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Right in time for National Poetry Month (April), we have Spi-ku: A Clutter of Short Verse on Eight Legs by Leslie Bulion and illustrated by Robert Meganck.

Author Leslie Bulion has a subtly playful approach to spiders.

All spiders are arachnids
But some arachnids
mite not be spiders.

If you like that kind of word play, you are in for a real treat.

Illustrator Robert Meganck also has a subtle sense of humor. For example, in the front endpapers he shows a fly near a spider web. The back endpapers shows the same spider with a small webbed up package. He leaves it up to the reader to figure out what happened to the fly.

Intermingled between poems of different forms -- in spite of the title, not all are haiku -- is detailed information about spiders, from what they eat to how they build webs.

If the text isn't enough, there's extensive back matter as well:

  • Glossary
  • A Few Notes on Poetic Form
  • Spider Identification (scientific names of the spiders in the book)
  • A "Spider Hunt" activity suggestion
  • For Further Study (Books and websites)
  • A cool info-graphic of the relative sizes of all the spiders
  • Identification of the spiders on the cover.

Readers are likely to find something new every time they read the book.

Spi-ku is perfect for budding arachnologists and poets alike. Investigate a copy today!

Related Activity Suggestions:

  1. Visit Leslie Bulion's website to download an awesome teachers guide and folding spider booklet activity.
  2. Read and discuss "Allowables" by Nikki Giovanni (MSU Poetry websitefor example).
  3. Reading Rockets has whole page about National Poetry Month, including interviews with poets and activity suggestions.
  4. Write a spider poem.
  5. See our beginners guide to identifying spiders (previous post)
  6. Check out more children's books about spiders at Science Books for Kids.

Reading age : 8 - 12 years
Publisher : Peachtree Publishing Company; Illustrated edition (March 1, 2021)
ISBN-10 : 1682631923
ISBN-13 : 978-1682631928

Disclosure: This book is my personal copy. 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.

 


Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

As some of you may know, my debut picture book is coming out April 6, 2021 from Millbrook Press. I promise not to overwhelm you with posts about it, but this week I started doing virtual school visits and I just had to share.

 

Monday I "visited" Mosaic Prep in Brooklyn.

We learned that slugs are not insects and that lady bugs are really beetles. What an amazing group of young scholars.

 

Today I "built" an insect with some enthusiastic sixth graders.

Sharing insect science with young people keeps me on my toes and I probably learn more than they do. What a wonderful start on this journey.

Side Notes:

In case you are interested, I'm building a list of related hands-on activities at my writer's website.

Also, if you would like your book "signed" virtually, I have some bookplates available.

This has been a big week for new picture books, but now let's turn our attention to a incredible middle grade title that was released this week, Planet Ocean: Why We All Need a Healthy Ocean by Patricia Newman and photographs by Annie Crawley.

Planet Ocean gives a global perspective to our ocean. Patricia Newman explains that rather than five oceans, there is actually only one ocean and it covers 70 percent of our planet. It produces the water we need to drink and the oxygen we need to breathe. We all depend on it.

After introducing the importance of the ocean, the book then delves deeply into three specific and very different regions -- the Coral Triangle, the Salish Sea, and the Arctic -- before ending with the stories of young people who have profound connections with the ocean and who are advocates for saving it.

Annie Crawley is an underwater photographer and dive instructor, and her photographs in this book is breathtaking. If nothing else, the side-by-side spread of vibrant, living coral versus a bleached coral reef will make you pause. If you are interested in photography, Annie has a page of pro tips for visual storytelling in the back matter. Plus, throughout the book you will find scan codes that will allow you to use a QR reader on your phone or tablet to view additional visual content by Annie. Talk about making a book come to life!

You can see Annie's amazing work and find out more about the book in this video:

Planet Ocean is a wonderful choice for celebrating Earth Day on April 22 and World Ocean Day June 8. It will appeal to budding oceanographers, marine biologists, conservationists, and up-and-coming underwater photographers. Get involved and pick up a copy today!

Related Activity Suggestions:

Reading age : 9 - 14 years
Publisher : Millbrook Press ™ (March 2, 2021)
ISBN-10 : 1541581210
ISBN-13 : 978-1541581210

Disclosure: This book was provided digitally by the publisher 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.