Monday, December 12, 2011

Joining the bandwagon

Swirl by swirl: spirals in nature by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beth Krommes  (811 SiSp 2011 PIC BK) is getting a fair amount of attention from bloggers in the world of children’s literature.  It’s well deserved, too.  Both the author and illustrator are award winners for prior books (Dark Emperor and other poems and The house in the night, respectively).
This is a beautifully composed poem and a sumptuously illustrated book that invites the reader to look closely at the natural world.
Spirals are multipurpose forms that occur over and over again in nature, from animals that curl tightly while they hibernate, to expanding swirls of fern fronds or the shells of a nautilus, to the strong, protective spirals of rams’ horns, snail shells or a rolled up hedgehog, to powerfully moving currents of water and air.  The author’s fascination with spirals is further elucidated at the back of the book (she sees them  as both practical and beautiful) as is its classroom application.
Swirl by swirl is a lovely poetry book but it can be used in a lesson about patterns and shapes.
  Bring  in

Growing patterns: Fibonacci numbers in nature by Sarah Campbell (512.72 CAG 2010 PIC BK) or

A star in my orange: looking for nature’s shapes by Dana Meachen Rau (516.1 RAS 2002 PIC BK) for complementary pairings in math or science.  If you have access to the Doucette Library collection, look for the ammonite specimen (564.53 AM 2006 A/V) or the pine cone kit (512.72 Fi 2011 A/V) for real life examples of natural spirals.
I would recommend this book for all ages because it’s so beautiful but it will work very well with primary grade students.


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