Friday, August 18, 2017

My Awesome Summer

My Awesome Summer,  by P. Mantis
by Paul Meisel
40 pages; ages 4-8
Holiday House, 2017

P. Mantis had a wonderful summer, full of bird-watching, hide-and-seek, fine food, sibling rivalry, and flight lessons. There are a few scary moment, like the time she almost got eaten by a bat, and narrowly escaping spider webs. But for the most part it was a summer to remember.

What I like about this book:
It's fun to read! Written from the point of view of a praying mantis, it's set up as diary entries. For example:
June 2
All the aphids are gone. I'm hungry. Growing so fast! I ate one of my brothers. Okay, maybe two. Fine dining? Or sibling rivalry? Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. P. Mantis also reveals her most important trick: how to be still and look like a stick. This gets her out of a lot of dicey situations.

I also like love that what would usually go into back matter has been put on the end papers. Small-ish chunks of information about praying mantises and their ecology are accompanied by illustrations. The end pages are where you learn what mantises like to eat, how they use camouflage to hide from predators, flight, and laying eggs. That's where cool websites are and a very tiny glossary.

I like the cover, too. Who can ignore a face like Mantis's? Plus the monarda! Heading out to my garden to see if any of her cousins are hanging out amongst my flowers.

Beyond the Book:

Go on  a Mantis Expedition. Explore flowers and shrubs and tall-grass areas to see if there are any mantids hanging about. Remember to take along something to sketch with, or a camera. Things to observe:
  • how big are the mantids you find?
  • what colors are they?
  • do they fly?
  • watch their behavior for awhile. How do they hunt? 

What do mantids do during a solar eclipse? On Monday there will be an eclipse of the sun. If you live in North America you'll see partial or total eclipse. Check the Wednesday Explorer Club post for more. 

Check out this cool interview with StoryMakers. You'll learn how Paul Meisel met P. Mantis, and how he does his illustrations.

Read this Mantis profile over at National Geographic Kids.

Write about your awesome summer. When I went to school, every fall we had to write a story about what we did that summer. Don't wait. Get a head start ... and if you're feeling particularly creative, write a story from the point of view of an animal who spent the summer nearby. 

Today's review is part of the STEM Friday roundup. Drop by STEM Friday blog for more science books and resources. Review copy provided by publisher.

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