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Today we have the lovely picture book, Seashells: More Than a Home by team who brought us the fabulous Feathers:  Not Just for Flying (previous review),  Melissa Stewart and Sarah S. Brannen.

 

This title really stands out because it does so much more than describe or identify shells a child might find on the beach. Instead, it breathes life into the creatures that inhabit different seashells by showing how all the various sizes, shapes, and colors help the members of the Phylum Mollusca -- or mollusks -- survive.

How good is it? My friend who is a retired school librarian and I discovered this book on the library shelf at almost the same time. Deciding to see who got to read it first nearly involved arm wrestling...

Other pluses:

Author Melissa Stewart uses the popular dual-layered text. Younger readers can find out the basics about seashells in the large-sized text at the top of the page, whereas older readers can explore more details with the denser, smaller text further down the page.

Sarah S. Brannen's watercolor illustrations incorporate both the mysterious beauty of the seashells and the delight of children when they discover one.

Seashells:  More Than a Home is a wonderful resource for studies on ocean or beach habitats. It would also make a great gift for nature lovers, especially before a trip to the beach. Discover a copy today!

Suggested activities:

  • See the free, downloadable  7-page Teacher's Guide at Charlesbridge (Click the "downloadables" tab at middle of the page).
  • What happens when you put seashells in vinegar? What does this tell you about what they are made of? (See instructions at Scholastic, for example).
  • Sue at Archimedes Notebook has some great activity suggestions, including an art project and a scavenger hunt. She also has a review of the book.

Age Range: 6 - 9 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (April 2, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1580898106
ISBN-13: 978-1580898102

Disclosure: This book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books. Note: this is a new link as of 10/2018.

Let’s explore another of the fantastic nonfiction children’s books that have been nominated for 2018 Cybils awards.

Although it may seem like a weird to be thinking of seeds and seedlings, in Arizona we plant our fall gardens this month. For that reason, A Seed is the Start by Melissa Stewart is timely.

Although the word "start" in the title and the pictures of sunflowers germinating on the cover suggests this books is about plant life cycles, with exception of a corn kernel germinating on pages 4-5 and an apple seed growing on pages 30-31, this book is about much more. In fact it is mainly about seed dispersal. Whether it is by wind, water, or animal taxi, author Melissa Stewart reveals the many, many ways seeds get around.

The color photographs are high-quality, as you would expect from National Geographic. From flying dandelion seeds to floating cottonwood seeds, the photographs will attract the reader's attention.

A Seed is the Start is a lovely introduction to seeds and seed dispersal. Use it to sprout an interest in plants in a young reader today.

Activity Suggestions To Celebrate the Book:

1. Germinate a pumpkin seed.

Do you have some pumpkin seeds left over from Halloween or from Thanksgiving pies?

They can make an educational germination project.

Gather:
1. Pumpkin seeds (unsalted, raw)
2. Small containers - *see note
3. Potting soil

*Note:  Seeds may be started in almost any recycled container. Old milk cartons, newspaper pots, even empty egg shells can serve as containers. Put an opening in the bottom of the container for drainage and set it in a tray, and/or add some gravel or pebbles to cover the bottom.

Fill the containers with soil. Press one or two seed into the soil so covered slightly. Water until moist and keep watered regularly. Set in a sunny window.

If you prepare several sets, allow the children to carefully remove one or two of the seedlings from the soil over time. Discuss what they see, measure the stems and roots, and make drawings or take photographs to record the progress as the seed germinates and then the plant grows from day to day.

2. See our previous post for a fun quiz and seed dispersal activities.

Age Range: 6 - 9 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books (February 13, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1426329776
ISBN-13: 978-1426329777

Check out our growing list of children's books about seeds at Science Books for Kids.

 

Disclosure: This book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

16

Just in time for Great Backyard Bird Count  February 17-20, 2017, we have a terrific bird-themed giveaway opportunity offered by Downtown Bookworks. Let's see all the great stuff they have to offer, and then discuss what you have to do to enter below.

Number 1 on the list is Bird-acious (Science with Stuff) by award-winning children's science writer Melissa Stewart.

This book is a fun and educational introduction to birds for young readers. It contains big color photographs and interesting facts. It covers everything from feathers and flying to beaks and eating. There’s even a two-page spread that features photographs of cool bird tongues and describes what the various structures are used for.

But Bird-acious offers even more. In the cover image above, do you see the brown mass in the yellow oval to the right, just under the title? That is an actual owl pellet for kids to dissect, as well as detailed instructions how to do it in the back of the book. A bird book with its own hands-on activity included, what more could you ask for?

See more about Bird-acious in last week's STEM Friday review.

Age Range: 6 and up
Publisher: Downtown Bookworks; Nov edition (December 10, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1935703900
ISBN-13: 978-1935703907

Number 2 is A Walk in the Woods: Into the Field Guide by Emily Laber-Warren.

This Into the Field Guide is perfect to carry along on a hike in the woods. Color photographs and clear, simple descriptions will help youngsters learn to identify common animals, plants, and even some rocks. Also includes basic scientific concepts and facts, such as how stick insects hide from predators using camouflage.

Although not solely about birds, both these guides have a section on common birds found in the habitat they feature. A Walk in the Woods has descriptions of American robins, Northern mockingbirds, chickadees, goldfinches, etc., all the birds you might see for The Great Backyard Bird Count.

Age Range: 5 and up
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Downtown Bookworks (June 18, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1935703269
ISBN-13: 978-1935703266

Number 3 is A Walk on the Beach: Into the Field Guide by Laurie Goldman.

A Walk on the Beach helps young readers learn about common animals, plants, rocks, shells, and even debris found on the beach.

The bird section includes information about water birds ranging from great blue herons and seagulls, to eagles and ducks. If you live near a body of water, this book will also help your children identify birds for the GBBC.

Age Range: 5 and up
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Downtown Bookworks; Original edition (June 18, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1935703277
ISBN-13: 978-1935703273

Number 4 is Look and Learn Birds (PBS Kids) by Sarah Parvis and PBS KIDS (Editor)

Perfect to accompany a citizen science project like The Great Backyard Bird Watch, this kit comes with a 64-page Look and Learn Birds book, simple-to-use binoculars, a laminated identification sheet with pictures of common birds, and an activity poster. What a fabulous way to encourage the next generation of bird watchers!

Age Range: 4 - 8 years
Publisher: Downtown Bookworks; Box Pck Pa edition (August 30, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1941367291
ISBN-13: 978-1941367292

Giveaway

Would you like a chance to receive the prize pack of all four of these items? Simply login the Rafflecopter below -- making sure you leave a valid e-mail address -- by 12:00 a.m. EST February 7, 2017. Rafflecopter will randomly pick the winner and I will notify Downtown Bookworks (they have kindly agreed to ship the prize.) Their only request is that the giveaway is only open to US residents.

The Giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please let me know in the comments or contact me at the e-mail address listed on the about page if you have any problems with Rafflecopter.

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Related Activities:

Check out the bird-related activities in this free downloadable .pdf:

Activities from PBS KIDS Look and Learn Birds

 

And don't forget the Great Backyard Bird Count.

 

Disclosure: These books and kit were provided by the publisher/author for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.