This blog is dedicated to books that I have read and reviewed (sometimes at the request of the author and/or publisher) OR that I have read on my own and want to share with you. Author interviews are also included. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Desert Night Shift: A Pack Rat Story

by Conrad J. Storad
Even as an adult, I LOVE LOVE LOVE any book by Conrad J. Storad. I am particularly partial to this one, because ... (true confession alert) "Hello, my name is Stephanie and I am a pack rat," just like "Penny Pack Rat." This delightful tale takes place in the Sonoran Desert. It's nighttime and Penny has her backpack on and is in search of a silver spoon for her Grandma.
Told entirely in verse, we follow Penny as she tries to fulfill her nana's wish of owning a silver spoon. Penny braves the dangers of the night; snakes, coyotes and more. Hence, the title: Desert Night Shift.

"Oh, desert days are bright and hot,
Swift, hungry creatures rule,
But every little pack rat learns
That night shift work is cool!"
Although this is written with children in mind, I love Storad's charming approach to desert animals. The illustrations by Nathaniel P. Jensen are vibrant and endearing. At the end of each of Storad's books you can find a page of "Words to Learn" and facts about the animal hero of the book. Conrad Storad specializes in creating science books for children that make learning fun. In 2001 he was awarded the Arizona Library Association's Judy Goddard Award as Arizona's Children's Author of the Year.
I'm also partial to this book because I won my autographed copy while attending a writers workshop Conrad was teaching at this year's American Night Writers Association Annual Conference in February. (As far as ANWA and Conrad Storad are concerned, I'm quick to remind people that I "discovered" him over at ASU when I was searching for guest presenters for one of our workshops a number of years ago. This year was the third time that Conrad instructed aspiring children's writers at one of our conferences. Personally, I can't get enough of the wealth of knowledge he has to offer.
Storad is the author of more than 30 science and nature books for children and young adults. Just reading the titles of his books gives you a clue how fun they are. Here are a few:

  • Life in the Slow Lane; A Desert Tortoise Tale
  • Don't Call Me Pig! A Javelina Story
  • Lizards for Lunch: A Roadrunner's Tale
  • Don't Ever Cross That Road! An Armadillo Story
He also has some great books that explain scientific information on an elementary level - I used to use his books in my classroom when I taught in grades 1-4: Earth's Crust, The Circulatory System, Hippos, Piranhas, Fossil Fuels and more.

So, if you have kids or grandkids that you want to read something fun and educational to this summer, head over to the library or bookstore and get ANYTHING by Conrad J. Storad - you won't be sorry. Here's his website: Conrad J. Storad ~ oh, and tell him I sent you!