Today we have an astounding picture book, Night Becomes Day: Changes in Nature by Cynthia Argentine.
The premise of Night Becomes Day isn’t easy to explain, but simply amazing. It is an introduction to periodic scientific processes such as life cycles, the water cycle, and the rock cycle. However, no topic is treated separately. Argentine overlaps the concepts, comparing and contrasting, to show the general qualities of transformations.
To help clarify, let’s look at an example. the author compares the ancient process of forming a diamond crystal deep in the Earth (part of the rock cycle) to the brief, fragile formation of a snowflake (part of the water cycle). These complex processes are revealed using age-appropriate text matched with high quality stock photos. She pairs words like quick – slow, hot – cold, dull-brighten to show the contrasts.
It appears simple on the surface, but there’s a lot more going here if you pay attention. Take the subtle framing device. The words of the beginning:
Night becomes day.
Flower becomes fruit.
are inverted as the book closes, giving a nested effect.
Fruit becomes flower.
Day becomes night.
While you are catching your breath from that, here comes the back matter to knock you over. Argentine’s author’s note explains how changes occur in both living and nonliving things, how connections are made, and how the science of making connections is Ecology. In the next section, “A Closer Look At The Science of Change,” is actually a zoomed out view of the text, explaining the big picture. In the diamond versus snowflake spread, for example, she explains how chemistry, geology, and physics are all involved in the process of forming crystals.
Night Becomes Day: Changes in Nature helps young readers see how natural processes relate to one another. Reading it might just transform them!
Be sure to visit Cynthia Argentine’s beautiful website.
This books has inspired me to come up with more posts about Ecology. In the mean time, try:
- Explore the water cycle (previous post)
- Rocks, crystals, and fossils (previous post)
- Butterfly life cycles (previous post)
Another review, with more from the author at Archimedes Notebook
Edit: Check out the Lerner Blog for more great information about the book. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom for links to the free teaching guide.
Publisher : Millbrook Press ™ (October 5, 2021)
ISBN-10 : 1541581245
ISBN-13 : 978-1541581241
Disclosure: An e-ARC of this book was provided by the publisher. 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.
I like the way Cynthia brings everything together at the end, like a circle. I also like the way she makes readers expand the way they think about time and change.
Yes, she brought together things that I would not have thought of, but which make perfect sense. Thank you for stopping by.