Category Archives: Science

The Skydiving Beavers, A True Tale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Skydiving Beavers, A True Tale
by Susan Wood, illustrated by Gysbert van Frankenhuysen
Sleeping Bear Press, 2017

A recounting of a true story that happened in 1948 in McCall, Idaho, when, after the war, people and houses were taking over the beaver’s territory.  It soon became apparent that beavers and people don’t mix well when dammed water flooded roads and land for food became land for houses.  Elmo Heter, a staff person for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, decided they needed to move the beavers to some open land, many miles away.  But how? After many ideas and several practice parachute jumps with Geronimo, a senior beaver, Elmo had a plan.  That fall they successfully moved a beaver colony to an open area.

Well-written, well-paced out, and written in a friendly voice, this is a delight to read.

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Sea Otter Heroes, The Predators that Saved an Ecosystem

Sea Otter Heroes, The Predators that Saved an Ecosystem
by Patricia Newman
Millbrook Press, 2017

Why is the Elkhorn Slough, an estuary, where freshwater mixes with ocean water, contain abundant meadows of seagrass, whereas nearly every other estuary on the Pacific coast does not?  This book tells the story of a scientist who wondered why and studied the phenomenon until he knew.

With generous photos, charts, graphs, and ‘clues’, author Patricia Newman keeps readers curious and turning the pages, while she discusses each hypothesis the scientist made and discarded during his research. In clear, age-appropriate language, Newman invites readers to do their own thinking.  She shows them how much it works to reach the “aha” moment and how much more meticulous work it takes to prove a hypothesis.  The book discusses how the findings are applied to other environments.  It also includes a section that invites readers to rethink their relationship with wildlife.   Sea Otter Heroes is an excellent introduction to science, scientific method, and environmental studies.  The science was performed off Monterey Bay, California.

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Out of School and Into Nature, The Anna Comstock Story

Out of School and Into Nature, The Anna Comstock Story
by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Jessica Lanan
Sleeping Bear Press, 2017

A delightful introduction to Anna Comstock, a naturalist and artist, who became a scientist in the 1800’s, well before women were allowed to do so.  From a very young girl, she loved being in nature and learned many things through observation.  At college, she learned more about insects and was inspired to draw them.  Which led to her carving lines into a woodblock and printing them.  Her fine art were used in colleges and to help teach farmers about insects.  Author Suzanne Slade sprinkles delightful phrases throughout the story, such as “nutty as an oak tree” and “spread faster than dandelion seeds on a windy day.”  When Anna discovered nature was not taught in the schools, she created curriculums and taught teachers about nature.  In this way, she helped inspire future naturalists, today’s environmentalists.

An inspiring nature book for young children.

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Charlotte the Scientist is Squished

Charlotte the Scientist is Squished
by Camille Andros, illustrated by Brianne Farley
Clarion Books, 2017

This story is about Charlotte who loves to solve problems.  Her biggest problem is that she is squished in her den with all her brothers and sisters.  She needs more space.  After she determines the question, she forms a hypothesis, then tests the hypothesis with an experiment.  It doesn’t work!  She tries other experiments, recording observations, drawing conclusions until she solves the question.  Only a new problem occurs.  Find out how Charlotte continues with her experiments until she finds her perfect solution.

With a touch of suspense, this book breaks down science experiments into steps young readers can understand and enjoy.  Perfect to stretch the minds of young scientists.

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Round

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Round

by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017

Nature poet Joyce Sidman takes the shape “round” and shares about round shapes abundant in nature.  From round oranges, to round seeds that grow, or turtle eggs being buried to later hatch.  Each page is a nature lesson.  Each page gives young readers things to think about. “Some swell into roundness” (mushrooms)….”stretching toward the sun” (sunflowers). Some start in a different shape, but become round when all sharp edges wear off (rocks in oceans).  Some are hidden (rings in a tree stump), some last only a moment (bubbles). A wonderful way to share a shape and explore many aspects of nature.

Gentle, nurturing, yet sciency-exciting.

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A Moon of My Own

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A Moon of My Own

By Jennifer Rustgi, illustrated by Ashley White
Dawn Publications, 2016

The childhood belief that ‘the moon is following me’ combines with geographic locations across the globe in a delightful story of a young girl who lovingly speaks to the moon that follows her on her many adventures.  She converses with the moon, and shares, “I never tell you where I’m going, but somehow you always find me.”

In the night skies and against the white moon, the illustrator uses silhouettes of key geographic locations.  Each location gives enough clues for adults to know (most of) the locations.  Readers will want to pull out a globe, map or encyclopedia to identify each location and learn more. The illustrator even manages to show us the moon from underwater, while showing the Great Barrier Reef in the Pacific Ocean near Australia.

Fortunately, each of the locations is named and introduced in the back matter.  Moon facts, Moon Phases and Modeling the Moon are also explored, with references given to other resources. Adults will enjoy this book as much as kids.

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I am Jane Goodall

JaneI am Jane Goodall
by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2016

The ‘inspirational’ writing and comic-book like drawings bring Jane Goodall’s story to life.  Starting on her first birthday when she receives her beloved cuddly toy chimpanzee, to her first research project of waiting and watching a chicken lay an egg, to her being inspired to work for animals when she read the book, Dr. Doolittle.  Then, as an adult she gets to Africa, meets Dr. Leakey, and, without any formal schooling but a passion for animals, she becomes an observer and researcher of chimpanzees.  Jane points out there’s much more to gain if you see how alike we all are.  Jane encourages people to follow their dreams.  The book includes adult concepts written in simple terms for kids to comprehend.  An inspiring and encouraging book for young ones.

Author Brad Meltzer has sold more than one million non-fiction picture books for kids–a first! Read other titles in his “Ordinary People Change the World” series to discover historical and contemporary ‘every day’ heroes your child will love and learn from.

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One North Star, A Counting Book

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One North Star, A Counting Book

by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Beckie Prange and Betsy Bowen
University of Minnesota Press, 2016

One North Star is ever so much more than a ‘counting’ book.  Its wood carvings and rich color illustrations pulled me into this wonderful poetic recounting that explores Minnesota’s North Star country.  We begin in the forest, move into bluffs, marshes, rivers, bogs, and prairies to cover the many terrains.  And in each, we are introduced to animals, birds, insects, and plants found there.  So much to explore.  Yet it is a counting book and in each terrain we enjoy identifying and counting as we learn more about each item featured.  Each page, rich in details, is a beauty to feast upon; one can almost breathe in the smells of each terrain. Fortunately, the book includes a directory of each terrain and each item mentioned, as well as how to find the North Star.

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Where’s the Elephant?

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Where’s the Elephant?

by Stephane-Yves Barroux
Candlewick Press, 2016

When I opened the pages, I assumed the book was like a “Where’s Waldo”, where I was to look for the elephant, parrot and snake on each page, but as I kept turning the pages, a new light dawned.  With each page-turn the forest grew smaller and smaller.  A few cut trees soon grew into a growing city.  Eventually the animals were captured in a zoo.  To my relief, they escaped and returned to the wild.  Where’s the Elephant? is a very clever way to introduce children to deforestation.  The story was inspired when author/artist Barroux watched parts of the Amazon be burned down to turn into soy production.  A must read for environmentally-conscious families; even the youngest can grasp the concept in this brilliantly told and illustrated story.

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Raindrops Roll

RainropsRoll

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Raindrops Roll

by April Pulley Sayre
Beach Lane Books, 2015

Introducing creatures in their natural habitat, Raindrops Roll engages children to wonder what it might be like to live in the rain.  Photographer/Artist April Pulley Sayre blends loosely rhyming word descriptions with richly detailed photos to show nature’s experience of rain.  We see mini-showcases of grasshoppers, fireflies, leaves, birds, and lizards glistening in the beauty of wetness.

I don’t have many words for this book, but I am so attracted to it; I had to write a review.  Perhaps it’s because I’m from Seattle where rain is familiar and I want to savor each photo.  My imagination wonders how the author came to choose the minimal words used and what words would I have chosen.  It’s a great book to dwell upon on a rainy day.

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