Friday, September 19, 2014

Plants Feed Me

Plants Feed Me
by Lizzy Rockwell
32 pages; ages 4-7
Holiday House, 2014

Theme: nonfiction, plants

Every gardening season is different, and this year things seem to be ripening later than last year. A couple weeks ago we had a bumper-crop of tomatoes and peppers, with melons and pumpkins coming in late.

So harvest season seems to be a good time to share a book about garden-fresh fruits and vegetables. Lizzy Rockwell begins with a picture of a child nose-deep in a slice of watermelon. "I am a plant eater," she writes. Then she takes us on a tour of the garden, showing the different parts of plants we eat: leaves, stems, roots, flowers, bulbs, tubers... and fruits.

Everyone knows that apples and blueberries are fruits. But tomatoes and pumpkins? Aren't they vegetables? Nope. If it's got a seed, it's a fruit. Speaking of which, we eat seeds, too: beans, rice, wheat, and nuts.

Beyond the book: are you a plant eater?

Go on a plant-part scavenger hunt. Check the fridge, pantry, and cupboards to find:
  • a tuber that you eat
  • a stem that you eat
  • a root that you eat
  • leaves that you eat
  • a fruit that you eat
  • a seed that you eat
  • a bulb that you eat
Where does your food come from? What plants are used in making the cereal you eat? the bread and crackers? the soup? Try to identify as many plants as you can that are in your meals. If you need help, read the ingredients label on packages.

Visit a Farm. If you live near a farm, drop by for a visit. During the fall many farms have markets with pumpkins and cider. Some have corn mazes and pumpkin patch tours.

You can see out what other bloggers are reviewing over at the STEM Friday blog. Today's review is also part of PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books.
On Monday, head over to the Nonfiction Monday blog where you'll find more book reviews. Review copy provided by publisher.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Animal Teachers

Animal Teachers
by Janet Halfmann; illus. by Katy Hudson
36 pages; ages 4-8
Blue Apple Books, 2014

It's back-to-school time, so grab your lunch bucket and your notebook and your number-2 pencil and hustle out the door so you don't miss the bus. As you head into the classroom, did you ever wonder how animal kids learn? They don't go to school. Do they even have teachers?

It turns out that polar bears and penguins and chimps and elephants - animals of all kinds - do have a lot of lessons to learn. Animal Teachers provides a window into the wild classrooms of the animal world.

Young otters have to learn how to swim, and joeys (baby kangaroos) need to learn some self-defense skills. Fortunately their moms teach them these skills. Other youngsters learn by copying what the adults around them are doing. In this book we see young animals learning how to run, fish, and communicate. This is a fun book for kids just starting school - and kids who are learning at home.

What sort of things are you learning ~ and who are your teachers?
Drop by STEM Friday to see what other science books and resources bloggers are sharing. Review copy provided by the publisher.