Children's Book Reviews

Friday, March 02, 2007

Science and Math Are Fun!

It's March already! When I was a child I loved science, only I didn't know it. I thought it was hard to learn. In truth I was observing and recording science all the time in my daily, seasonal outdoor life. We had an almond tree just outside our back door, a creek at the bottom of the property, and bees swarming in the big oak tree on their way to another hive. I still remember the smell of the almond blossoms, the tast of the fresh almonds, and the feel of the fuzzy outer covering. The creek always had tadpoles for my brothers and I to catch and then watch them change into frogs. Even then we always knew to put them back to grow in the wild, as we called it then. Yes, nature was fun. Now, older, I am tring to understand physics such as in Lisa Randall's Warped Passages:Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions. I never thought I'd be able to understand anything beyond frogs and plants, but I'm having fun learning! There really might be parallel universe's out there!
As always it's a delight to review nature and math books from Sylvan Dell. The quality
of their books is always outstanding!

Turtles In My Sandbox

A few decades ago, it was a common thing to have terrapins as pets in homes and classrooms. One could win them at fairs and buy them with painted shells at seaside resorts. It was a shame then that there was not more education about terrapins and their natural habitat. Jennifer Keats Curtis’ most informative book would have been welcome then as it surely is now.

Children can easily relate to Ms. Curtis’ book and the tale of Maggie who finds terrapin eggs in her sandbox! With the help of the Turtle Lady, Maggie and her mother care for the eggs until the turtles hatch and are released back into the sea. It is a delight that Ms. Curtis uses the scientific terms for the body parts of the terrapins as it helps children stretch their vocabularies. Emanuel Schongut’s watercolor illustrations are clear, detailed and offer excellent support to the text. The facts and color activities at the end of the book are a first-rate addition to the book. This book is highly recommended for ages 4 – 10, and will be a great addition to second to fifth grade science units in classrooms.

One Odd Day

One day a little boy wakes up to find his clock had only odd numbers and his shirt has three sleeves. What else is odd in this odd day? What a fun way to learn about the mathematical concept of odd numbers! Authors Doris Fisher and Dani Sneed explore different ways in which children can notice odd numbers throughout their day. Doris writes in delightful verse about the numbers one through nine.

To add to the fun, illustrator Karen Lee adds visual humor to the story. The dog has a dragon tail and Mom wears a firefighter’s hat and ballet tutu in the morning! Teacher, Miss Dodd, has three eyes! Young children will have fun finding these and other fun images in the book. Number words are highlighted in bold to help the first and second graders learn to read them. Activities in the back of the book are varied and fun for a rainy day at home or math time at school! Children ages 4 to 7 will delight in this book.

If You Were A Parrot

What would it be like if you were a parrot? This enjoyable book tells you just how it would be to be a parrot throughout your day. You would even eat a popsicle, stick and all!

Author Katherine Rawson writes about parrot behavior and preferences in an amusing, informative way. Sherry Rogers illustrations enhance the text with dramatic scenes showing parrot behavior by painting children with beaks, claws, and the abilities to climb curtains and imitate phones. Young children will have so much fun imitating the parrots and parrot-children in this book. There is even a fact sheet in the back that tells children how to care for a pet parrot. This is a fun book for children ages 3 – 8.

Enjoy your March and the beginning of Spring!


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