Friday, August 10, 2018

Itches and Boats ~ more summer books

Nothing says summer like mosquito bites or sailing a boat on a lake...

 Itch! Everything you didn't want to know about what makes you scratch
by Anita Sanchez; illus. by Gilbert Ford
80 pages; ages 7-10
HMH books for Young Reader, 2018

"You probably never give skin a thought," writes Anita Sanchez, "until it gets itchy." And then you can't stop scratching. But to understand why things itch, we need to understand how skin works and how our body reacts to stings and bites. 

In the following chapters, we are introduced to things that make us itch: lice! fleas! mosquitoes! bedbugs! fungi! and plants with spines, needles, and poisons. Yes - there are things lurking and growing in our backyards that will make us itch. 

What I like about this book: it's fun to read and full of unexpected (and cool) facts.  Even as she describes the pesky plants and bugs that bother us, Anita offers cool insights into their lives. We learn how fleas leap, how burrs inspired velcro, and how bedbugs talk to each other. Even better, she provides plenty  non-toxic alternatives for treatment. Did you know that a dab of minty toothpaste can soothe an itchy bug bite? She's even got a recipe for de-skunking! 

The writing is clear,and the illustrations engaging and sometimes humorous. I like the back matter, too: an author's note about the inspiration for this book plus the usual glossary, bibliography, and an index that's like having a quick-link to info.

Whose Boat? (board book)
by Tony Buzzeo; illustrated by Tom Froese
16 pages; ages 2-4
Abrams Appleseed, 2018

Using rhyme and labeled illustrations, this book introduces children to six different kinds of boats. There's a tugboat, a ferry, a fireboat, a Coast Guard boat, a lobster boat and, of course, the harbor master's patrol boat.

But what's fun for future engineers - and potential first mates - are the names of the things on the boats: hawser, kort nozzle, bridge, hull ...  These are real things on boats, and also cool words for kids to roll around in their mouths. There's a bit of interaction, with rhyming text presenting a clue and the answer under the gatefold. 

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.

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