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Archive for the ‘Books for teaching Math and Science’ Category

Poopendous! by Artie Bennett

Posted by hollybookscoops on September 10, 2012

I have to admit I was excited to get this book to review courtesy of Author Artie Bennett. I know it sounds rather odd that a book like this would excite me so much. But not really, when you consider that I am the mother to four boys. We once spent a whole dinner discussing the finer points of passing gas- yes, everyone- well actually, everything that has a digestive tract does this (we had to do our research after we came to a draw). Your possible next book idea Mr. Bennett?

After reading other reviews, I was prepared for much laughter and hilarity. I was not prepared, however, for what we actually got. My two year old has a new bible. Poopendous is his potty training, all about poop bible. He holds this book and studies it like it is the be all-end all book about poop. I only wish it had a picture of a kid actually sitting on the potty instead of running for the bathroom door in desperation. He knows now that pooping is normal (I’m not sure he was wondering, but just in case) and that there are many different animals that do it in many different places. So, he’s decided he is a puppy and needs to poop like a puppy outside. He ran outside with no pants on just yesterday in a serious attempt to prove to me that he is in charge of where he goes to the bathroom. All the characters in his ‘bible’ poop in different places, so why should he be restricted to the toilet?  I just hope he doesn’t take any cues from the monkey in the book, “Monkeys fling when ender stress it helps the monkey decompress.” Over all though it has encouraged him to make all kinds of poops in his potty. Thank goodness!

A big thumbs up goes to this book about the finer facts of Professor Pip Poopdeck’s favorite subject. And just so you know there was no laughter, just quiet internalizing and digesting of these exhaustive facts. By all four of my boys. I was rather surprised. The other children who have been in our home and looked at this book have all gotten a silly grin on their faces. There’s just something special about a whole book devoted to poop- and in rhyme no less. It deserves our utmost respect and hallowed devotion. Kudos to Mr. Bennett and thanks again for the book!

Posted in Books for teaching Math and Science, Picture Books | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Astro the Steller Sea Lion by Jeanne Walker Harvey, illustrated by Shennen Bersani

Posted by hollybookscoops on February 24, 2012

Winner of the Mom’s Choice Gold Award!

Sea Lions are adorable, and Astro is the perfect poster boy for his species- Steller Sea Lions. Many, if not all of us love stories about chubby round baby animals, and little Astro will pull on anyone’s heart strings. Here’s a quick summary: Poor Astro is found as a baby without his mother, and after being cared for by The Marine Mammal Center in California, he is returned to the ocean. But, Astro is not happy to be kicked out of his comfort zone! Having imprinted on humans rather than Sea Lions, Astro works hard to make his preferences for human society known by traveling over 27 miles to reach the people that he loves again. And again. So, while he would be the perfect poster child for Sea Lions, I’m sure Astro would probably illustrate himself as a human poster boy, if his little flippers could hold a pencil, anyway. And if that happened, Jeanne would have a whole other kind of picture book to write.

Jeanne’s debut as a Picture Book Author is well-done. She has some definite teaching skills, which Sylvan Dell has definitely taken proper advantage of. And illustrator Shennen Bersani’s pictures leave me wishing for a vacation to the coast right now.  It’s amazing how realistic her illustrations are done- especially when you know that she uses colored pencils, crayons and paint. I’m impressed!

A Great Classroom Tool:

This would be a great book for a classroom unit on Math or Science, among many other options. Another big plus for teachers, educators, and even families is the additional online resources and support at www.SylvanDellPulishing.com. Astro now makes his home in Mystic, Connecticut- so if you have any plans to head that direction, you should go visit him and definitely pack this along as a souvenir. I think this would be a fun addition to a family trip to any coastal retreat or aquarium. But, then again, I’m all about reading. Add it on to anything, and it’s a great addition!


*Note: I received a review copy of Astro the Steller Sea Lion courtesy of the author Jeanne Walker Harvey. Thanks, Jeanne, for the opportunity to review your adorable book!

Posted in Books for teaching Math and Science, Picture Books, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

A Few Things on My Summer Reading List…

Posted by hollybookscoops on July 20, 2011

 

It’s been a very busy summer, as I’m sure you all agree. Cari and I spent our first full week of summer vacation at the WIFYR 2011 Writer’s conference (Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers). Boy did we come home changed! Cari took the YA novel class by Emily Wing Smith and I (Holly) took the Picture Book class by Kristyn Crow. I think my inner creator grew three sizes. At least! So, due to opportunities to submit manuscripts and all the entailing writing and revising, things here at Bookscoops have slowed down. I know, you thought they were already slow. It’s probably a little more honest to say they practically came to a standstill. Sorry about that!

I thought that I would make a quick list of some of the books that I have read and enjoyed this summer. I know, I know. How can I have time for reading, if I have no time for blogging? The key to reading even when you’re busy is having a book every place you might have a moment to read. Even with four kids, there is always a moment to read. Like, that 3 minute time slot when everyone is taking forever to buckle their seatbelt… don’t get mad, read! They’ll get the point eventually, and even if they don’t, you’ll get more reading time :) So, without further ado, here is the list:

Hitch by Jeanette Ingold: I actually re-read this book on accident. Apparently, I had no memory of the original first two chapters. Or the cover. But I did, all of a sudden, have one of those Ah Hah! moments, and it all came rushing back. Despite my questionable memory, I did love this book the first time, and the second time. So, since it was worth the re-read to me, it’s definitely worth a look for you. Did you know that during the Great Depression there was a government funded program that paid young men to work? Most of these young men worked on National Parks and agricultural projects. It was amazing. What a concept- provide jobs, and improve our country, all at the same time. I’m a little curious to know why no one has thought of this during our current recession. I have read multiple times in the news about how difficult it is for young people to get jobs these days. Perhaps we are not yet desperate enough to do this kind of back breaking labor.

Miss Spitfire by Sarah Miller: How many of you have ever thought of the Helen Keller story from the teacher’s perspective? I loved this peak into the life of Annie Sullivan. Amazing, and profound. I can’t believe what she rose above to become Helen Keller’s key to life. Annie and her brother spent time sleeping in the corpse room at a sanatorium after their mother dies and their drunk father abandons them to relative who can’t handle their handicaps or Annie’s spunky attitudes. Defnitely a must-read.

Dark Fire and Fire World by Chris D’Lacey: Books 5&6  in his Dragon series. My soon-to-be 5th grader and I have been fighting over these all summer. I steal the book from him after he goes to sleep and he steals it from me in the morning. All the time in between is a free-for-all. When his friends are over or he’s at swimming lessons, it’s my turn. I just finished Fire World last night. Anyone interested in dragons and who likes fantasy will find these books a fun escape from reality. If you are, or have, a voracious reader that needs something new to read, this series will keep you busy for a good amount of time as each one is three inches thick.  Fire World was quite different than I expected, there definitely will be at least one more book to come. It’s been fun tag-teaming the series with my son, I look forward to the next one- actually, we both do!

Picture Books

The Three Little Gators by Helen Ketteman, illustrated by Will Terry: This is a fun remake of the three little pigs, with gators and a big bottom boar. The author and illustrator are the same as the fun fractured tale of the Little Red Hen: Armadilly Chili (loved this one too!)

Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy by David Soman and Jacky Davis: a husband and wife team. I was tipped off to this book by a friend I met at the WIFYR conference (Thanks Christy!). It’s a fun book about compromise and friendship- the text is honestly a little long for my taste, but the pictures are adorable.

Mudkin by Stephen Gammell: A rolicking tale of fun in the mud, imagination… you get the drift. Perfect for my kids who turned our backyard dirt pile into a mud slide. What’s amazing about this is that there are only around 55 words! The rest is all illustration. Sometimes I wish I had more experience with illustration. I would love to be like Stephen Gammell and be able to tell stories through my art as well as my words. Maybe someday…

My Cat, The Silliest Cat in the World by Gilles Bachelet: Take a look at the cover. No, that is not an elephant, it’s a cat. Really. I’m not kidding. Neither is Gilles Bachelet. We loved this book, over and over and over. There’s just something inherently hilarious about a cat that’s an elephant. The twist at the end, was very satisfying. Your kids will love this book!

Fuddles by Frans Vischer: Fuddles is a spoiled, fat house-cat. Fuddles dreams of adventure, but when he experiences the real thing, he’s not so sure he dreamed the right dream anymore.

Blue Chameleon by Emily Gravett: Physical comedy in a picture book! An adorable chameleon changes color and shape as he tries to match the things he encounters. What he really wants is a friend- someone like him. This is another author-illustrator project, with few words, and lots of laughs.

Owls Backyard Animals by Nick Winnick: A fun non-fiction picture book full of fun information about these varied creatures of the night sky.

These aren’t all the books I’ve read- just some of them. I do read adult books too, which I don’t review here- anywhere, actually. Plus lots of books that are still in the que for special features, coming soon. I went to a few great book signings and I’ve gotten some fun review books in the mail. Stay tuned for more fun reads!

Posted in Books for teaching history, Books for teaching Math and Science, Children's Literature, Fantasy, News, Non-Fiction, Picture Books, Uncategorized, Young Adult Fiction | 3 Comments »

Bubble Homes and Fish Farts by Fiona Bayrock illustrated by Carolyn Conahan

Posted by hollybookscoops on May 24, 2010

I saw this book on display at the library and it spoke to me. “Take me home, your kids will love me!” I paused for a moment and thought to myself, “Do I really need this book?” I recalled a dinner conversation (or should I say argument?) that we had once while my husband was out of town. It was all about farts and whether or not cows or horses do it (yes, they do) and whether or not lots of other animals do. We finally had to resort to good old internet sources (wikipedia, anyone?) to solve the argument because my two oldest boys were sure that they were each right and that I didn’t know what I was talking about. So, as they finished their dinner, I looked up farting on the internet. To make a long story short, we learned a lot about digestion that night.

Bubbles are very useful! In the animal kingdom they are used for fishing, keeping warm, breathing, sailing, running. . . it’s amazing how many different uses bubbles have. For Herring, FaRTs (Fast Repetitive Ticks) are just another way of communicating.

I enjoyed all the useful information in this book. Bubble Homes and Fish Farts would make a very fun classroom tool. Each page spread is focused on one animal and its use of bubbles so it could easily be read a page or two at a time over the length of a fun science unit. Fiona definitely knows how to write about one of her loves which is “way cool science”. You can find more out about her at www.fionabayrock.com and you can learn more about the great illustrations by Carolyn Conahan at http://www.carolyndigbyconahan.com.

http://www.fionabayrock.com

Posted in Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Books for teaching Math and Science, Non-Fiction, Picture Books, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Nic Bishop Butterflies and Moths by Nic Bishop

Posted by caribookscoops on December 7, 2009

We are big fans of Nic Bishop in our house and here at Bookscoops as my sister and I reviewed Nic Bishop Spiders for our Double Scoop in March and I reviewed Nic Bishop Frogs, which is my favorite, the month before. I highly recommend both of those other books. I finally got a copy of Butterflies and Moth meaning we actually purchased this one. My daughter loved the photographs and learning about butterflies. Although I don’t necessarily agree with her about the picture (shown 45 times it’s actual size)  of the newly hatched caterpillar/larvae looking creature – she thought is was adorable. I should have guessed she would think that because after all I did tell her it was a baby caterpillar. To me it’s larvae and it gives me the creeps. That said though it is a lovely book with not only fascinated pictures, but fascinating text to keep the reader engaged.

Another favorite picture is of a caterpillar that resembles a snake. We spent several minutes on that page. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a high quality book about such beautiful creatures and butterflies and moths.

This post is part of Nonfiction Monday hosted by Rasco from RIF. Check out some of the other great titles.

Posted in Books for teaching Math and Science, Non-Fiction | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

The Frog Scientist by Pamela S. Turner Photographs by Andy Comins

Posted by hollybookscoops on August 17, 2009

the frog scientist by pamela turner nad andy cominsMy kids love to hunt for frogs! We have an ongoing family catch and release program at the local pond. So, it came as no surprise that my three boys were eager to get their hands on The Frog Scientist. I thought I might get trampled in the stampede for the couch! There was something for everyone inside- beautiful captivating pictures and short, concise picture descriptions that enticed my 3 & 6 year olds. Attention spans of young ones being what they are, my 8, almost 9, year old was my only child with the fortitude to read the whole book (although my 6 year old hung on the back of the couch and checked in frequently). We read it together and I don’t know who was happier to have such a fascinating book to read- him or me.

The Frog Scientist is written like fiction, with a fascinating storyline, alternating between frogs, and the frog scientist (aka Berkeley’s own Tyrone Hayes). Turner’s wonderful writing style sets a great tone for learning and is augmented by Comins’ beautiful, detailed photographs documenting the scientific process. The Frog Scientist satisfies various learning styles- the pictures draw you to read the story and the story keeps you turning pages to figure out exactly what pesticides can do to amphibians.

I highly recommend The Frog Scientist for grades 3 and up while allowing for the fact that children younger than this will really enjoy the pictures and could easily sit still for a chapter at a time. A thoroughly engaging introduction to biology and the scientific method, this book would be especially useful in classes where frog dissection will take place- I can almost smell the formaldehyde!

Posted in Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Books for teaching Math and Science, Juvenile Fiction, Uncategorized, Young Adult | 2 Comments »

One Wolf Howls by Scotti Cohn, Illustrated by Susan Detwiler

Posted by caribookscoops on June 23, 2009

onewolfhowls

One Wolf Howls by Scotti Cohn is a book to be read outloud – even if you are the only one in the room because otherwise you might not like it as much. I wasn’t sure I liked the book until I read it outloud (note to self. . .always read poetry outloud) because I didn’t like how the first line to each stanza was repeated as the third when I was reading it to myself, but after reading it outloud I liked the book much more.  Some books work to read to yourself, but this one not so much.

We are huge animal fans in our house and I have watched many of a documentary on wolves. I find them fascinating creatures and love their close cousins – dogs. My daughter and I enjoyed reading One Wolf Howls. A unique blend of poetry and factual information that helps students learn about the months of the year, numbers 1-12 and wolves.  The first beginning with ”One whole howls in the January moonlight” and the book ends with ”Twelve Wolves singing a December chorus.” We liked the repetition and rhythm throughout the book, but one of my favorite parts of the book is Susan Detwiler’s illustrations - and how well her beautiful illustrations correlate with the text. For example January looks like I would imagine January in the wolf’s habitat. And later on in the spring their are wolf puppies in May. Of course this is made easy because Scotti has written the text to match the life cycle and seasons the wolf actually experiences and really who knew you could pack so much factual information into poetry book.

I have to say I have been impressed with Sylvan Dell Publishing, their purpose is to provide children with high quality literature that teaches math and science concepts – think PBS kids shows in book form. With the books I have seen so far they really deliver what they say they are going to do, “to create picture books that excite children’s imaginations, are artistically spectacular, and have educational value.”

One Wolf Howls is no exception, there are lots education activities and the end of the book, which my daughter loves, loves, loves. Did I mention she loves the activities at the end of the book? Especially the one with the Wolf Communications Matching Activity, which about how wolves use body language to communicate.  In addition there are many resources including eBooks and Spanish materials.

I would recommend One Wolf Howls or other books from Sylvan Dell to any teacher or parent who is interested in quality picture books that can be used to teach Math or Science and am seriously considering giving a copy to my daughter’s kindergarten teacher next year.

What are your favorite books about wolves? Or favorite books that include math and science (not a textbook. . .unless your into that kind of reading)?

Scotti Cohn’s website and blog

Susan Detwiler’s website

Sylvan Dell’s Website and Resources for One Wolf Howls

Posted in Books for teaching Math and Science, Picture Books, Poetry | 7 Comments »

Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Harry Bliss

Posted by hollybookscoops on June 9, 2009

“Save the Worms! Save the Worms!”diary of a worm

We’ve had a lot of rain this spring, and each time it rains, the worms come out for air. Our walks to school then take twice as long and are filled with worm rescues- but usually only for the biggest and the best. I’m warned to be careful multiple times, and chastised every time a stroller wheel rolls over an unfortunate one. But, when there are so many out there, it’s amazing I miss as many as I do. It reminded me of junior high and our (Cari and my) half-mile walk to the bus stop. We almost missed the bus one day in the spring because we were stepping so carefully (and screaming like girls about gross worms) to avoid all the worms. We had to run for the last 300 yards pell mell and stepped on tons of worms in our mad dash to catch the bus.

On the way home a few weeks ago, after a down pour, my toddler spotted a big juicy one right in the middle of the road. And he insisted that I save it. “What?” I did not sign up to be a worm rescuer when I became a Mom. But, I couldn’t turn him down, he would have been heart broken. So, I found a piece of paper in my pocket and tried to pick the worm up with it. It didn’t work very well, and I got slimed when the worm contracted and writhed as all worms do. Eventually, after much dropping and sliming, I got the worm moved over to the gutter, which was ‘safe enough’ to make us all happy.

Living in the country as we have these past five years, we didn’t often see the worms come out and party every time it rained- apparently its more of a city worm thing to do, either that or our soil drained remarkably well in Washington. Anyway, all of this worm business got me thinking about a cute book we read awhile ago called Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin (author of Click, Clack, Moo and other family favorites) and excellently illustrated by cartoonist Harry Bliss. The book has that Sunday Comics pleasure read feel- and yet is also filled with facts that make it a useful teaching tool.You can even follow it up with a worm count walk after the next downpour. Today, my little one and I took an extra long walk home so he could count worms. “1, 2, 3 . . . 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, uh-yeven.” It was fun and educational and preoccupied him from sending me to the rescue of every worm we saw. (phew!)

So, if you’ve been coming across lots of worms this spring, give this book a good read and you will come away more appreciative of the great work worms do for our earth- especially our gardens! Maybe you’ll even be brave enough to rescue one or two. I like worms, even if I don’t like to touch them. Do you like worms?

Posted in Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Books for teaching Math and Science, Children's Literature, Picture Books, Pre-School | 8 Comments »

Secrets of a Civil War Submarine: Solving the Mysteries of the H.L. Hunley by Sally M. Walker

Posted by caribookscoops on May 11, 2009

secretsofacivlwarsubmarine

I absolutely love this book! Imagine, a secret weapon so new and dangerous that many of the first several people who tried to use it died. Knowing this would you be willing to risk your life for such a weapon? This is what George Dixon did when he led a crew on the Civil War submarine, the H.L. Hunley a submarine of the Confederate States of America to sink a United States ship. Tragically, they never made it home and the submarine was discovered in August of 2000. Sally M. Walker painstakingly interviewed researchers, submarine veterans and combed through thousands of records in creating the book. Beautiful colored photographs and charts of the submarine help reader’s understand the text and help the reader feel like they are on board the submarine. In addition, an extensive glossary of terms and logical explanations of archeological research and its risks and rewards, help the reader learn more about this fascinating piece of history.

Walker accurately depicts the innovation and bravery of the Hunley’s makers and crew using both primary and secondary sources. This excellent book engages readers with a love of science, math, history, archeology and even modern forensics science. When I taught the Civil War I had students read a book from this era that and this was one of the few picture books I would allow my 8th graders to read – it is amazing! I highly recommend it.

What’s the scariest thing you have ever done or what would you be willing to risk your life for? For me I would definitely risk my life to save my family and I might even risk my life to teach reading – if I lived somewhere were it wasn’t allowed – like educating women in some areas of the world. It’s easy for me to say that because I am allowed to read, and teaching reading is not illegal where I live. I like to think that I that passionate about reading and promoting literacy so I hope I would.

nonfictionmondayThis review is part of Nonfiction Monday, which we are hosting! If you would like to participate click on our Nonfiction Monday Post.

Posted in Award Winning Books, Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Books for teaching history, Books for teaching Math and Science, Non-Fiction | 6 Comments »

Dino Dung by Dr. Karen Chim and Thom Holmes, illustrated by Karen Carr

Posted by hollybookscoops on May 4, 2009

dino-dung

My sides hurt from laughing.

This book has been in our home for a couple of weeks now, due to the incessant demands of my 2 year old. On only our second trip to our new library, he demanded that we get a dinosaur book. Since they are kept on a shelf too high for him to reach, even on a stool, I had to one by one take them down for him to conduct an inspection.

“No. No. No. Not dat one, a T-Rex one. No! A T-Rex one, Mommy! A T-Rex one! No, not dat T-Rex. No. No. No . . . “

Finally, a resounding, “Yes! Dat one! Dat one T-Rex book!”

I didn’t bother to push the issue that it’s actually not a T-Rex on the cover. I just smiled and handed it over.

This was followed by twenty minutes of hugging the book while dancing around singing “Mine T-Rex book. I got mine T-rex book. Mommy! Mine T-rex book. Read it? Read it?”

“We’ll read it when we get home. Right now Mommy’s looking for books.”

Recommence dancing and singing at full volume. Thank goodness the librarian thought he was cute!

Needless to say, we were excited to get this home and read it for bedtime stories. Boy was my little guy shocked when we opened the cover and flipped to the first page, which has a picture of a collection of fossilized poop.

Gasp! Horror!

“Where’s mine T-Rex?!?!?”

Oops! That’s the trouble with picking books by the cover and not doing an inside check. Never fear! Here comes Mom with a silly explanation of dinosaur poop and the 2 year old (who is on the cusp of potty training) is immediately engrossed, or should I say grossed out and completely obsessed by the idea of Dino Poop.

“Poop Mommy? Dat poop? No way.” (giggle, giggle)

And thus began our month long obsession with the ‘poop book’. The older kids and I have actually read the information, and my two year old has listened fairly intently. But mostly he just cares about the pictures. This book contains fascinating pictures and illustrations of the inner working of dinosaurs and of fossilized feces called coprolites. Many pictures of different colors, shapes and sizes of coprolites. Even pictures of poop being cut open and ‘cooked’. At least that’s what my two year old thinks they do to it when putting it under a microscope. (I know, I know, I’ve tried explaining it, but who knew you didn’t have to wait for your kids to be teenagers before they realize you don’t know everything?) So, when we get to that page, and one somewhat similar, he announces (loud enough for Grandma to hear upstairs):

“Now, cut da poop and cook da poop!” (repeat 3 times, each time increasing in volume for authentic replication)

Now do you see why my sides hurt? Nap time begins with “Read mine poop book! Where’s da poop book? I want a read mine poop book!”

I had to break the very sad news to my toddler that we have to take the book back. We can’t keep it forever.

“Oh. Mine poop book? Take it back? Why?”

He was so crestfallen. I think this might be a good one to add to the family library. We are just about rounded out on dinosaurs after boys #1 and #2. But, I think this should complete the collection, don’t you? I mean, what else could there be to learn about dinosaurs? I think our personal library covers them from head to toe and um, maybe it should also cover the ‘crap’ they left behind. I think crap could be short for coprolites maybe that’s where the word originated. I can just see some poor person stumbling over coprolite. “Copro- what? Did you say Crapolite? Croprolite? Oh, Crap!” And a new word is born. That’s how I imagine it anyhow.

This book could really work under two categories, dinosaurs and potty training. It’s like a two for one deal. We could all use that in this day and age- we all want to get the biggest bang for our buck! And just in case you were wondering, no this book wasn’t written for toddlers, just loved to pieces by mine. There are many very interesting facts and the writing is superb. The pictures are fascinating and it is a step 5 reader book. I only wish we’d known about this book back when child #2 was full of poopy escapades . . .

Do your kids have a favorite book that took you by surprise?

Posted in Books for teaching Math and Science, Middle Readers, Picture Books, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

 
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