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Good things come in threes. For STEM Friday and the Year of the Dog, we have the third National Geographic Kids book about dogs published this year,  Dog Science Unleashed: Fun Activities To Do With Your Canine Companion by Jodi Wheeler-Toppen and with photographs by Matthew Rakola. (See our previous review of the first two.)

Building on common activities that dog owners already do with their pets like bathing them, playing with them and feeding them, Jodi Wheeler-Toppen has come up with over 20 science explorations to discover more about dog biology and behavior. For example, you can learn more about what colors dogs see by hiding different colored balls in a grassy lawn and watching how easy it is for the dog to find them. Another activity involves making dog treats for your dog.

Safety is first with all these activities. The author remind kids to watch for signs the dog is upset or uncomfortable, and to quit the activity if the dog is unhappy. Also, make sure the dog has access to water and plan lots of breaks even if the dog is enjoying himself.

In addition to the activities, the book is full of cool scientific information. Did you know that dogs have a special vomeronasal organ (also called Jacobson's organ) in their noses that allows them to smell special pheromones?

As to be expected from National Geographic, the photographs are fantastic. The photographer followed kids and their super-photogenic dogs as they tried out the activities. The results are inspiring.

The bottom line is that Dog Science Unleashed is a great choice for dog lovers, as well as budding zoologists and veterinarians.

Delving Deeper:

More about the Vomeronasal Organ

Recently scientists and veterinarians have been able to synthesize some of the pheromones (scents used by animals to communicate with one another) detected by this special organ in a dog's nose. For example, pheromones may be added to puppy potty training pads to help attract the puppy to them. Other pheromones, called "dog appeasing pheromones," may help calm dogs down. You can now find products at pet supply stores in the form of sprays, wipes, and even special collars. Think of ways you can learn more about dog pheromones.

Want to read more about dogs? Try our growing list of children's books about dogs and dog science at Science Books for Kids.

Age Range: 8 - 12 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books (August 7, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1426331533
ISBN-13: 978-1426331534

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher's representatives 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.

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.

Recently, Donna Strickland won the Nobel Prize in Physics. It turned out she was only the third woman to win the prize in 117 years. Who was the first? It was Marie Curie, who also later won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry. That is an incredible achievement.

Let's celebrate women scientists in the fields of physics and chemistry with the picture book biography Marie Curie by Demi.

Marie Curie was a pioneer as well as an amazing scientist. As discussed above, in addition to being the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, she also was the first person to win a second Nobel prize. She discovered not only one, but two elements, plus coined the term "radioactive." Although we don't hear as much about her, Marie Curie's daughter Irène Joliot-Curie was also a scientist and won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935, the year after her brilliant mother died of leukemia.

Demi is both an illustrator and an author. Her multimedia and watercolor illustrations have a glowing quality that is so appropriate for the biography of the scientist who is known for having purified radium, an element which glows. The gold lettering of the title on the cover adds to the luminescent effect. Note:  One scene includes a stylized depiction of Curie’s husband’s death (he was run over by a horse and carriage in the street.) It might be disturbing to some sensitive younger readers.

The no-nonsense text reveals many details of Curie’s life. The vocabulary level and subject matter pushes this to the older range of picture book readers (7-8 years.) The back matter includes a timeline and glossary.

Marie Curie is a wonderful resource for young people who enjoy reading about history and science. Share a copy today and see a child's face light up.

Be sure to pair the book with some fun hands-on science.

Suggestions for Related Activities:

This title was nominated for a 2018 Cybils award in the Elementary and Middle Grade Nonfiction category.

Age Range: 4 - 8 years (see review)
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (February 20, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1627793895
ISBN-13: 978-1627793896

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 celebrate STEM Friday with another great picture book nominated for a Cybils award:  A Frog's Life by Irene Kelly and illustrated by Margherita Borin.

When you pick up the book, the first things that catch your eye are the brightly colored frogs on the cover. Margherita Borin's watercolor, pen and pencil illustrations leap off the page. They are both marvelously accurate and cleverly put together in ways that will make young readers smile. For example, the critters that frogs eat (flies, beetles, etc.) are grouped into a frog shape, as through they are inside an invisible frog. Fun!

The text takes readers on a journey into the world of frogs. They will learn what frogs are, where frogs live (their habitats), compare the biggest to the smallest, and find out about their life cycles.

Did you know that frogs molt their skins? When they are done, they eat the shed skin. You can see a frog eating it's skin in this video. (It is slimier than I expected.)

The best part of the book is all the different kinds of frogs identified in the illustrations. Look for the Vietnamese mossy frog, the giant monkey frog, and the Madagascar tomato frog. Yes, those are real names!

A Frog's Life will delight young readers interested in nature, animals, and particularly in frogs. Hop on over to your local library or book store, and pick up a copy today!

Related Activity Suggestions:

  1. Learn about frog anatomy and life cycles with science activities at our previous post.
  2. Check the Frog Watch Citizen Science project website for lists of frogs and toads by state, most of which include recordings of their songs. You can also find out how to become a Frog Watch volunteer.
  3. A puzzle:  A number of years ago we visited the California Academy of Sciences. In a large exhibit that featured live birds, butterflies, and leafcutter ants, we spotted the strawberry frogs in the plant below.

Do you notice anything about them? Let us know in the comments.

Want more information? Visit our growing list of children's books about frogs and toads at Science Books for Kids.

Age Range: 4 - 8 years
Publisher: Holiday House (May 8, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0823426017
ISBN-13: 978-0823426010

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.