Peculiar Plants

One of the first things you notice about the Sonoran Desert (where I live) is the extreme variety of plants, some of which are pretty bizarre. Take, for example, trees with green bark instead of leaves or a plant that looks like a giant carrot root sticking upside down out of the ground (a boojum tree).  One of the most iconic, the saguaro cactus, is even featured in the book, Peculiar Plants (Read Me!: Extreme Nature) by Anita Ganeri. This nonfiction picture book will intrigue older children (level 3-5) who are reading at level 1-3.

Each unusual plant is featured in a two-page spread with big color photographs and a “Did You Know?” sidebar with an interesting fact about each. Plants range from a giant sequoia to a tiny edelweiss. Note:  technically the giant kelp in the book are actually algae, which are now sometimes classified as protists rather than plants.

The book wraps up with a “What Am I?” quiz to help reinforce learning. It also has a glossary and places to “Find Out More.”

Peculiar Plants would be a great book to accompany a unit on plants and especially to entice struggling readers to learn more about these fascinating oddities of nature.

Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Heinemann-Raintree (August 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1410947033
ISBN-13: 978-1410947031

Book was provided for review purposes.

 

 

 

 

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

Blueberries Grow on a Bush

Blueberries Grow on a Bush by Mari Schuh

Reading level: Beginning/Easy Reader (Ages 4-8)

Summary: Describes and illustrates the life cycle of blueberries and other berries using appropriate first-grade vocabulary. Introduces concepts of pollination and dormancy.

Illustrations:  Color photographs

Comments:  The formatting is perfect for the age group. The photographs are clearly labeled and laid out well. This is a great series of books for this age group.

Related activities:

  • Make a fruit salad with blueberries and/or blueberry muffins for a snack
  • Blend some blueberries in a blender to use as a pH indicator. The juice will turn red in presence of strong acids, like lemon juice or vinegar. Steve Spangler has more specific instructions.
  • Any leftover blueberry sauce can be used as paint. Draw a picture with crayon and use the blueberry “paint” as a wash, for a resist painting.
  • The Blueberry Council has information and activities for kids and teachers. Click on the images in the footer.

Compatible fiction: Blueberries for Sal by Robert McClosky

(Scholastic has a math lesson plan)

Publisher: Capstone Press; Pebble Books (January 2, 2011)

ISBN-10: 9781429661836
ISBN-13: 978-1429661836

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Experiment with Seeds (Junior Scientists)

Junior Scientists: Experiment with Seeds by Susan H. Gray

Series:  Science Explorer Junior

Reading level: grades 2-3 (somewhat younger than suggested by publisher)

Summary:  Directions for three simple science experiments with seeds that use common household ingredients. Addresses questions such as whether seeds need air to grow or whether roots always grow down.

Illustrations:  Color photographs and illustrations

Comments:  The experiments are creative and the methods are clearly written. They are likely to be successful and encourage children to explore further.

Related activities:

Compatible books:

  • The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds: A Book About How Living Things Grow by Joanna Cole and illustrated by John Speirs and Bruce Degan
  • From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons

Publisher: Cherry Lake Publishing (August 2010)

ISBN-10: 1602798931
ISBN-13: 978-1602798939

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Be sure to look for more information about children’s books at today’s Book Talk Tuesday.

Carrots Grow Underground

Did you know that May is Get Caught Reading month? Why not get caught reading some great science books and do some hands-on activities, too?

Carrots Grow Underground by Mari Schuh

Reading level: Beginning/Easy Reader (Ages 4-8)

Summary: Describes and illustrates the life cycle of carrots and other root vegetables using appropriate first-grade vocabulary. Contains Glossary, Read More, Internet Sites and Index.

Illustrations:  Color photographs

Comments:  The formatting is perfect for the age group. The illustrations are yummy, and are consistent with one another in composition. Makes you want to get out there and plant some seeds, or even better, eat some fresh vegetables.

Related activities:

Compatible fiction: The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss

Publisher: Capstone Press; Pebble Books (January 2, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1429661852
ISBN-13: 978-1429661850

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Next title to be reviewed: Space, Stars, and the Beginning of Time:  What the Hubble Telescope Saw by Elaine Scott

Be sure to look for more information about children’s books at today’s Book Talk Tuesday.