Children’s Nature Book Review: Feathers: Not Just for Flying

 

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Feathers: Not Just for Flying, by Melissa Stewart

Book Review by Susan Olcott

Topics – feathers, birds

Summary – Did you know that feathers could be eyelashes or that baby sand grouse can drink from their papa’s feathers? In Feathers: Not Just for Flying, Melissa Stewart uncovers the myriad ways birds use their feathers. She provides an overarching simple storyline and tucks rich natural history into what look like handwritten field notes taped to each page. Sarah Brannen illustrates these notes with portraits of each bird along with lovely details of their feathers. Stewart’s comparisons of feathers’ functions to everyday objects like a backhoe or a life jacket are perfect to help readers understand how each feather works differently. I pull this book out every spring and draw new tidbits from it each time. Having recently met Melissa Stewart at a writing conference, this year I was particularly interested in her Author’s Note at the end about the process of writing the book. She is truly a master of writing clever books about the outdoor world in ways that reach a variety of readers. I highly recommend them all!

Suggested Ages – This book is suitable for pre-K readers who will love the illustrations and simple story, as well as grade school students who can glean more information from her natural history notes.

You can find this book at your local library or link to it here on Amazon…Feathers: Not Just For Flying

Children’s Nature Book Review: Water is Water

Book Review by: Susan Olcott

A Book About the Water Cycle: Water is Water, by Miranda Paul, Illustrations by Jason Chin

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Topics – water, water cycle, poetry

Summary – “Drip. Sip. Pour me a cup. Water is Water.” Thus begins Water is Water, as author Miranda Paul invites us to patter, slide, and seep us through the water cycle. Her simple, lyrical phrases help us to experience water in its many forms. Early readers will identify with the crisp sounds and poetic format of the writing. Jason Chin’s illustrations perfectly complement the text by showing what fun water can provide. The additional information at the back of the book is presented as a glossary of terms with illustrations that is both readable and informative. This is followed by another section of illustrated quick fun facts about the importance of water to our bodies and to the earth.

Suggested Ages – This non-fiction book is appropriate for pre-K children as well as early readers, as there are different levels of information tailored to each level of comprehension.

You can find this awesome book at your local library or here on Amazon!

Children’s Nature Book Review: Flashlight

Review by: Linda Spence

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Flashlight (2014)–written and illustrated by Lizi Boyd

In this wordless picture book, a young boy leaves his tent and begins to explore. The beam of his flashlight illuminates the inhabitants of the forest including owls, raccoons, deer, and mice. The tables are turned when he drops the flashlight and the animals turn the light on him. Throughout the book, the colors revealed by the flashlight’s beam are in bright contrast to the grays and blacks of the surrounding night. This book would be a great starting point for talking about what happens in the forest at night and can be fun for ALL ages even your youngest learners!

Find this book at your local library or link to it here on Amazon!  Flashlight

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Children’s Nature Book Review: Up in the Garden, Down in the Dirt

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Book Review: Susan Olcott

A great new book just came out…Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, by Kate Messner with art by Christopher Silas Neal.  If you have not seen this book yet we highly recommend it!

Topics – Gardening, spring, seasons, insects

Summary – Following on the theme of Over and Under the Snow, one of my favorite winter books, the same illustrator/author pair have written a lovely book about the secret happenings under the dirt as spring emerges.  I love the idea of what you see and what you don’t see and encouraging kids to use their imagination to think of the busy world that exists underground filled with bugs and worms that all make the vibrance above possible.  Reading this after planting our spring garden was perfect in encouraging patience in waiting for seeds to sprout and wondering what is happening to make them grow.  Spring continues into the fall when things become quiet and dormant again and the natural world prepares for winter’s rest, which gives the book a nice seasonal progression.  At the end, there is a great section at the end of the book that gives extra information on the animals that are part of the story.

As a little girl and her nana plant, tend, and harvest their vegetable garden, they discover that the world in the dirt is just as busy as the world above. While they water the garden, eat fresh green beans, and read under the sunflowers, down beneath the leaves, pill bugs chew, a tomato hornworm rests, and skunks work the night shift gobbling cutworms. This nonfiction title ends with information about the various animals found in gardens.

Complimentary Outdoor Activities: 

-Plant a garden and watch and wait for seedlings to emerge.

-Have a sprouting race by planting the same seeds indoors and out and seeing which ones emerge first – you might be surprised!

-Dig in the dirt outside and see what bugs you find.

For more activities related to this book check out this blog…Chronicle books blog

Suggested Ages:  This is a wonderful book for all ages due to the great illustrations-it has very few words per page so a great book to use with preschoolers on up!

Nature Families rates this book 5 out of 5 Acorns!  Check it out of your local library or add it to your own library–click here to purchase from Amazon-Up in the Garden Down in the Dirt!

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Children’s Nature Book Review: Good-Night Owl

Book Review By: Kyle Koyle

good night owlWhat makes a book your kids’ favorite? In short it’s the book’s ability to be read over and over and still create wonder and excitement. Good-Night Owl, by Pat Hutchins, is that book for my three year old. This delightful story is full of bright, jovial illustrations backed up by witty yet melodic text. Kids learn a bit of ecology and animal science through the point of view of Owl, who just wants to go to sleep! I have honestly read this book about one hundred times, and I’m not even tired of it yet!  Good-Night Owl is best suited for toddlers to six years old, but can be used as a learn-to-read book for beginning readers. This book is available through most book stores and your local library. If you are interested in exploring this book further check it out here on Amazon.

Reviewer’s Rating: 5 out of 5 Acorns

This Book is Perfect For: Ages 1-6