STEM Friday #Kidlit Ocean Emporium

For STEM Friday we’re featuring Ocean Emporium: A Compilation of Creatures by Susie Brooks and illustrated by Dawn Cooper.

What is an emporium? By definition, it is a large store that carries a diversity of items, like you would find in a well-stocked department store. In this book the word is used in the sense of a place where you can see an array of different animals.

The first spread introduces readers to an ocean food web and all the different groups that are featured in the rest of the book.

“Deep, mysterious oceans sweep across our planet, making up 99 percent of the living space on Earth. Beneath their rolling waves lies a web of life that ties together creatures great and small.”

The rest of the two-page spreads are “collections” of related animals, from two different hermit crabs on pages 8-9 to eight species of sharks on pages 36-37 to ten “Creatures of the Deep” on pages 52-53. Each spread features a main paragraph which explains some unique characteristics of that group, along with another paragraph or two of interesting facts scattered within the illustrations.

Dawn Cooper’s digital illustrations capture a gorgeous assortment of actual creatures. They are both realistic and artistically rendered with brilliant color and detail, yet softened as if they are underwater. The texture of the paper adds to the illusion of looking into an aquarium or tide pool.

Ocean Emporium would be lovely to accompany a trip to an aquarium. It will entice both nature lovers and art lovers alike. Dive into a copy today!

Suggested activities:

1. To celebrate the art in the book, try a jellyfish craft project from Growing with Science.

2. To celebrate National Poetry Month and oceans, write an ocean-inspired poem or haiku.

Blueberry hermit crab
All claws and eye stalks
Wonder if it ever wants to be
A strawberry hermit crab

3. Read more ocean-themed children’s books from our growing list at Science Books for Kids.

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (March 5, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1580898289
ISBN-13: 978-1580898287

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. 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 1/2019.

STEM Friday #Kidlit Animal Noses by Mary Holland

Fresh off the presses we have the new STEM picture book Animal Noses by Mary Holland, whose previous title, Animal Mouths, received a NSTA/CBC Outstanding Trade Science Award.

Unless they are stuffed up due to a cold or allergies, we generally take our noses for granted. However, they serve two critical functions:  they allow us to breathe and to provide our sense of smell. In this book, readers explore how many different animals use their noses in special ways, including for finding food, finding mates, communicating with one another, and being alert to danger.

The book is illustrated with photographs of animals ranging from bald eagles to shrews, which allows the reader to see the range of different noses. There’s even a luna moth, which although it doesn’t have a nose, has structures that serve the same purposes.

Arbordale books always have wonderful pages to explore in the backmatter. In this case the “For Creative Minds” section has a detailed explanation of the sense of smell and “Fun Facts” (like the fact an albatross can smell it’s food 12 miles away!), as well as activities. You can see the pages here.

Animal Noses is a fun and educational look at a particular animal sense that will appeal to educators, and also thrill young naturalists and scientists. Sniff out a copy today!

Frogs and toads breathe through openings called nares.

Want to learn more?

At Growing with Science we have a post that talks about the vomeronasal organ in dogs (Dog Science) and and extensive post about insect senses, including the sense of smell.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Arbordale Publishing (February 10, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1607188066
ISBN-13: 978-1607188063

Disclosure: 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 1/2019.

STEM Friday #Kidlit Do Doodlebugs Doodle?

I’m in the mood for something fun and light this morning, so let’s take a look at the picture book Do Doodlebugs Doodle? Amazing Insect Facts by Corinne Demas, Artemis Roehrig, and illustrated by Ellen Shi.


Do Doodlebugs Doodle? has a lot of positives going for it. First, there’s the engaging premise, which is to ask silly questions relating insect common names and then astonish the reader with an actual fact about that group. For example, the authors ask, “Do horseflies gallop?” The accompanying illustration shows a jockey riding a horsefly. Turning the page, the reader learns that although horseflies don’t gallop, they can fly faster than a horse can gallop. Cool!

Ellen Shi’s illustrations are just the right mix of silly fun and realistically-portrayed insects.

It also has some pedigree. Corinne Demas is an award-winning children’s author and Artemis Roehrig is a biologist who works with invasive insects. Persnickety Press is the sister imprint of the Cornell Lab Publishing Group, which is doing Jane Yolen’s wonderful bird series.

Then why wasn’t I wholly thrilled about Do Doodlebugs Doodle? As an entomologist, I know that there are millions of species of insects the authors could have highlighted. Insects that do such amazing things. Yet, out of ten insects selected, they chose two that were considered to be pests of humans, kissing bugs and bed bugs. Plus they placed the “pests” near the end, which is the “climax” of the book and where they leave a lasting impression. If their motivation is to truly encourage children to appreciate insects, something about making 20% of the insects ones that bite you (and 10% that sting) feels flawed to me. If the author’s motivation was to add an “ick” factor, then again there were many more positive choices (dung beetles, burying beetles, etc.) But that’s just my perception, and its not a major issue. If you have read it or pick it up, I’d love to hear what your thoughts are.

The authors dedicate their book to budding entomologists. Check out a copy and find out if doodlebugs do indeed doodle.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Persnickety Press (March 27, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1943978352
ISBN-13: 978-1943978359

 

 

 

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher for Cybils review. 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 1/2019.

STEM Friday #Kidlit One Iguana, Two Iguanas: A Story of Accident, Natural Selection, and Evolution

Prolific and award-winning children’s book author Sneed B. Collard III is not afraid to tackle tough STEM topics, such as fire ecology (Fire Birds) and climate change (Hopping Ahead of Climate Change). Now he’s taken on evolution with his new middle grade book One Iguana, Two Iguanas: A Story of Accident, Natural Selection, and Evolution, which is a Junior Library Guild selection and earned a starred Kirkus Review.


You may have heard about the Darwin’s finches that live on the Galápagos islands, but did you know that there are two related, but very different species of iguana found there? One of the species lives on land and eats the fruit of the prickly pear cactus. The other species is the only iguana in the world that can swim in the ocean. It is the marine iguana, shown in this video grazing on algae underwater.

 

Genetic testing have shown that the two species are related. Collard introduces the reader to a puzzle how the two such divergent lifestyles may have come about and how they ended up on an island chain 900 miles from their nearest relatives. He also discusses the geology and history of the islands, and how that impacts the iguanas and the other creatures that live there.

Although this is a middle grade book by text level and content, it is illustrated with many large color photographs. Many of the photographs were taken by the author, who is also a photographer. Others were taken by his friend Jack Grove.

As the author states in the back matter, “considering how important evolution is to the history of the earth, it’s surprising how few books for young people have been written about it.” One Iguana, Two Iguanas: A Story of Accident, Natural Selection, and Evolution steps in to fill the gap. This book is a must have for budding scientists and anyone interested in nature. Scoop up a copy today!

Related Activity Suggestions:

This book would be great to accompany lessons on lizards, as well as evolution. See our Growing with Science post with information and activities inspired by Sneed Collard III’s All About Lizards book.

National Geographic Kids has a Galápagos islands page.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers; 1 edition (December 4, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0884486494
ISBN-13: 978-0884486497

Photograph of marine iguanas from publicdomainpictures.net

 

 

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher for review. 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 1/2019.