Thursday, February 13, 2014

Round up of science picture books

I’ve been busy reading of late and have three pictures books to recommend.

Bone by bone: comparing animal skeletons by Sara Levine is a terrific information book that engages readers with questions about what kind of animal they would be if --- [insert a specific bone size or specialization here]?  

For example,
What if you didn't have any arm or leg bones? What kind of animal would you be if you had just a skull, vertebrae and ribs?
     [turn the page] and…
There you are as a snake.


What kind of animal would you be if your finger bones grew so long that they reached your feet?
       [turn the page] and…
Now you have an arm with a bat wing.

It’s a fun exploration of skeletons, exploring similarities and differences, vertebrates and invertebrates.

Flight of the Honey Bee by Raymond Huber highlights the importance of the honey bee for pollinating plants, resulting in seed and fruit production.   This picture book looks at the life of a scout, a specialized bee within a hive that hunts for flowers.  She’s a skilled navigator and will communicate with her sister bees the location of good sources of pollen and nectar.  During her search she escapes a hungry bird, sits out a rain storm and fights off the attack of a yellow-jacket on her hive.  There is so much information packed into this engaging book with its brightly coloured illustrations adding vibrancy to these creatures’ busy lives, it will be impossible to not to learn something.

My last recommendation is Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table by Jacqueline Briggs Martin.  Will Allen is a real person with a mission to teach people the importance of good food and how to grow it for ourselves.  As a child, he took for granted the plentiful food his mother put on the table every night.  As a young man, he had no desire to continue the ‘farming’ traditions of his family and turned to professional basketball instead.  But a chance occurrence helping a friend dig up potatoes, reawakened his desire to grow his own food.  He felt that everyone, everywhere had a right to good food.   But what to do for those folks living in the city?

Will Allen had a vision and with lots of hard work, a steep learning curve and lots of help he turned empty, unproductive city lots into mini-urban farms.  His ‘table’ continues to grow by teaching people how to grow food in healthy ways.  The book ends with a letter from Will Allen encouraging readers to grow their own fruits and vegetables in whatever space available, whether it’s in pots on a balcony or in a backyard.

All books will work well in the elementary grades.


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