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Have you looked into nonfiction picture books about the solar system for preschoolers lately? There's a trend to use less-than-serious illustrations to capture the reader's attention, for example images of the earth, moon, sun, and other planets with expressive faces, mixed with text that contains serious science vocabulary, facts, and concepts.

At a recent STEM story time for preschoolers, I read Nerdy Babies: Space by Emmy Kastner.

 

Follow the "Nerdy Baby" astronauts as they travel into space (floating), orbit around the sun, go back to the moon, then discover each of the planets in the solar system, with one significant fact noted about each.

The format is question and answer. For example:

Do you love the moon?
Earth sure does!
They travel around space together.

The pacing, vocabulary, and information presented all work perfectly for preschoolers in the 4-5 year old range.

The only thing that was off-putting was that the author included the Nerdy Baby branding in the text, which starts with:

"Hello, Nerdy Babies!"

Preschoolers might not like to be called babies (or nerdy), so decide how you want to deal with that part.

Overall, Nerdy Babies: Space is a sweet, well-paced introduction to our solar system.

Related Activity:

Find the coloring sheet at the author's website. Color the planets, then cut them out. Use the planets to make puppets (tape to craft stick), a solar system mobile (tape string to back and hang), or create a solar system poster to mount on the wall.

Series: Nerdy Babies
Board book: 32 pages
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (May 7, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1250312051
ISBN-13: 978-1250312051

Our second book is Moon! Earth's Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Stevie Lewis.

On the surface this picture book looks similar to the one above. There's a moon with a sweet face on the cover. Open it up and begin to read, however, and you've entered an entirely different world, one more appropriate for older children.

First of all, Moon! is narrated by the Moon (in first person). Next you will find some big numbers.

Average distance between Earth and me:  238,855 miles.

There's also a summary or the most recent ideas about how the moon formed when a planet-like rock the size of Mars crashed into the Earth.

On the other hand, there's a lighthearted discussion of why cows can't really jump over the moon.

Overall, Moon! is for serious young readers who enjoy learning science facts. However, it might also be a good choice for older reluctant readers who will be sucked in by the more creative aspects.

Related:

If you enjoy this book, check out the others in the series, Sun! One in a Billion by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Stevie Lewis, and Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years by by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by David Litchfield.

Also, check out our STEM Story Time space activities,

and be sure to visit our growing list of children's books about the moon and lunar landings


plus our list of children's books about planets and the solar system
at Science Books for Kids.

Age Range: 4 - 8 years
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (June 11, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1250199344
ISBN-13: 978-1250199348

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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.