Friday, August 30, 2019

Habitat books are Popping Up

theme: nature, animals

Two recent books use pop-ups to invite young children into their habitats. They are written by Libby Walden and illustrated by Clover Robin, with paper engineering credits to Martin Tyler. Originally published in England, Kane Miller released them in US this past spring (2019).

Across the Savannah

In the early morning haze
The noble lion loves to laze.

Pop-up pages introduce readers to six different savannah animals: lion, giraffe, hippo, meerkat, and elephant.

On the Mountain

In the whispering mountain breeze
Two wolf cubs run between the trees.

In this book each pop-up page introduces the reader to an animal you might find when hiking on a mountain: wolf, trout, bighorn sheep, black bear, and bald eagle.

What I like about these books: Simple, rhyming text describes where each animal lives – beneath the rippling surface of a mountain lake, a muddy watering hole, in deep burrows, or on a jagged rocky slope.

Sidebars contain fun facts and additional information about each animal and the habitat. And the pop-ups provide an abundance of details that will have kids searching for more.

Beyond the Books:
Try your hand at making a pop-up book about animals in your back yard. Here's a video to get you started.

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

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Wednesday Explorers Club ~ a very hungry caterpillar

I was wondering where the dill went! Having eaten the leaves, this very hungry cat is going after flowers. Eating things right down to the nibs, as you can see. My, what sharp mandibles it has!

I would put it over on the parsley - but there's another cat chowing that down. Queen Anne's lace? All chewed up... guess I'm sharing dill with the swallowtails this fall.

What kinds of caterpillars do you find in your garden, yard, neighborhood park?

Friday, August 23, 2019

Wait, Rest, Pause

Wait, Rest, Pause: Dormancy in Nature
by Marcie Flinchum Atkins
32 pages; ages 4-8
Millbrook Press, 2020 (released fall 2019)

theme: dormancy, nature, waiting

If you were dormant, you would pause—

When conditions get tough, some animals head elsewhere. But others – they tough it out by going into a dormant stage: estivation, hibernation, diapause, torpor. Plants go dormant as well. You’ve watched deciduous trees lose their leaves when days grow shorter and colder. The trees hunker down for the winter, waiting for the right condition to break dormancy and produce flowers and leaves.

What I like love about this book: I love the lyrical language that Marcie Atkins uses to show plants and animals going dormant – and then reawakening. The pages are filled with verbs that kids can act out. They are filled with engaging photos of buds and bugs, worms and wildlife. And there is awesome back matter: descriptions of different kinds of dormancy, suggestions for further reading, and websites to explore. If I gave stars, I’d give ‘em all to this book!

Beyond the Books:

Have you ever wondered where worms go in winter? Here’s a place to learn more. And if you’re wondering about what happens to ladybugs, Dr. Laura Levine has the answers.

Download this free Winter Ecology Teacher’s Guide from Glacier National Park for great information about how plants and animals survive the winter. Get PDF.

Meet Marcie Atkins! Next Wednesday I’m interviewing Marcie over at the GROG blog. Please drop by and join us! You can find out more about her at her website.

Today we're joining other book bloggers over at STEM Friday, where you can discover other cool STEM books. And we'll join Perfect Picture Book Friday over at Susanna Leonard Hill's website once it gets back onto its regular schedule. Review copy provided by the publisher.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Wednesday Explorers Club ~ Bumble bees!

I enjoy counting bees and other pollinators for the Great Sunflower Project. Each time I follow them I learn new things. Take some time to observe the bumble bees living - and working - in your neighborhood. See if you can discover:

  • how early they begin working
  • how late in the evening they visit flowers
  • what are their favorite flowers?
  • what color is the pollen on their legs?

Friday, August 16, 2019

My Happy Year

My Happy Year by E.Bluebird (A Nature Diary)
by Paul Meisel 
40 pages; ages 4 - 8
Holiday House, 2019

theme: birds, nature, growing up

Today is my birthday! I can’t see yet. When I stick my head up and open my beak, Mom and Dad feed me.

E. Bluebird has a good life: loving parents who feed her beetles and crickets, a cozy nest, and fancy new feathers on her wings. Even when her parents want E to leave the nest (she’s afraid of heights…) they still feed her. But when E. does take that leap out of the nest, she discovers flight.

What I like about this book: It’s fun to read. Plus, who knew that bluebirds keep journals? For example:
July 4 ~ Flight is amazing! … Everything is so beautiful from up here. (Apparently she didn’t notice the owl watching her.) Plus we get to tag along on her migration flight there and back and watch her get on with bluebird life.

I also like the creative use of end pages. That’s where Paul Meisel puts the sort of things that one might usually find in back matter: a range map; information about bluebirds in the wild; links for how to build a bluebird house; lyrics to their songs; and a short glossary.

A couple years ago Meisel wrote another book from the point of view of a praying mantis. you can find my review of My Awesome Summer,  by P. Mantis here.

Beyond the Books:

Go on a bird walk. The best times are early in the morning or in the evening before dusk. If you have a field guide, take it along. If not, you can check back with Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds to help identify birds you see. While you’re out with the birds, watch how they fly. And listen to their songs. Here are songs of an Easter bluebird.

Build a bluebird nesting box. It’s too late for this year, but you can make it now for next spring. Instructions are here and here - and here's a video.

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

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Wednesday Explorers Club ~ bizzie, buzzy bees

Last month I headed out to my garden to count pollinators for the Great Sunflower Project. I love finding these shiny gem-like natives on my flowers (here it's checking out just-blooming calendula)

What kinds of bees do you see on the flowers growing in your neighborhood?

Friday, August 9, 2019

Reading the Rivers

During the hot days of August it sure would be nice to jump into a river - or at least get our feet wet. Here are two books looking at rivers and the animals that live in and around them.

theme: rivers, nature, wildlife rescue

About Habitats: Rivers and Streams
By Cathryn Sill; illus by John Sill
48 pages; ages 2-6
Peachtree publishers, 2019

Rivers and streams are places where fresh water flows across the land

From babbling brooks and mountain springs to the mighty Amazon river, this book offers a glimpse into river habitats. We see how rivers form, how they shape the land – and are shaped by it, and the diversity of wildlife and plants that live along and in these waterways. Author Cathryn Sills also emphasizes the importance of conservation, because people depend on healthy rivers too.

What I like about this book: Informative text is paired with engaging illustrations. While some are scenic, others are filled with details that will have kids spending time on the page. For example, one page introduces the concept that rivers provide food and shelter to animals – and the caption lists some animals for the reader to find in the illustration.

There is back matter! As with other books in the About Habitats series, this one has six pages of more detailed information about each river illustration. There is also a glossary and a list of books and websites for further discovery. And there is Front Matter: a labeled diagram showing parts of a river basin, with simple definitions.

River Rescue 
by Jennifer Keats Curtis; illus. by Tammy Yee
32 pages; ages 4-9
Arbordale Publishing, 2019

On shore, two big pelicans hop rather than fly. See how black their bellies are? They are covered with oil.

When there is an oil spill, workers rush to the scene to clean the water and shoreline. But who cleans the animals? This book shows how the Oiled Wildlife Response Team at Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research in Delaware responds to an oil spill. It also shows how oil spilled into water affects the birds, turtles, salamanders, fish, and other animals living in and near the water. We see the wildlife rescuers cleaning birds – flushing oil from their eyes and mouths, washing and rinsing oil off feathers. It can take two or three people about an hour or more to wash and rinse the wings and body. And then they need to dry them with heat lamps and blowers – another couple hours. Then the birds need to stay under their care until they have preened and water-proofed their feathers and that might take another week.

What I like about this book: I love the up-close-and-personal view into wildlife rescue. I didn’t know it took that long to wash and rinse off gloopy, sticky oil! I like the back matter: a section about preventing oil spills, a wildlife identification challenge, and an interview with the director of the rescue center.

Beyond the Books:

Visit a river or stream near you. Notice the kinds of plants growing near it. Can you identify any of them? Look for animals in the water and along the shore. Try to find some birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, insects, and mammals. Take photos or draw pictures to make a book about your river. More activities here.

Play “Jump the River” game. Here's how.

Today we're joining other book bloggers over at STEM Friday, where you can discover other cool STEM books.
Review ARC (About Habitat) and copy provided by the publishers.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Friday, August 2, 2019

The Apollo Missions for Kids

The Apollo Missions for Kids: The People and Engineering Behind the Race to the Moon, with 21 Activities
By Jerome Pohlen
160 pages; ages 9 and up
Chicago Review Press, 2019

This was the summer of SPACE – celebrating the historic spaceflight that landed the first two people on the moon (July 20, 1969). Getting people to the moon took money and man-power. It took teamwork! More than 400,000 people worked on the Apollo project, in factories and offices spread over 46 states, writes Jerome Pohlen.

Mostly, it took vision – the vision of President John F. Kennedy who, in 1961 declared the goal of landing a man on the moon within the span of a decade. At the time, the US space program was in its infancy; just 20 days earlier the first astronaut had been launched – a 15-minute flight up and back without even time to orbit the earth. Landing a human on the moon would be a challenge.

This book takes us into Mission Control and into space with the Gemini and Apollo projects. We get a close-up view of astronaut training, engineering problems, and the test of human endurance that early missions demanded. There were tragedies – the Apollo One crew was killed in a fire on the Launchpad during a test – and triumphs as the scientists, engineers, and astronauts worked toward their goal of safely landing on the moon and returning to Earth.

What I like about this book: The writing is engaging, like reading a story well told, and supported by plenty of sidebars. The book opens with a timeline that begins with 1926 – when Robert Goddard launched his first liquid-fueled rocket – to 1979 when Skylab fell to Earth. Sidebars provide additional details about the Saturn V rocket, how capsules “surf” through the atmosphere, moonsuit details, as well as offer short bios of software engineer Margaret Hamilton and “computer” Katherine Johnson (who calculated flight trajectories).

Twenty-one activities range from designing your own mission patch to figuring out your moon-weight, orbital mechanics, making “space food”, and more.

Beyond the Book:

Check out NASA’s page on the Apollo missions here.

Watch the Apollo 11 moon landing here.

Today we're joining other book bloggers over at STEM Friday, where you can discover other cool STEM books. And on Monday we’ll be hanging out at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday with other  bloggers. It's over at Greg Pattridge's blog, Always in the Middle, so hop over to see what other people are reading.
Review copy provided by the publisher.