Friday, May 20, 2022

Exploring Shiny Things

For the past two weeks, I've been buzzed by hummingbirds as I worked in my garden. Perhaps it's my pink hat? Aside from the bunch of bleeding hearts blooming near the gate, there sure isn't a lot to interest hummers. But there they were, twin fighter jets zooming right overhead. Fortunately, they reminded me to dig out this book from my to-be-reviewed basket.

Time to Shine: Celebrating the World’s Iridescent Animals
by Karen Jameson; illus. by Dave Murray 
32 pages; ages 3-6
‎Groundwood Books, 2022  

theme: animals, nature

Each iridescent creature knows / just how to rock its sparkly “clothes.”

There are so many animals that shine – and chances are you’ve seen some of them. Perhaps a metallic green beetle scooting across the sidewalk, or a hummingbird with a shiny read throat visiting flowers. Told in rhyme, this book showcases diverse creatures that sport sparkly feathers, scales, shells, and skin.

What I like about this book: I like the layered text. Large text presents the fun, rhythmic language perfect for a read-aloud. Smaller text provides more information, such as an explanation of what iridescence is and more about each of the creatures. Back matter is a great resource for those who want to know more about the science of iridescence and how scientists are studying it for potential uses in technology.

Karen talked a bit about iridescence in insects over at the Second Annual GROG Arthropod Roundtable. But I wanted to know more. She graciously answered One More Question:

Me: I often find shiny green tiger beetles and purple ground beetles – and of course, hummingbirds – in my garden. Can you talk about some of the iridescent animals you have come across in your back yard or neighborhood?

Karen: What a great question! Ever since doing my research for Time To Shine, I'm always on the lookout for iridescent creatures. Hummingbirds and beetles are very common in our backyard, as well as the occasional dragonfly. If we stroll down the pathways near our home, there's a little lake that attracts mallard ducks with iridescent green head feathers. There are iridescent fish in that lake, too, as well as a number of insects with shimmering wings. Strolling in the opposite direction, we'd come across some hilly neighborhoods with a family of wild turkeys. The male's feathers shine with iridescent shades of green, copper, and red. Keep your eyes open when you walk outside. You're likely to discover iridescent creatures in the most surprising places!

Beyond the Books:

Go on a Shiny Scavenger Hunt. Find – and observe/ take photos/ draw these creatures:
  • a dragonfly or damselfly
  • a beetle
  • a hummingbird
  • a snail shell or other kind of shiny shell
  • something with iridescent scales
  • a butterfly 
  • a chicory or other plant that seems to shine
Create iridescent art! It involves clear nail polish, so make sure you do this in a well-ventilated area. Here’s how.

Blow some iridescent bubbles. Here’s a recipe from the Exploratorium.

Karen is a member of #STEAMTeam2022. You can find out more about her at her website.

Today we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review e-galley provided by the author.


  1. I love a nature book that highlights specific attributes! Will look for this, thanks!

  2. We have lots of hummingbirds in our garden, too! They love the Mexican sage and pyracantha, and our neighbor's jasmine. I'm starting to think that layered text for NF is becoming more standard, as it can appeal to a broader age range.

  3. I will have to check out this book. It sounds beautiful. I'm always amazed at what nature gives us. Iridescent animals are such a gift. Thanks for the post.