STEM Friday #Kidlit Animal Families

This month we are exploring some of the fantastic nonfiction children’s books that have been nominated for 2018 Cybils awards.

‘Tis the season for family gatherings, so what better time to sit down with a child and read a book or two about animal families.

For the first book, Fur, Feather, Fin―All of Us Are Kin by Diane Lang and illustrated by Stephanie Laberis animal “families” are what are mostly defined as “classes” in the traditional scientific way:  mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish. Arthropods are also included, which are a phylum. It  is a basic introduction to animal classification.

  The rhyming text is likely to engage the younger readers in the targeted age range.

“All animals on Earth are kin,
while not the same outside or in.
Some we stroke with loving hand;
some we don’t yet understand.”

A few scientific vocabulary words (metamorphosis, oxygen, detritivore) are included.

The illustrations by Stephanie Laberis are just the right amount of vibrant and fun. They are filled with color, action, and excitement, as you can see from the swirling animals on the cover.

To compensate for all the many, many families of animals that are not discussed — understandable because of space constraints — towards the end Lang discusses two catchall ecosystems:  underwater and detritivores. Personally, I’m not sure how well that works because those are ecological rather than classification groupings. Fish live underwater, which makes two underwater “families” Plus, many detritivores are arthropods, another “family.” The overlap creates confusion.

The back matter explains further, plus gives concrete ways the readers can help animals.

Fur, Feather, Fin―All of Us Are Kin will delight budding scientists and animal lovers. It might also make a good “entrance book” to entice less-interested readers to want to find out more. Try out a copy today!

Activity Suggestion:

Hands-on classification activities at Growing With Science blog

Age Range: 3 – 8 years
Publisher: Beach Lane Books (May 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1481447092
ISBN-13: 978-1481447096

The families in Meet My Family!: Animal Babies and Their Families by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman reflect all the different groupings of parents and offspring found in nature.

In some animal families, both the mother and the father take care of the youngsters. In others, like sea turtles, the babies never meet their parents. Some offspring look like miniature versions of their parents, and some don’t resemble each other at all. Discover all the unique ways families are made up.

Throughout the text, Laura Purdie Salas injects words for mother and father in different languages, so it sounds as if the animals are speaking. If you are going to read this book aloud, I strongly recommend heading to the back matter and practicing the pronunciations in the glossary. While you are in the back matter, check out the awesome section on where these animals live.

Meet My Family!: Animal Babies and Their Families is not only a discussion of diversity in families that is likely to sooth youngsters who might be feeling their family is too “different,” but also a great introduction to a variety of cool animals.

Previously reviewed at the older Stem Friday site by both Sue Heavenrich and Anastasia Suen.

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 3
Lexile Measure: 550 (What’s this?)
Library Binding: 32 pages
Publisher: Millbrook Pr (March 1, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 151242532X
ISBN-13: 978-1512425321

 

Disclosure: These books were provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.Opens in a new window Note: this is a new link as of 10/2018.

STEM Friday #Kidlit The Big Book of the Blue Rises to the Top

This month we are exploring some of the fantastic nonfiction children’s books that have been nominated for 2018 Cybils awards.

 

 

Reviewing the new picture book The Big Book of the Blue by Yuval Zommer is a joy.

First thing you notice is the beautiful blue color and the oversized dimensions, perfect for a book about the huge, expansive ocean. Then you pop it open and you see the playful, lively illustrations. You can imagine the fish swimming and the jellyfish bobbing. Delightful!

That isn’t all there is to discover. In the front matter is a challenge to find a sardine tucked into the illustrations throughout the book (the answers are in the back). Delving deeper, you find general discussions of different creatures found in the ocean before discovering two page spreads about specific ones from sea turtles to dolphins. Each one makes full use of the extra space and some are oriented landscape versus portrait. They are gorgeous! And packed with great information!

The back matter includes “Did you find?” the answers to the sardine challenge, “Fishy Phrases” about scientific vocabulary, and a whale-sized index. But don’t expect to arrive at the back matter quickly. Once you start swimming into the book, you will want to immerse yourself.

The Big Book of the Blue is the type of book that begs to be shared. Grab a copy, find a quiet corner, and spend time with it. Children will love it.

Related

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Thames & Hudson; 1 edition (June 5, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0500651191
ISBN-13: 978-0500651193

Disclosure: This book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.Opens in a new window Note: this is a new link as of 10/2018.

STEM Friday #Kidlit Bugs Don’t Hug

This month we are exploring some of the fantastic nonfiction children’s books that have been nominated for 2018 Cybils awards.

Today we’re going to read and giggle about the picture book Bugs Don’t Hug: Six-Legged Parents and Their Kids by Heather L. Montgomery and illustrated by Stephen Stone.

The premise of this fun book is to compare what people do with what bugs do. Surprisingly, although bugs really don’t hug, there are many, many similarities. For example, the author says mommy bugs don’t make scrambled eggs for their kids for breakfast, but female crickets do feed their babies special nutritious insect eggs they lay themselves. After many similar comparisons, in the end we conclude that bugs take care of their “babies” in many special ways, too.

The text isn’t for the faint of heart, but is for the young at heart. You’ll find references to dirty diapers, poop, spit, and mouse meat. Plenty of the gross factor that kids of a certain age find so appealing.

Stephen Stone’s Photoshop-generated illustrations wobble between relatively realistic and wildly humorous cartoons, depending on the tone of the text. For example, the “baby” bugs playing peekaboo are cartoons, those hiding under the mother tortoise beetle are closer to real life.

The back matter is great. Besides more serious information about each of the featured insect species such as as their scientific names and where they are found, you’ll find “More to Read” suggestions, and an “Author’s Note” about the playful terminology she used and how it compares to scientific terms. For example, a baby in the book is actually refers to a larva or nymph.

Montgomery also writes “A Note to Parents” that should be required reading for all parents and grandparents:

“Children are fascinated by little creatures. Your reaction to that fascination will affect your child for life…”

Bravo!

Bugs Don’t Hug belongs both in the science classroom and at home as a book to share at bedtime. It is perfect for budding entomologists and entomophobes alike. Pick up a copy today!

Related:

Check the publisher’s website under the “Downloadables” tab (on the “Look Inside the Book” box -middle of page) for a teacher’s guide to download. It has activity suggestions.

At our sister blog Growing with Science we have many insect-themed STEM activities. Start at the Insect Science Investigations post. We also feature a little story about an insect every week for “Bug of the Week.”

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (September 18, 2018)
ISBN-10: 9781580898164
ISBN-13: 978-1580898164
ASIN: 1580898165

A “baby” queen butterfly

 

Disclosure: This book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.Opens in a new window Note: this is a new link as of 10/2018.

STEM Friday #Kidlit Review The Honeybee

This month we are exploring some of the fantastic nonfiction children’s books that have been nominated for 2018 Cybils awards.

Let’s take a look at the cute picture book, The Honeybee by Kirsten Hall and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault.

Following honeybees as they gather nectar, bring it back to the nest and process it, Kirsten Hall’s rhyming, passionate text is wonderful.

For example, when a honeybee visits a flower:

There now, it drills now,
the bee sips and spills now,
there now, it swills now,
it sits oh-so-still now.

The pleasant alliteration and numerous verbs to keep the reader entranced.

Unfortunately, I’m not as entranced by the illustrations. In fact they exhibit some of my worst pet peeves:

1. Legs on the honeybees’ abdomens.  Insects legs are attached the middle section (thorax) only. I know, the illustrations are cartoons, but it wouldn’t be difficult to extend the lines to the right place.

2. Honey bee nests out in the open on a tree branch. This mistake goes back to Winnie the Pooh, where the honeybee nests are actually wasp nests. Most of the time the European honey bees nest in tree cavities or other enclosed spaces in nature. That’s why hive boxes have walls on all sides. If the nests are in the open, such as on a cliff face, they are well under a protective overhang.

Would I not recommend the book because of these problems? No, because now that you know, you have an opportunity to explain to children. Sometimes we learn more from the mistakes.

The Honeybee is a sweet celebration of these beloved insects.  Caveats aside, it is still a fun informational picture book.

Related:

  1. Have some honey on crackers as a snack (after reading the book).
  2. Check out the related hands-on honey bee science activities at Growing With Science blog.
  3. Visit our growing list of children’s books about honey bees at Science Books for Kids.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (May 8, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1481469975
ISBN-13: 978-1481469975

Disclosure: This book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.Opens in a new window Note: this is a new link as of 10/2018.