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A few years ago my family discovered the America’s Horrible History Series by Elizabeth Levy, published by Scholastic. The books were easy to read because of Levy’s use of humor and seemingly effortless writing style, and we were impressed by how comprehensive they were, with extensively researched and current information. Unlike the European version of Horrible Histories by Terry Deary, which had way too much graphic violence for us, we found Levy handled the “horrible” bits in an acceptable way. We read the series over and over.

You can imagine how thrilled we were when we recently discovered the Horrible Science Series by British author Nick Arnold. The first of the series we found is Horrible Science: Chemical Chaos.


It is every bit as humorous (downright silly in spots) and as comprehensive as the history series was. In fact, I was not surprised to learn that the author is not actually a trained scientist. He studied history, and it shows with all the marvelous historical references to the lives and experiments of famous scientists. Like the history series, this is “science with the squishy bits left in,” meaning that it does contain some references to stinky or gross aspects of science, but not so much as to put off more mature readers.

It is extremely difficult to find good science books to fill the gap between picture books and college textbooks. Middle and high school students are still interested in science, but have to resort to reading popular science written for adults. These excellent books go a long way to fill that gap. We were thrilled to find the series has more than 20 books. I will be haunting bookstores for more of these titles.

You can find out more about the series at Nick Arnold’s website:

or at Scholastic’s UK branch

Happy Reading!

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When I saw the little bee checking out me and my camera, I wondered what he saw. I did a little looking around the Internet and found a cool website by Andy Giger that gives our best guess for what a bee sees when it looks at an object. Since he says the images are available for downloading, here is what the bee might see when it looks at my face.

The images are black and white because bees see color differently than we do. They do not see red (one reason so many bird flowers are red) and they see colors in the ultraviolet range which we can't see. If I was wearing red lipstick, the bee would have probably seen something closer to black or dark gray.bee eye view

bee in airThis morning I took a few minutes from my daily grind to take a few photographs. The garden is in full bloom and a loud buzzing attracted me to the side garden. Here is what I found. Do you know what it is?

This tiny bee is known as a digger bee. The flower it is visiting is a penstemon. Digger bees are fun to watch because they are cute and furry. This one was definitely aware of me. It came over and checked me out a couple of times. I wonder what I looked like to it?

If you are interested in bees, you should check out my lesson plans titled "Africanized Honey Bees on the Move." Some of the lessons have information about solitary bees such as this one.