Zoology for Kids

This week we have a fabulous new book from Chicago Review Press,  Zoology for Kids: Understanding and Working with Animals, with 21 Activities (For Kids series) by Josh Hestermann and Bethanie Hestermann, with a foreword by the Kratt Brothers.

Josh Hestermann is a zoologist who works as a marine-mammal trainer at the Aquarium of the Pacific. His wife, Bethanie Hestermann. is a freelance writer. This combination of animal expert and writing expert have created a unique book that includes both an introduction to the science of zoology and an overview of career options for those interested in animals. Children can learn about animal structure and behavior, as well as what it is like to be a zookeeper, veterinarian, wildlife researcher, and conservationist. Sprinkled throughout are 21 awesome hands-on activities to encourage readers to delve deeper and reinforce learning, such as inventing a new species, demonstrating a butterfly’s life cycle and using animal behavior techniques to train a human friend.

The book has some nice extras. In addition to the exciting introduction by TV stars the Kratt Brothers, it also begins with timeline that reveals some of the significant advancements in zoology. The timeline starts with an entry for Aristotle, who is credited as the Father of Zoology and goes to the astonishing discovery of the olinguito (a member of the raccoon family) in 2013. Sidebars contain in depth information, such as discussion of altruism, or quotes from zoologists. Many of the projects also contain suggestions for extensions, labelled as “extra credit.”

As with all the books in the “for Kids” series, although the book is definitely written for middle graders, it is also an invaluable resource for educators. Anyone teaching a unit on animals will want to have a copy of this book on the shelf for project ideas. Librarians will want to have it as a go-to resource for information on animals and career options for those interested in animals, as well.

Many of the projects could be easily adapted for younger children. For example, older kids can make their own bat fruit salad, but younger children would certainly enjoy eating one (dare I say while reading Stellaluna?) Zoology for Kids is one of those rare books that is really for almost all ages!


Giveaway  for this book and related activities at Growing With Science blog.

Zoology for Kids Website

Age Range: 9 and up
Grade Level: 4 and up
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Chicago Review Press (March 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1613749619
ISBN-13: 978-1613749616

Disclosures: The book was supplied 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.

Cooking Gets High Tech with Food Technology

Do you know a budding food scientist? Food Technology (Sci Hi Science & Technology) by Neil Morris is just the book for him or her. It is a high-interest look at many aspects of food technology, from food additives and chemistry to production and packaging. Turns out a lot more science goes into our food than we might realize.

Neil Morris did not shy away from controversial topics in this book. There is a two-page spread discussing genetic modification. He reveals that in order to make cheese that is acceptable to vegetarians, manufacturers had to find a way to avoid using rennet. Rennet is an enzyme that comes from the stomachs of animals, most often from calves. It is used to make curds from milk. Scientists took the appropriate genes that make rennet work and added them to microorganisms. He says that the resulting cheese is labelled safe for vegetarians, but isn’t labelled GM because the microorganisms that are modified do not end up in the final product. Food for thought!

The book is visually-interesting, with color photographs and plenty of informative sidebars. The copy I reviewed did have a few problems with illustrations bleeding over and covering text (pp. 17 and 20), but that did not detract unduly. I enjoyed the insider’s view of how food is made and tested before it is sent to the shelves.

Food Technology is an interesting and informative summary of many different topics related to food technology and science. It would be a great resource for someone looking for ideas for a science fair or for writing a report. It also is likely to spark an interest in finding out more about the fascinating field of food technology.

For related hands-on activities, try these articles:
Food Science 101: the Basic Ingredients of Food Science

Kitchen Science Activities

Reading level: Ages 8 and up
Library Binding: 48 pages
Publisher: Heinemann-Raintree (August 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1410942740
ISBN-13: 978-1410942746

The book was provided by the publisher for review purposes.

This week’s STEM Friday round up is at Practically Paradise.

Great New Leveled Readers for Spring

Just in time for spring, Kingfisher has some great leveled readers coming out (scheduled for release March 27, 2012). Take a look at these fun titles: Kingfisher Readers L1: Butterflies by Thea Feldman, Kingfisher Readers L1: Baby Animals by Thea Feldman, Kingfisher Readers L2: What Animals Eat by Brenda Stones and a delightful board book, Baby Animals: In the Sea by Editors of Kingfisher.

Each of these books have high quality color photographs. The butterfly book is particularly vibrant and colorful. It has has some wonderful close-ups of the butterfly life stages, and would be a fabulous accompaniment to a unit on life cycles or insects.

Baby Animals is perfect for spring when many baby animals are being born. Along with adorable photographs, the text introduces vocabulary for the names of various baby animals. I also like that Thea Feldman ended the book with human babies, which helps children relate to the ideas presented.

What Animals Eat is Level 2 and contains more challenging concepts and vocabulary, such as the terms herbivore and carnivore. Note: It also contains photographs of lions and tigers with meat, although it isn’t too bloody. You might want to preview the book to see if it appropriate if you are working with sensitive children.

Baby Animals: In the Sea would be a fabulous accompaniment to a trip to the beach or an aquarium, or as a keepsake to remember the trip by.

If you are participating in Read Across America today, be sure to include some STEM nonfiction like these Kingfisher titles.

Kingfisher Readers L1: Butterflies by Thea Feldman

Reading level: Ages 5 and up (level 1)
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Kingfisher (March 27, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0753467496
ISBN-13: 978-0753467497

Kingfisher Readers L1: Baby Animals by Thea Feldman

Reading level: Ages 5 and up (level 1)
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Kingfisher (March 27, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0753467550
ISBN-13: 978-0753467558

Baby Animals: In the Sea by Editors of Kingfisher

Board book: 14 pages
Publisher: Kingfisher; Boardbook edition (March 27, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0753466899
ISBN-13: 978-0753466896

Kingfisher Readers L2: What Animals Eat by Brenda Stones

Reading level: Ages 5 and up (Level 2)
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Kingfisher (March 27, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0753467593
ISBN-13: 978-0753467596

Butterflies, Baby Animals, and What Animals Eat were provided by the publisher for review purposes.

This week’s STEM Friday round up is at NC Teacher Stuff.

50 Poisonous Questions: A Book With Bite

50 Poisonous Questions: A Book With Bite by Tanya Lloyd Kyi and illustrated by Ross Kinnaird explores the world of toxins, poisons, and venoms in a well-balanced and humorous way. It was nominated for a 2011 Cybils award in the MG/YA nonfiction category.

Starting with, “Stop! Do not, under any circumstances, eat this book,” 50 Poisonous Questions is sure to capture the attention of young readers. Written in a question and answer format, and filled with lively creepy crawlies and dangerous chemicals, it is also sure to hold their attention. Add the humorous illustrations to make readers laugh (and sometimes groan), and you have a real winner.

Kyi has done her homework and provides a even-handed look at some of the problems that result from toxic chemicals. Sometimes there aren’t easy answers. For example, she points out that although DDT causes environmental issues, such as interfering with eagle reproduction, it also can save the lives of many people when used to control the mosquitoes that cause malaria. Other times what seems like an awful toxin or venom may have potential to be a powerful medicine in the future.

50 Poisonous Questions is one of those rare books that is interesting, fun and educational all in the same package. Budding scientists and forensics experts will find it a compelling read.

(I recently reviewed another fascinating book from Annick Press.)

Reading level: Ages 9 and up
Hardcover: 110 pages
Publisher: Annick Press (January 20, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1554512816
ISBN-13: 978-1554512812

This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes.

This week’s STEM Friday round up is at Twillwoven Blog, part of Red Phoenix Books.

If you would like to participate in STEM Friday in the future, go to Booktalking blog and click on STEM Friday for more information.