Exquisite Eels: A Review of The Superpower Field Guide: Eels

butler super power field guide eels

The Superpower Field Guide: Eels
By Rachel Poliquin
Illustrated by Nicholas John Frith
July 23, 2020
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Grades 4-7

The latest entry into The Superpower Field Guide series is just as electrifying as the last three! In this Superpower Field Guide, Poliquin does a deep dive into the mystery of the European Eel that has baffled scientists for centuries. Following one such eel named Olenka, Polquin reveals the ten different superpowers of the European Eel, the life cycle of these eels, and uncovers the mystery of their birth. Sprinkled with fun facts, quizzes, and 50’s style illustrations, Poliquin will completely change how you see and think about European Eels!

It’s clear from the start that Poliquin has done her research on all things eel, informing readers of the difference between imposter eels like the electric eel and true eels like the European Eel. Backmatter includes a glossary, list of books for further reading, and videos for interested readers. Frith illustrations give the field guide a retro style, reminiscent of field guides made by the boy scouts. Interesting and entertaining this is book can be enjoyed by everyone—not just marine biologists!

Butler Bookshelf

What brings us comfort these days? Lately, it’s what’s familiar–which is why we’re so excited to spotlight so many series in this week’s Butler Bookshelf. Looking for fantasy and adventure? Pick up the latest Will Wilder! Perhaps a heartwarming animal tale? We suggest Poppy the most recent American Dog installment. For more ideas, check out the list below!

Will Wilder #3: The Amulet of Power
Written by Raymond Arroyo
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers
Available now!

The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane
Written by Kate O’Shaughnessy
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made (Film Tie-In Edition)
Written and illustrated by Stephan Pastis
Published by Candlewick Entertainment
Available now!

Jasmine Green Rescues: A Piglet Called Truffle
Written by Helen Peters and illustrated by Ellie Snowdon
Published by Walker Books
Available now!

A to Z Mysteries Super Edition #12: Space Shuttle Scam
Written by Ron Roy and illustrated by John Steven Gurney
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Poppy (American Dog)
Written by Jennifer Li Shotz
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Available April 7, 2020!

Butler Bookshelf

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Top on our TBR list? A story about a girl, her grandmother, and an alternate reality–steeped in magic. Diana Abu-Jaber’s Silverworld has us longing to cast spells and learn from our elders. For more great reads, check out the list below!

Silverworld
Written by Diana Abu-Jaber
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Awesome Dog 5000 vs. Major Bossypants (Book 2)
Written by Justin Dean
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Golden Arm
Written by Carl Deuker
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Available on April 7, 2020

On The Horizon
Written by Lois Lowry and illustrated by Kenard Pak
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Available on April 7, 2020

Bloom (The Overthrow Book 1)
Written by Kenneth Oppel
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Available now!

The Twin
Written by Natasha Preston
Published by Delacorte
Available now!

Brave (American Dog)
Written by Jennifer Li Shotz
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Available on April 7, 2020

Taking the Reins (An Ellen & Ned Book)
Written by Jane Smiley
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Stargirl (Movie Tie in Edition)
Written by Jerry Spinelli
Published by Ember
Available now!

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee
Written by Jeff Zentner
Published by Ember
Available now!

Butler Bookshelf

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This week on the Butler Bookshelf, we’ve delving into breakups. Friend breakups. In When Your Were Everything, Ashley Woodfolk explores what happens when a teenage friendship implodes, going from nourishing to destructive. For lighter fare, there are also some great new reads like My Life As A Potato and The Third Mushroom, check out the list below for more!

Amelia Fang and the Rainbow Rangers
Written by Laura Ellen Anderson
Published by Delacorte Books For Young Readers
Available March 31, 2020

My Life As A Potato
Written by Arianne Costner
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers
Available now!

What Matters Most
Written by Emma Dodd
Published by Templar
Available now!

The Third Mushroom
Written by Jennifer L. Holm
Published by Yearling
Available now!

Superhero Mom
Written By Timothy Knapman and illustrated by Joe Berger
Published by Nosy Crow
Available now!

The Fabled Life of Aesop: The extraordinary journey and collected tales of the world’s greatest storyteller
Written by Ian Lendler and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Available now!

When You Were Everything
Written by Ashley Woodfolk
Published by Delacorte Press
Available now!

Butler Bookshelf

butlerbookshelf2.25.jpgThis week’s Butler Bookshelf features some excellent nonfiction picks, including some great read-a-louds like Poems Aloud, written by Joseph Coehlo and illustrated by Daniel Gray-Barnett. Check out the list below for more!

The Surprising Lives of Animals
Written by Anna Claybourne and illustrated by Stef Murphy
Published by QEB Publishing
Available now!

Poems Aloud
Written by Joseph Coehlo and illustrated by Daniel Gray-Barnett
Published by Wide Eyed Editions
Available now!

The Truth App (Liars Book 1)
Written by Jack Heath
Published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Available now!

This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do The Work
Written by Tiffany Jewell and illustrated by Aurélia Durand
Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Available now!

Everybody Counts: A counting story from 0 to 7.5 billion
Written and illustrated by Kristin Roskifte
Published by Wide Eyed Editions
Available now!

The Wonders of Wildflowers
Written by Anna Staniszewski
Published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Available now!

Search and Find A Number of Numbers: 1 book, 100s of things to find!
Written by Amanda Wood & Mike Jolley and illustrated by Allan Sanders
Published by Wide Eyed Editions
Available now!

A Reading List for Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, here at the Butler Center, we’d like to highlight several 2020 publications that tell powerful, poignant and just plain fun stories about some of the many different African-American experiences. This list is by no means all that has been published in 2020. Instead, it is a sampling of several stories—from bedtime tales, to historical picture books, to family trauma, to the intersection of Black identity and sexuality. 

KingAndThe DragonFlies.jpgKing and the Dragon Flies
Written by Kacen Callender
Scholastic Press
Children’s Fiction
Available now!
Twelve-year-old Kingston James knows what everyone else does not: his older brother Khalid isn’t really dead—he’s turned into a dragonfly. King sees his brother in his dreams, but can’t tell anyone. Not his parents who are shut up in their grief, not his school mates who don’t know how to talk to him, not his best friend Sandy Sanders. Besides, King and Sandy aren’t friends, can’t be friends, because Sandy is gay. This is a stunning, hazy book set in small-town Louisiana, where one boy’s grief transports him into coming to terms with who he really is. Race, sexual identity, family trauma, and abuse all come together in a book that alternates between stark and hopeful. Kacen Callender writes on homophobia and toxic masculinity in the Black community, hard and tough topics, in a truly magical way. You can feel the heat rising off the page and hear the buzz of dragonfly wings in your ears. This is a must-read.

BedtimeFor SweetCreatures.jpgBedtime for Sweet Creatures
Written by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
Published by Jabberwocky
Picture Book
Available now!
The nighttime struggle is real in this effervescent and vibrant bedtime tale. Nikki Grimes enchants the reader with a curious and imaginative story of parent and child going through their bedtime routine.  Grimes takes us through the cycle: denial of bedtime, acquiescing to bedtime with one’s favorite stuffed animal, the quest to find and banish all monsters, a before-bed story—and even a last-ditch glass of water! The difference between the typical bedtime routine and this story is Grimes’ imagination. The story is made even more enchanting with Elizabeth Zunon’s multicolored and surreal animals that gallop through the bedtime scenes. This is a lovely, warm book that elicits a smile and chuckle as you read it aloud.

Brave.Black.First.jpgBrave. Black. First.: 50+ African American Women Who Changed the World
Written by Cheryl Willis Hudson and illustrated by Erin K. Robinson
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers
Non Fiction
Available now!
This book is published in partnership with curators from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and features iconic African American women from the 1700s to the present day. Each woman is depicted in a two-page illustrated spread, with birth and (if relevant) death information, as well as a choice quote, before several paragraphs of biographical data. Readers will surely recognize names of icons like Angela Davis, Simone Biles, and Harriet Tubman, but for younger folks, this may be the first time readers are exposed to women like Civil War army nurse Susie King Taylor or artist Elizabeth Catlett. This biography compilation is a beginner’s guide to the legacy of African American women in the United States and can serve as a stepping stone into more comprehensive information about individuals. This collection includes end-of-book resources to the profiled women, as well as guides to relevant artifacts at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Portrait Gallery, notes from the author and illustrator, and overview of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

BlackIsARainbowColor.jpgBlack Is a Rainbow Color
Written by Angela Joy and illustrated by Euka Holmes
Published by Roaring Brook Press
Picture Book
Available now!
This picture book is a mediation about being Black in the United States; it is an anthem of people, culture, history, and legacy. A child reflects that while red, green, blue, yellow, orange, violet and indigo are rainbow colors, their color is black…and there’s no black in rainbows. But black is everywhere, from “a feather on white winter snow” (p. 3)  to “braids in my best friend’s hair (p. 5) to the “robe on Thurgood’s back” (p. 10) to “dreams and raisins.” (p. 13) Central moments in history, politics, literature, and music are referenced through the text and illustrations of this joyful and exploratory picture book. The illustrations by Euka Holmes carry historical weight, and the detailed images can prompt readers to ask questions. The book’s back matter includes an author’s note and playlist, as well as historical context to events referenced in the text. Several works of poetry alluded to in the picture book’s text are included, and a bibliography. The author also includes a timeline of Black ethnonyms in America, with notes on their development.

CleanGetaway.jpgClean Getaway
Written by Nic Stone
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers
Children’s Fiction
Available now!
What to do when spring break is canceled and you’re under house arrest by order of your dad? Go on an unsanctioned road trip with your grandma, of course! When Scoob’s G’ma pulls up to his front door in a new Winnebago and announces that he’s going to join her on an epic road trip, Scoob is thrilled. After getting in trouble at school, his spring break is canceled, and he’s basically grounded until further notice. But when G’ma hands him a copy of the Travelers’ Green Book and a treasure box full of memories, Scoob begins to wonder what being his grandmother’s co-pilot really means. Especially when she refuses to call his dad back to let him know where they are. And definitely when she tosses her cell phone at a rest stop. Nic Stone negotiates humor and family trauma against the segregationist history of the American South. Race is central to Scoob’s family story: Scoob is biracial, as is his father; Scoob’s G’ma is white. The road trip juxtaposes the trip G’ma took with Scoob’s grandpa with the present-day trip. While much has changed for the better, much has also stayed the same. This is a funny and poignant tale for younger readers.

ByandBy.jpgBy and By: Charles Albert Tindley the Father of Gospel Music
Written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Bryan Collier
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Non Fiction Picture Book
Available now!
This exquisite picture book “sings out” the story of Charles Albert Tindley, who was born in 1851 in Maryland to an enslaved father and a free mother. Following the death of his mother, Tindley was hired out to work in the fields. There he heard the spirituals the enslaved workers sang, and it made him want to read the Gospel. Tindley taught himself to read from scraps of newspaper, later becoming a pastor who preached and sang the word of God. He eventually compiled many of his compositions into a hymnal and is considered the father of American gospel music. Carole Boston Weatherford introduces the story as a sermon inside a song, telling Tindley’s story in rhyming prose interspersed with lyrics from Tindley’s own compositions and African-American spirituals. Bryan Collier’s magnificent watercolor and collage images create both grounded and heavenly beauty on the page. Collier deliberately includes pieces of sheet music throughout the story’s pages, having it dance throughout the book. By and By’s additional resources include a list of songs used in the book, songs written by Tindley, as well as author and illustrator notes.

Butler Bookshelf

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Valentine’s Day may have come and gone, but we’ve still got love stories on our mind. This week’s Butler Bookshelf includes some star-crossed couples, like those in If You Only Knew by Prerna Pickett and Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon.

In The Shadow of the Sun
Written by Em Castellan
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Available now!

The Ocean Calls
Written by Tina Cho and illustrated by Jesse X. Snow
Published by Kokila
Available August 4, 2020

With A Star In My Hand: Rubén Darío, Poetry Hero
Written by Margarita Engle
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Danbi Leads the School Parade
Written and illustrated by Anna Kim
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers
Available July 7, 2020

In A Garden
Written by Tim McCanna and illustrated by Aimée Sicuro
Published by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Available now!

Of Curses and Kisses
Written by Sandhya Menon
Published by Simon Pulse
Available now!

If You Only Knew
Written by Prerna Pickett
Published by Swoon Reads
Available now!