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For STEM Friday we have a picture book that is much more than the usual, Book of Flight: 10 Record-Breaking Animals with Wings by Gabrielle Balkan and illustrated by Sam Brewster.

Why "more than the usual"?

At 10.5 x 12.8 inches, this book is larger than many picture books.

Inside, you will discover a challenging quiz format. The author sets up questions such as "Guess Who is the Fastest Flyer" and then gives plenty of details so the reader can figure it out. Included in the question spread is a blueprint-style illustration of the animal (like on the cover) with key features labelled. Turn the page and the answer is revealed in full color. To add a bit "more," the animal has a textured overlay on the paper that begs to be felt. Take a minute and rub your fingers over it. Then read the first person point of view story of that animal.

Although you would think that a book about flight would be about birds, the author has included insects, bats and even a fish. The last spread talks about human flight. Again, more than you expect.

Finally, the reading level is Lexile Measure: 680L, but the first book in this series (see below) got glowing reviews from the parents of preschoolers. Obviously, with a bit of help from an adult reader, these books appeal to more than the suggested age range.

Book of Flight is a perfect choice for young readers interested in animals, those in flying things, and also those trivia buffs who like facts about records. It is guaranteed to fly off the shelf!

See our related post about human versus insect anatomy.

Age Range: 5 - 8 years
Publisher: Phaidon Press (June 5, 2019)
ISBN-10: 0714878634
ISBN-13: 978-0714878638

Previous title in series:
Book of Bones: 10 Record-Breaking Animals by Gabrielle Balkan and illustrated by Sam Brewster

Wow, Book of Bones also exceeds expectations.

The format is similar to Book of Flight. Readers are asked which animal has the most bones, the biggest bone, etc. One difference is that instead of a blueprint, the illustration in the question spread is of animal's skeleton in white (and light gray) against a stark black background. What is even cooler is that in the full color answer spread that comes next, the texture overlaying the animal is in the shape of creature's skeleton. Basically, the reader can feel (and see) the skeleton as it would be positioned inside. Wow!

Other than that major difference, the rest of the highlights are similar in both books.

Book of Bones is a great introduction to comparative anatomy that is easy to swallow. Open up a copy today!

Age Range: 7 - 10 years
Publisher: Phaidon Press (September 18, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0714875120
ISBN-13: 978-0714875125

 

Disclosure: These books were 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.

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titanosaur book coverToday we have the larger-than-life picture book Titanosaur: Discovering the World's Largest Dinosaur by Diego Pol, Jose Luis Carballido, and illustrated by Florencia Gigena.

Everything about this book is huge (and hugely impressive):

  • At 11.8 x 11.8 inches it is physically bigger than most picture books.
  • It is written by the actual paleontologists who dug up the dinosaur. Their excitement about the find bounds off of each and every page.
  • It features the biggest dinosaur ever found (so far)
  • It is likely to appeal to readers far outside its recommended age range

There is also much to admire, starting with the end papers which feature a map of South America to show where the dinosaur was discovered. It really helps readers get oriented.

The story itself starts with a gaucho and his dog discovering a big bone on his ranch. What follows is an inside look at how a dinosaur skeleton is dug up and processed.

Accompanying the main text are sidebars that pull out keywords and explain them. For example, the first sidebar explains what a gaucho is, the second defines the word paleontologist, the third discusses how dinosaur bones are fossils. Although sidebars are standard in many nonfiction texts, these are particularly well done.

Florence Gigena’s illustrations are also top notch. They give continuity to the look and and expand the story. The best image by far is one of a man lying on the ground next to a femur to show how immense it really is! Another cool feature shows the placement of certain bones inside the skeleton of a transparent dinosaur.  If that isn't enough, there are many color photographs of the finds and team nestled in the artwork.

Titanosaur rises above the competition. It will enthrall youngsters already passionate about dinosaurs, but will also grab the attention of anyone interested in science or how scientists work. Dig up a copy today!!

Age Range: 5 - 7 years
Publisher: Scholastic Press (February 26, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1338207393
ISBN-13: 978-1338207392

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.

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Although even though they may have lost their leaves where you live, now is a great time to learn about trees. You can get started with the exciting new middle grade title Can You Hear the Trees Talking?: Discovering the Hidden Life of the Forest by Peter Wohlleben.

Peter Wohlleben is the well-known author of the bestselling popular science book for adults, The Hidden Life of Trees.  Now he's applied his eye-opening approach to understanding trees in this book for young readers. He asks kid-friendly questions, such as "How do trees drink?" and answers them using current scientific knowledge and appropriate vocabulary. Even if you already know a lot about trees, be prepared to say, "Wow!"

Let's look at one example. Wohlleben asks, "What do tree children learn at school?" Wait, trees go to school? What is that about? Turns out that in mature forests young saplings spend a lot of time being nourished and shaped by their mother tree and other mature trees nearby. Isn't that a cool idea?

Each question is answered on a two-page spread with gorgeous color photographs. Many of the spreads have activity suggestions, labelled "Try This!" I counted 18 hands-on activities. There are also many sidebars with extra cool facts and some quick quizzes to reinforce learning. You could spend months going through this book.

Can You Hear the Trees Talking? is a must-have resource that is likely to awe and inspire readers, young and old. Seriously!

Suggested Activity:

Go outside and look at some trees. Examine them closely. Smell them. Feel them. Listen to them. Just experiencing a tree is sure to generate questions and inspire creativity.

More Tree Science Activity Suggestions (From This Blog):

    1. Tree Transpiration
    2. How far does the water have to travel from roots to top of the tree?

Want to find more great books like this one? Visit our giant, redwood-sized list of tree books for kids.

Age Range: 8 - 10 years
Publisher: Greystone Kids; Reprint edition (October 1, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1771644346
ISBN-13: 978-1771644341

Disclosure: This book was provided 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.