Friday, October 27, 2017

Science after Dark

My kids loved going outside at night. We'd watch meteors, listen to insects, and go on moon-lit walks to look for nightlife. Here's a couple of new releases to inspire the night scientists in your house.

themes: nonfiction, night sky, animal behavior

 Night Creepers
by Linda Stanek; illus by Shennen Bersani
32 pages; ages 3-8
Arbordale, 2017

Waking up.

Most of us will read that and think, "morning". But no, these are red foxes and they're just shaking off sleep for a night busy with adventures.

What I like about this book: Each spread introduces young readers to a nocturnal or crepuscular (active dawn and dusk) creature. We meet wolves, bats, flying squirrels. raccoons, owls, frogs, and fireflies. The left side of each spread features large text with animal actions: gliding, washing, preening. A column down the right side gives more detail about the animal's behavior, what they eat, how they hunt, and where they live. Back matter includes four pages of activities for creative minds.

Night Sky (NGK Readers series)
by Laura March
32 pages; ages 5-8
National Geographic Children's Books, 2017

When the sun goes down, dots of light fill the night sky.
Some of them move. Others are still. Some twinkle. Others don't.
Have you ever wondered what they are?

 Short chapters focus on the moon, stars, planets, and "flying objects" - meteors and comets. Simple text is accompanied by gorgeous photos of earth, sky, and other heavenly objects.

What I like about this book: In addition to the text, a reader can gain information from photo captions, text boxes, and side bars. I like the "Sky Word" boxes; each explains one term. And I like the occasional jokes along the tops of the pages: Why did the moon stop eating? There's a wonderful graphic showing how an eclipse works, tips for stargazing, and "7 Cool Facts About Space!" A quiz at the end, photo glossary, and table of contents add value for curious kids.

Beyond the books:

Go on a night walk. Listen to the sounds of animals, wind blowing through leaves. Feel the air - is is cool? damp? icy? warm? dry? What does night time smell like? Jot down your observations about what you see, hear, feel, smell.

What do night animals sound like? Here's an article that provides short videos of night time noises you might hear.

Watch the night sky for a month. Or more. What do you see? You can find star maps and upcoming meteor showers at EarthSky (click on "tonight" for maps of constellations and things to look for).

Take a field trip to the library for books about the constellations. Hunt down Greek legends, Native American stories, or other tales that tell how a constellation came to be.

Today we're joining the STEM Friday roundup - and we're also joining others over at 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. Review copies from the publisher.

1 comment:

  1. Both these books look great. I will be looking for both of them. Thanks for the post.