Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Wednesday Explorers Club ~ Flower Field Trip




















Flowers are blooming everywhere - in the garden, in the yard, on the side of the road, down by the river side. Grab your sketch journal or camera and head out on a flower field trip. What do you see?





Friday, July 13, 2018

Books that help answer How and Why

Kids love to ask questions. Why is the sky blue? How does the car go? Here are two fun books from National Geographic Kids that help answer the plethora of questions we face every day.

How Things Work: Inside Out
by T. J. Resler
208 pages; ages 7-10. (2017)

I love NGK books, but sometimes they get buried beneath a stack of other "gotta reads". This book, published about 6 months ago, is a great place for kids to find inspiration and explanations. It features gizmos, gadgets, construction, auto engineering, and accidental inventions. Inside the pages you'll find the inside scoop on segways, self-driving cars, and sticky situations (think gecko glue). There are bios of engineers, scientists, inventors, and architects who dreamed big and - more importantly - didn't stop when they were told something was impossible. There are plenty of things to try, too. So make sure the kitchen junk drawer is well-stocked this summer and there's a place to invent.


Little Kids First Big Book of Why 2
by Jill Esbaum
128 pages; ages 4-8. (2018) 
 Want to know why you yawn, why bubbles are round, why birds sing, or why weeds grow in gardens? Then this is the place to look. The book is divided into four sections: Me, Myself, and I; Fun and Games; Awesome Animals; and Nature. Each page features photos, easy-to-read text, fun facts, and sometimes a question. Each section contains two hands-on activities and ends with a game. Back matter includes a "Parent Tips" section with nine "beyond the book" activities to share with children. Each activity focuses on some aspect of STEM: observation, experiment, measuring - plus imagination and art. A list of resources includes books and websites for further exploration.

Today we're joining the STEM Friday roundup.   On any other Friday we'd be joining others over at Perfect Picture Book Friday, but it's summer vacation. PPBF will resume in September, but you can always head over to Susanna Hill's ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review copies from publishers.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Wednesday Explorers Club ~ Red Clover


A bit of lazy mowing left a section of lawn on its own. Now it's a wild place, filled with red and yellow hawkweed, oxeye daisies, buttercups, violets, and red clover. Everyone likes red clover: bees, butterflies - even this little guy. Plus, you can toss the blossoms in your salad.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Rascally Rodents and other Mammals

Who can resist new books about animals? Not me! Here are two relatively new releases.

Rodent Rascals
by Roxie Munro
40 pages; ages 6-9
Holiday House, 2018

I always love opening the covers of a new Roxie Munro book because I know I'll learn something new. Rodent Rascals lives up to that expectation. And yes, she does present them in "actual size" - from the tiniest pygmy jerboa to the sweet-looking capybara. Though, as you can understand, as the rascals get larger the illustration can only capture part of them.

"Humans are lucky to have rodents," Roxie writes. Throughout history, humans have used them as lab rats, fur sources, pets, and food. We've even sent them into space.

Did you know that male house mice sing love songs to their true loves? That flying squirrels don't really fly (they glide), and that there are more than 100 species of gerbils? And that rats have excellent memories? I'm pretty sure the mice in my house do, too, as they always seem to find my chocolate stash. Some rodents have highly developed societies, too. Back matter includes more information about the species highlighted in the book, a glossary, sources for more information, websites, and an index so you can get back to specific critters that you meant to page-mark with sticky notes but forgot.

A Mammal is an Animal
by Lizzy Rockwell
40 pages; ages 4-8
Holiday House, 2018

"A mammal is an animal," writes Lizzy ... "but is every animal a mammal? No!"

Earthworms are animals, but they aren't mammals because they are soft and squishy. Mammals have hard parts inside (squeeze your arm - feel that bone?). So.... snails have hard parts, and so do ladybugs - does that mean they are mammals?

Nope, because their hard parts are on the outside, and mammals have have skeletons inside. Well... what about a sunfish? It has bones inside.

I LOVE the back-and-forth discussion from page to page as Lizzy narrows down the characteristics that make an animal a mammal. I also love that she includes back matter highlighting strange mammals such as those that lay eggs. (Yes! Some mammals lay eggs.) She includes a page of mammal facts and references for curious kids who want to learn more.


Today we're joining the STEM Friday roundupOn any other Friday we'd be joining others over at Perfect Picture Book Friday, but it's summer vacation. PPBF will resume in September, but you can always head over to Susanna Hill's ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review copies from publishers.