Posts Tagged ‘junior non-fiction’

Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature

April 15, 2014

growing patterns

Growing Patterns:Fibonacci Numbers in Nature by Sarah C. Campbell

There’s a number sequence, a pattern, that mathematicians call Fibonacci numbers.  Each number is the sum of the two numbers that come before it: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13…and so on.  So what?  Well, it happens that this pattern shows up in the strangest places throughout nature.  In the petals on a flower, the bracts on a pinecone, the skin of a pineapple, and the shell of a nautilus.  Who knew that nature and math were so intertwined!

This book makes a somewhat sophisticated math concept accessible to elementary age kids, although it helps if the reader has experience with number patterns.  Simple, striking photographs illustrate the concept beautifully, and the last page in the book expands on related concepts like the Golden Ratio and Lucas numbers for those readers who want to know more.  Fabulous and simple non-fiction about a concept unusual in children’s books.

fibonacci 1

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Bone By Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons

March 28, 2014

51-hQw5DqCL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_[1]Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons

By Sarah Levine and T.S Spookytooth

What kind of animal would you be if your finger bones grew so long that they reached your feet? Or what if you had no leg bones but kept your arm bones?

Beginning with an introduction to the human skeleton, this book then compares our bones to the bones of various animals by posing questions like the ones above and then revealing the answers! Did you know that a bat’s wings are made up of finger bones much like the ones in our hands? Young scientists will enjoy this creative and interesting way of learning about the skeletal system and how it functions.

Recommended for children aged 5 and up.

Reviewed by: Lara (Haggard Library)

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March 25, 2014


Jane Brocket’s Clever Concepts

Cold, Crunchy, Colorful

Using Our Senses

Brocket’s newest nonfiction treasure explores the five senses with your preschooler.  The vibrant and tantalizing pictures really stand out and help each sense truly come to life.

The book gives a simple definition of each sense, along with several vividly engaging examples. I can almost feel the cactus spikes,  smell the delicate yellow daffodils, and hear taxi cabs honking.

This is a fabulous book to explore with your child. Check it out– you’ll be glad you did!


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Spring Is for the Birds

March 14, 2014


Three new titles in the collection on birds provide a little science, beautiful illustrations and great read-aloud experiences. These delightful bird books will fly off library shelves and fascinate young listeners.


Ages 2-5: Nest by Jorey Hurley. In just 15 words readers are introduced to the life cycle of robins. NEST is the first word next to a dogwood tree where a mating robin couple look at their pretty blue egg. For WARM, the mother is sitting on her egg, protecting it from  raindrops, just as the tree starts to bud. Using the dogwood tree as a backdrop in each two-page spread reinforces the sense of a year’s time.


Ages 3-6: Two Little Birds by Mary Newell DePalma. Two little nest-mates hatch, grow and play until one day they spot an enormous flock of birds overhead and join them. Though they struggle to keep up the two yellow birds fly far from home, through a thunderstorm and over a sea. Later they return home to start families of their own. DePalma’s colorful illustrations skillfully heighten the mood of the story: the pair might appear as mere specks in the enormous sky or take center stage as they nest or frolic. This tale of orchard orioles making the exhausting journey from U.S.A. to Central America and back introduces the concept of migration to younger readers.


Ages 6-9: Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart. Well knock me over with a feather! Who knew there were so many kinds of feathers serving so many purposes! Stewart compares everyday objects in a child’s world with feathers from 16 birds to illustrate their unique properties. Larger text is presented in read-aloud rhyme. Feathers can shade out sun like an umbrella . . . or protect skin like sunscreen. Text in smaller font is reserved for further explanation. Sarah Branner’s detailed color illustrations of birds and feathers have a photographic quality perfectly suited to the scrapbook format.

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Sweet Dreams

March 11, 2014

sweet dreamsSweet Dreams

By Jewel

Illustrated by Amy June Bates

As the shadows and moon beams roll in, a mother and her child embark on an adventure through the magical night. Along the velvety clouds and twinkling constellations, the pair fish for stars and are welcomed by the man in the moon.

One of the things that I loved about this book was the illustrations. Amy June Bates does a wonderful job of bringing Jewel’s words to life. Her illustrations are beautiful and there’s something about her style that evokes a nostalgic feeling. Written and sung by Jewel, Sweet Dreams is a darling book many can enjoy.

Recommended for children between the ages of 1-5 years.

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Hippos Can’t Swim and Other Fun Facts

February 27, 2014

500x500_3933684_file[1]Hippos Can’t Swim and Other Fun Facts by Laura Lyn DiSiena and Hannah Eliot/Pete Oswald

Did you know that hippos can’t swim? Apparently, their bodies are too dense to float, so they just walk underwater instead and use their feet to push off in order to move themselves around! That fact leads to dozens more about all sorts of other animals, from squirrels to fireflies to big blue whales. Each topic leads right into the next one, and you’ll discover all sorts of interesting information about animals, like how many naps an ant takes each day, how many times per second a hummingbird can flap its wings, and how jellyfish scare away predators!

This wonderfully illustrated non-fiction book is definitely a great way to jump-start your young one’s interest in animals and science, and parents will find it entertaining as well. If you enjoy this one, be sure to check out its companion book Chickens Don’t Fly and Other Fun Facts as well!

Reviewed by: Lara (Haggard)

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Fly Guy Presents Space

February 6, 2014

fly guy spacefly guy spacefly guy spaceFly Guy Presents Space by Tedd Arnold

Fly Guy learns about space from his friend Buzz in this fact-filled but funny title.   Photographs of space and some of the people who have been important in space exploration are combined with illustrations of Buzz and Fly Guy.  Imagine Fly Guy in an astronaut suit in front of an actual image showing part of the universe. Buzz explains what he and Fly Guy are seeing at the Space Museum. Buzz also takes notes which are shown throughout the book. In addition to being entertained by Buzz and Fly Guy’s adventure, I learned something I didn’t know- the first creatures sent into space were fruit flies in 1947.  Fly Guy was quite excited about that fact.

buzz notebook

Interest level- K-3rd

Reading level- 2nd-3rd

Recommended by Donna C (Schimelpfenig Library)

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Animals Upside Down

December 26, 2013

Animals-Upside-DownAnimals Upside Down: A Pull, Pop, Lift & Learn Book! by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page.

Flaps, pull-tabs, and even a few popups add to the fun of finding out why some animals turn upside down. Sometimes hanging upside down helps a creature sleep- as in the hanging parrot.  Another bird has to turn upside down to leave its nest.

The fire-bellied toad turns upside down to avoid predators and the trumpetfish waits upside down for its prey.

Once again the cut paper illustrations by Steve Jenkins are dazzling.  The detail in his collages plus the movement from the pull-tabs, flaps and popups bring the creatures to life.  More facts about each of the animals are listed at the end of the book.

Preschool and early elementary kids will enjoy the interactive images and the basic facts, but the detailed text sections will be more readily understood by upper elementary students.

Donna C (Schimelpfenig Library)



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Tales of Famous Animals

November 29, 2013

indexCAHKH1E3Tales of Famous Animals

By Peter and Connie Roop

Illustrated by Zachary Pullen

A collection of stories from ancient Rome through modern day, Tales of Famous Animals follows the lives of seventeen different animals through history. The stories are paired with the historical facts and people surrounding them and how these amazing animals helped shape the world we know. Follow the tale of the mighty warhorse Bucephalus who has a city named after him in Pakistan and learn how he carried Alexander the Great through his many battles. Farther along in history is the first African elephant to set foot in Europe in almost two thousand years, Jumbo. Still the logo of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus, Jumbo originally lived in the London zoo. Over ten thousand people came to see his first performance in Madison Square Garden.

Tales of Famous Animals is a great read for kids interested in history or in amazing animals. From Punxsutawney Phil to the dogs that searched Ground Zero for survivors after 9/11 to Balto and Smokey Bear, the facts and trivia will surprise even older readers.

Recommended for ages 8-12.

Nicki P. (Schimelpfenig)

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Best Foot Forward: Exploring Feet, Flippers, and Claws

November 8, 2013

Best Foot Forward: Exploring Feet, Flippers, and Claws
by Ingo Arndt

Kids will have a great time guessing, “Whose foot is this?” while reading this fascinating book of extreme close-up photos and fun facts on animals and their feet. Feet that walk, climb, swim, dig, and jump! Feet that are just flat-out extraordinary! The soles of the elephant’s feet are soft and springy to help support its weight and cushion its walk. The toes on the feet of a red-eyed tree frog secrete a sticky liquid that allow it to hold on to surfaces. Children will learn the whys behind the natural adaptations of over a dozen creatures. A book of wonderful detail that warrants multiple readings.

Recommended for ages 4 to 8.

(Jocelyn, Davis Library)

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