Category: Science Books (Page 1 of 86)

#STEM Friday #Kidlit Funky Fungi Grows on You

 

I just can’t contain my excitement about this awesome book:  Funky Fungi: 30 Activities for Exploring Molds, Mushrooms, Lichens, and More by Alisha Gabriel and Sue Heavenrich .

Why am I excited?

First of all, Funky Fungi is by one of my favorite publishers, Chicago Review Press.  They are leading experts at hands-on STEM books for kids.

Secondly, fungi are fascinating organisms, but are too often ignored. For a long time they got shoved into a drawer with plants and forgotten. It is great to see publishers and educators finally taking an interest in all the cool stuff they have to offer.

I’m also excited because the contents are fabulous. In addition to 30 hands-on activities you can do with inexpensive materials, topics range from what the different kinds of fungi to all their uses. I learned so much. Did you know people are making shoes and handbags from a leather-like product made of fungal mycelium?

My favorite part of the book is the series of sidebars called “From the Fungus Files.” Each features a fungus that has interesting (amazing!) attributes, like the charcoal-loving elf cup with spores that germinate after a fire and the lobster fungus that grows on other fungi!

Finally, Sue Heavenrich is one of my favorite authors and friends.

Let’s see what she has to say about the book .

An Interview With Co-Author Sue Heavenrich:

How did you get the inspiration for a book about fungi?

The book actually grew from a nature ramble at a Highlights Foundation workshop in Honesdale, PA where Alisha and I met. We spotted a mushroom growing and found out we had a shared an interest in fungi.  About ten years later, we started the book. See more about what we did at my blog, Archimedes Notebook.

Attending a workshop at Highlights Foundation is definitely on my bucket list, but back to Funky Fungi. Do you have a favorite section?

The section on insect zombies. Because: insects (of course!). I had seen zombified flies before, without really understanding what they were. Then, while working on an article for our county-wide weekly [paper], I met mycologist Kathie Hodge. She was working out the taxonomy for a newly discovered fungus that was infecting millipedes. We went on a fungus walk, and she showed me insects infected with fungi… and I asked her about the strange flies I had seen. Dead flies clinging to window screens, surrounded by a circle of white powder – zombies. Dead flies clinging to the tip-top of an onion stalk – probably zombies. I had a lot of fun learning more about entomopathogenic fungi [fungi that attack insects] and this summer am hoping that Entomophaga maimaiga will infect the millions of Spongy Moth (formerly Gypsy moth) larvae infesting our trees.

After writing the book, do you have a favorite fungus?

A favorite fungus? That’s like asking if I have a favorite insect … or book! Too hard to choose, but I will say that I like unusual fungi, like the orange staghorns that look like octopuses emerging from the soil, and the coral fungi, and earthballs that look more like leathery turtle eggs than a mushroom! And the dainty turkey tails I find on downed tree limbs – oh! and lichens! I really like lichens. You’ll find some of my faves over on my author Facebook page where I post funky fungi photos on Friday afternoons.

See a much more in depth interview with Sue at GROG blog.

Conclusions:

Although the suggested reading age for Funky Fungi is 7-9, it is appropriate for middle grade and on up to adult. Educators will love it. Pull it out for lessons on classification, decomposition, or to accompany a hike in the woods. If you are interested in nature, you need to check out this book!

It seems redundant to have activities to accompany a book with 30 hands-on activities, but here’s a few more things to explore:

A previous post about fungi with activity suggestions as well as the posts in the fungi category.

Be sure to check our growing list of children’s books about fungi at Science Books for Kids

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Chicago Review Press (June 21, 2022)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 128 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1641605774
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1641605779
Reading age ‏ : ‎ 7 – 9 years

 

Disclosure: 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.

#STEM #Kidlit Book of Dinosaurs

 

Time to check out the new picture book,  Book of Dinosaurs: 10 Record-Breaking Prehistoric Animals by Gabrielle Balkan and illustrated by Sam Brewster. (We’ve previously reviewed two other books by Gabrielle Balkan and Sam Brewster, Book of Bones and Book of Flight. If you enjoyed those, this book has many of the same features.)

In Book of Dinosaurs, explore which record-breaking dinosaurs had:
• The toughest armor
• The sharpest eyesight
• The biggest belly
• The spikiest tail

and more.

Readers are asked to guess which dinosaur wins the category based on an amazing illustration of that dinosaur’s skeleton and a set of clues about it. Turn the page for the big reveal, a colorful illustration of the animal and more details about its biology.

What makes this book exceptional?

The text is written in first person point of view. It is as if the dinosaurs are telling their own stories. And the facts have been finely distilled to the most interesting and informative.

The illustrations on the reveal pages have texture overlaying in the shape of creature’s skeleton from the previous page. Basically, the reader can feel (and see) the skeleton as it would be positioned inside. Pretty cool!

There are many books on the market about dinosaurs. Book of Dinosaurs fills an important niche between the board books /simple picture books for the 4-6 year olds, and the massive encyclopedic titles for older readers. Plus it is engaging and fun to read. Get it into the hands of a dinosaur-loving reader today!

Related Activities:

Construct a 3-D model dinosaur skeleton as a fun activity to accompany the book.

(*Amazon Affiliate link- As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

 

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 7 – 10 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Phaidon Press (June 15, 2022)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1838664297
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1838664299

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.

#Kidlit for #WorldOceanDay What A Shell Can Tell

Summer conjures up thoughts of a trip to the beach. Today we have a new picture book that is a perfect selection for accompanying a trip to the beach as well as for celebrating #WorldOceanDay on June 8 and #NationalSeashellDay on June 21, What A Shell Can Tell:   Where They Live, What They Eat, How They Move and More by Helen Scales and illustrated by Sonia Pulido.

Award-winning marine biologist Helen Scales introduces children to the wonders of all molluscs (The British spelling for the phylum is used throughout. In the US, they are called mollusks.) She answers a series of questions, such as “What is a shell?” “What can a shell’s color tell you?”,  “Who else uses shells?” etc.

Because Scales is an expert in the topic, the answers are spot on.  They are well organized, informative, and up-to-the-minute accurate. They are also enjoyable to read. Although the recommended reading age is 6 to 9 years old, I would say that it is more like 6 years old (probably with an adult to help) plus. Adults will likely learn new things from it.

The text is well done, but it is the gorgeous illustrations that will keep you going back. They feature  vibrant colors, the interesting shapes, and water that ripples off the page.

What a Shell Can Tell is great to accompany a trip to the beach, or to conjure up cool waves in your own home. It would be a must-have resource for libraries, too. Enjoy a copy today!

Related Activities

What kinds of shells can you identify in this photograph? Do they all belong to mollusks*?

If a trip to the beach is in your future, be sure observe the shells closely and to take along resources to learn more about them.

 

  1. Visit the UNWorldOceansDay website for educational resources in the Youth category. Projects are variable, so you’ll need to curate.
  2. Here at Growing with Science we have pages of activities in the ocean science and beach science categories, including:
  3.  Monterey Bay Aquarium has a treasure trove of online learning opportunities.
  4. Check out our growing list of children’s books about the science of beaches and tide pools  at Science Books for Kids.

*In the photograph above, the crab claw shell is the exoskeleton of a crustacean, not a mollusk.

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 6 – 9 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Phaidon Press (June 8, 2022)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1838664319
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1838664312

Disclosure: An e-ARC of this book was provided 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.

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