The Cat in the Hat might not be the first book/character that comes into mind when you think of science, but it should be. Take a look at Random House’s The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library®, and the PBS TV series The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! and you will find a whole new way to introduce science to preschoolers and beginning readers.
Why Oh Why Are Deserts Dry?: All About Deserts by Tish Rabe and illustrated by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu is a lively new addition to the series. As the title suggests, the Cat in the Hat character takes two children (with Thing 1 and Thing 2) on a learning adventure through deserts throughout the world told in the famous Seussian rhyming text (yes, I made that word up, but Seuss does that, too).
Because I live in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, I was curious to see how the book stacked up against traditional nonfiction science titles. I was pleasantly surprised. Tish Rabe has obviously done her research, and presents a number of interesting and relevant facts.
How does the rhyming work? Is it too light for serious science? Again, it works well. In fact, reading rhyme is a wonderful way for beginning readers to learn new vocabulary. If the readers come to an unfamiliar word, often it falls into place if they can relate it to another rhyming word. Thing 1 and Thing 2 hold up signs in the illustrations with pronunciations of unusual words, such as saguaro.
These books are definitely worth consideration. As the blurb on the back of the book says, “…The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library® shows young readers that books can be entertaining and educational at the same time.”
Related science activities:
- Although the desert book isn’t included, there is a Activity Brochure on this page packed with ideas for earlier books
- The PBS site has more in depth lesson plans (click on the linked titles), again for other books in the series
- Saguaro cactus investigation
Reading level: Ages 5 and up
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (January 11, 2011)
Other books in the series:
Stem Friday is at A Life in Books today. Click through for links to more excellent STEM books.
If you would like to participate in STEM Friday in the future, go to the new STEM Friday blog for more information.