Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Wednesday Explorers Club ~ blowing in the wind

Leaves don't just fall. They twirl, float, drift, or - in some cases - get ripped from their twigs and tumbled through the air. Some hold tight, like swimmers clinging to the edge of a pool, their ends fluttering in the air currents.

Check out this article on why trees let their leaves go.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Bugs Don't Hug & Little Whale

Last month I reviewed two books that focused on animal families. I'm revisiting the topic with a couple more. One is about how parents care for their young, and the other a tale about a little whale on a long journey.

Themes: animals, families, nature

Bugs Don't Hug, Six-legged parents and their kids
by Heather L. Montgomery; illus. by Stephen Stone
32 pages; ages 3-7
Charlesbridge, 2018

Mommy and daddy bugs don't give good-morning kisses. They don't tie shoes or untangle hair. And bugs don't hug.

Every spread introduces something parent bugs "don't do", from playing peekaboo to serving eggs and toast. But when you turn the page ... you discover that, yes indeed, bug parents are just like human parents. 

What I like about this book: I like the way Heather Montgomery uses compare-and-contrast to show the similarities and differences in parents. Maybe bugs don't bake birthday cakes, but they do make a cake for their babies. It's fun and best of all - surprising! The illustrations are cartoony and fun. And I LOVE the back matter (of course) - more about each of the insects featured in the book plus a note on scientific language. And a list of books to read for the naturally curious kids.

 Little Whale
by Jo Weaver
32 pages; ages 3-7
Peachtree, 2018

Gray Whale led her baby out of the shallows and into the warm southern sea.
"Where are we going?" asked Little Whale.
"Follow me," said Gray Whale.

With that, we're off on a grand journey - a migration from the southern sea to the far north. There will be danger along the way, and wonderful sights, and perhaps an adventure or two. But always, there will be mama whale there to guide, comfort, and help Little Whale.

What I like about this book: I like the tale of a journey. It's Little Whale's first migration, so we see things new to him. And, as with any journey with kids, there's the "are we there yet" questions that pop up. And Little Whale gets tired - so what's a parent to do? Beyond the tale of whales and migration, this is a story grounded in the love a parent feels for her child.  The monochromatic illustrations are soothing, and perfect for a bedtime read-aloud.

Beyond the books:

What kinds of things do your parents do for you? Do they tell bedtime stories? Give you rides to soccer practice? List three or four things. Now find out if there are any insect parents that do those sort of things - or other animal parents.

 Do all whales migrate? Where do they come from - and where do they go? You might want to make a map to show some of these migrations.

Make your own monochromatic art using paint. All you need is one color plus black and white. Check out this video if you need more help with that.

Today we're joining other book bloggers over at STEM Friday, where you can discover other cool STEM books. We're also joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review copies provided by the publishers.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Wednesday Explorers Club ~ perspective

there is an entire world of creatures up there, living their lives...
   what do you suppose they see when they look our way?

Friday, November 2, 2018


Animal Zombies
by Chana Steifel
96 pages; ages 8-12
National Geographic Children's Books, 2018

(click here for scary music to accompany your reading)

I love a scary book that opens with a warning. And this one does: "Beware! You are about to enter the darkest, creepiest corners of our world. You'll collide with creatures that invade brains, drink blood, and even devour their own moms!"

If you're brave enough to turn the page you enter the Zombie Zone... you'll meet harmless ladybugs turned into monsters by parasitic wasps, zombie cockroaches and crickets and ants. Chana Steifel brings readers up close and personal to leeches and lampreys, aliens, body invaders, and the kraken!

But wait! There's more! We get to meet "mad scientists" who study bloodsuckers and body snatchers. Steifel includes profiles of  a nature photographer who has clicked photos of zombie spiders and infected insects. We also meed "bat man", a shark scientist, wolf man, and a bug scientist who loves book lice (and other really creepy crawlies).

But don't worry. Steifel has also included a handy list of items you'll need in your Zombie Emergency Kit. Pack your go-bag and you'll be ready for the zombie apocalypse - or the next hurricane, blizard, or wildfire.

And if you're lucky, you'll reach the last page alive and ready to head out and look for zombies in the real world.

Today we're joining other book bloggers over at STEM Friday, where you can discover other cool STEM books. Review copy from the publisher.