Another round of reviews (well, just two) from the Cybils Awards reading marathon late last year. This time, I bring to you two terrific books about our wonderful world. We look at amphibian acrobats and at otters in the kelp forest. And I also have a list of books for Girl Day (Feb 25th) – an effort to introduce girls to engineering.
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Two Terrific Books About Our Wonderful World
Title: Amphibian Acrobats
Author: Leslie Bulion
Illustrator: Robert Meganck
Length: 60 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Reptile & Amphibians(8 – 12 years)
Publisher: Peachtree Publishing Company (March 1st 2020)
Leslie Bulion’s lively poems pair with Robert Meganck’s colorful, zany art in this cross-curricular celebration of science and language. Thorough back matter includes a science glossary, notes on poetry forms, and resources for information about these extraordinary animals.
First of all, I did not realize that there were so many different varieties of amphibians. Well, in the back of my mind, it was something I already knew, and it of course makes total sense; but I guess I never gave much thought to it. This book opens up the reader to the cool world of amphibians. Literally, since they are cold-blooded!
Anyways, the book introduces 18 fascinating amphibians with a combination of fun illustrations, text boxes including additional facts, and of course, quirky poems in various poetic forms.
The Narrative and the Art
While some of the poems do not make for an easy read-aloud experience, they are all fun, clever, and effective! Readers will turn the pages with smiles on their faces. Also, they’ll learn about the featured amphibians and poetic forms.
Each poem is accompanied by a brief yet pretty informative description about the amphibian.
I loved Robert Meganck’s cartoony illustrations that have the right amount of detail to show the distinguishing features of the amphibians.
The rich and extensive backmatter is not to be missed. It includes poetry notes, a glossary, maps, informative images, resources on how we can help, and more.
You can download a great Teacher’s Guide available for this book here via the publisher’s (Peach Tree) website.
A great addition to home and classroom libraries. Perfect for those who want to learn about this fascinating creatures. Wonderful for those who want to mix poetry and science. A great example of learning with fun.
Get It Here
If You Take Away the Otter
Title: If You Take Away the Otter
Author: Susannah Buhrman-Deever
Illustrator: Matthew Trueman
Length: 32 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Environment & Ecology(5 – 8 years, and up)
Publisher: Candlewick Press (May 26th 2020)
What It Is
When the sea otters disappear, why does their kelp forest habitat disappear, too? Susannah Buhrman-Deever and Matthew Trueman team up to brilliantly show how the removal of a single element affects an entire habitat.
The circle of life, the food web, the complex yet straight-forward interdependency between the various parts of an ecosystem. All of these have always fascinated me. This book deals with all of this using the specific examples of the otter, the kelp forest, and people.
What I Loved About This Book
Well, everything about this actually. And there is not going to be a ‘What I Didn’t Love’ section at all.
The Title and the Cover
A title like this one – If You Take Away the Otter – is attention-grabbing to say the least. Why would the ‘you’ (or me, if is me the title is referring to) take away the otter? They are oh so adorable, right? And where would we be taking them?
And then the cover wants me to dive right in along with those oh-so-adorables into the book right away.
Susannah Buhrman-Deever does an excellent job of taking something so grim and might be dry subject and turning into a fascinating story that spurs the reader to action. We learn how one change in the system can cause a wide-spread, large-scale ripple (well, not ripple then) effect; and this can go both ways, so it is up to us. And we learn how important it is to help maintain the balance in the ecosystem.
She effectively combines the main narrative with informative, supporting asides that are inserted cleverly and attractively on each page. These draw attention to specific details in the art making them both (art and narrative) more effective.
Matthew Trueman’s stunning mixed-media artwork is frame-worthy. It captures and adds to the details of the narrative beautifully. The adorable-ness of otters is captured to perfection, as is the beauty of the kelp forest and all related underwater life.
Trueman uses varying color schemes and tones to depict the right atmospheric emotion on each page. And the vivid details as well as that perfect capture of just about everything makes the reader feel they are swimming right alongside the otters.
Backmatter includes an author’s note with additional information on the connection between the kelp forests, otters, and humans. There is also a bibliography, and a resource list of books and websites for those who wish to explore more.
Susannah Buhrman-Deever provides additional related resources for educators on her website here.
A gorgeously illustrated beautifully narrated picture book that makes you think, and will want you to dive right in to help the otters. Perfect for discussions in a family or classroom setting.
But first, you need to …
Get It Here
More books related to our wonderful world, and a couple specific to the featured animals.
- What a Wonderful World of Books and Words
- 4 Fabulous Books Featuring Our Fantastic World
- 3 Great STEM Book Series for Young Readers
- Wind in the Willows
- Frog and Toad series (Read but not reviewed here)
STEAM Reads for Girl Day
Since it is Girl Day on February 25, 2021 (which is a worldwide campaign to engage girls in engineering), this is a quick post to include a list of posts/books. Each link will take you to my original post with my review/more info on the book.
Note that I mentioned this list in the post titled 5 Ways to Support Women And Girls In Science recently.
- Ocean Speaks: Marie Tharp and the Map That Moved the Earth –
- 4 Super Cool STEAM Books That You Will Love — 3 of these featured books’ authors are women
- Body Talk: 37 Voices Explore Our Radical Anatomy
- Changing the Equation: 50+ US Black Women in STEM
- Women in Biology
- Patricia’s Vision: The Doctor Who Saved Sight
- Wood, Wire, Wings: Emma Lilian Todd Invents an Airplane
- Ada Lovelace (for the littlest readers, from the LPBD series)
- Brilliant Ideas from Wonderful Women
- She Spoke
- The RadWomen series
- The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
- STEM Books from Andrea Beaty, David Roberts (A total of 6 books here)
- Code Your Own Adventure
- Little Learning Labs: Astronomy for Kids
- Creative Coding in Python
- 3 Great STEM Book Series for Young Readers
- How We Got to the Moon – I just realized that I never posted my review for this out-of-the-world amazing book here on my blog. The link points to the Cybils finalists page for MG Nonfiction where I did post my thoughts for the book.
And if you would love to buy any of these books for yourself or a young one in your life, and in the process support independent book stores (and me, since I might earn a commission if you buy through the link below), you can check out my BookShop Page by clicking here or on the image below
And Now, the End of This Post
Dear reader, have you read the featured books or the related reads? As always, I welcome your comments, suggestions and recommendations.