Danielle J. Ford

About Danielle J. Ford

Danielle J. Ford is a Horn Book reviewer and an associate professor of Science Education at the University of Delaware.

Review of Park Scientists

carson_park scientists

Park Scientists: Gila Monsters, Geysers, and Grizzly Bears in America’s Own Backyard 
[Scientists in the Field] by Mary Kay Carson; 
photos by Tom Uhlman Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    75 pp. 5/14    978-0-547-79268-2    $18.99 Although most of us think about our national parks in terms of their stunning natural vistas and opportunities for outdoor adventures, they […]

Review of Eye to Eye

jenkins_eye to eye

Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World by Steve Jenkins; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Houghton    32 pp. 4/14    978-0-547-95907-8    $17.99    g The origins of the eye lie in the need for animals to detect light, as Jenkins explains in the opening to this excellent presentation of the structures animals use to see. […]

Review of Deadly!: The Truth About the Most 
Dangerous Creatures on Earth


Deadly!: The Truth About the Most 
Dangerous Creatures on Earth by Nicola Davies; illus. by Neal Layton Primary, Intermediate    Candlewick    64 pp. 3/13    978-0-7636-6231-8    $14.99 Readers with a taste for the grisly realism of nature will revel in the latest Davies and Layton collaboration, featuring the ways in which animals cause lasting harm or death […]

Review of My First Day

My First Day by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

My First Day by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page; illus. by Steve Jenkins Preschool, Primary    Houghton    32 pp. 1/13    978-0-547-73851-2    $16.99 “What did you do on your first day — the day you were born? Probably not much” begins this book about baby animals’ first hours of life. Jenkins and Page’s simple text effectively highlights […]

Science and the Common Core

Danielle J. Ford

Both the new Common Core State Standards in English/Language Arts and the soon-to-be-released Next Generation Science Standards emphasize competencies in nonfiction literacies: the CCSS in its bold push for a central role for informational text in reading instruction, and the NGSS in its just-as-purposeful spotlight on the critical reading, writing, visual, and oral practices of […]

Review of The Skull in the Rock

Skull in the Rock

The Skull in the Rock: How a Scientist, a Boy, and Google Earth Opened a New Window on Human Origins by Lee R. Berger and Marc Aronson Intermediate     National Geographic     64 pp. 9/12     978-1-4263-1010-2     $18.95 Library ed. 978-1-4263-1053-9     $27.90 Paleontologist Berger, working in the fossil-rich hills near Johannesburg, South […]

Review of Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas

Bang Ocean Sunlight 255x300

Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm; illus. by Molly Bang Primary    Blue Sky/Scholastic    48 pp. 5/12    978-0-545-27322-0    $18.99    g Although it stands alone well, this book is a companion to Bang’s My Light (rev. 5/04) and Bang and Chisholm’s Living Sunlight (rev. 5/09). The authors bring a […]

Nonfiction for primary-age readers

Secrets of the Garden

Food chains, Arctic migration, animal communication, and evolution: four new picture books for young readers take on some complex and fascinating topics. In Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld’s Secrets of the Garden: Food Chains and the Food Web in Our Backyard, narrator Alice tells readers how her family grows edible plants, raises chickens, and interacts with a […]

What Makes a Good Space Book?

scott_space, stars, and the beginning of time

The vastness of the universe, explored and unexplored, presents possibilities for all of us to imagine new and different (and perhaps better) worlds, technological feats, and ourselves as active participants in the quest for knowledge beyond our own planet. A good space book captures this melding of anticipation and discovery that lies at the heart […]

Beyond Barney: What Makes a Good Dinosaur Book?

jenkins_prehistoric actual size

Step into the science section of any library or bookstore (you know — the section way in the back) and you are guaranteed to find plenty of dinosaur books. Few science books written for children get star treatment of the kind reserved for these creatures. You’ll likely find grisly stories of death and destruction, heartwarming […]