her goal of 24 books.