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The sounds of fall

The sounds of fall at our house are striking — literally. Our bedrooms are situated under two giant oak trees, and the squirrels have been busy scampering around in the canopy and up and down, shaking loads of acorns onto our roof. They are busy early each morning, often before the birds start their choruses. […]

Paleontology

Alonso, Juan Carlos and Paul, Gregory S.  The Late Jurassic: Notes, Drawings, and Observations from Prehistory Gr. 4–6     113 pp.     Walter Foster Illustrated by Juan Carlos Alonso. Ancient Earth Journal series. Dinosaur species that lived 162–145 million years ago are documented in gorgeous, detailed illustrations set on pages like a naturalist’s journal. After introductions to […]

Of scientists and samurai

These nonfiction audiobooks, recommended for middle-school listeners and up, highlight a variety of memorable moments and important figures throughout human history. Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune is the bloody, heroic saga of an iconic twelfth-century samurai. Author Pamela S. Turner combines meticulous historical detail with conversational modernity and wry asides. Her narrative […]

Review of How to Be an Elephant: Growing Up in the African Wild

How to Be an Elephant: Growing Up in the African Wild by Katherine Roy; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Macaulay/Roaring Brook    48 pp. 9/17    978-1-62672-178-4    $18.99 A baby African elephant is born and immediately begins developing the important skills necessary to survive in the wild. In detailed accounts that integrate descriptions of elephant anatomy, […]

Total Solar Eclipse app review

The Exploratorium’s Total Solar Eclipse app (may 2017 ; iOS and Android) will be at its coolest on August 21. That’s when a total solar eclipse will take place over the U.S., and the app will make livestreams available from several different views. There’ll be live, hosted coverage in both English and Spanish starting at […]

Our butterfly project

In July, the world is in bloom. Midsummer fields are speckled with wildflowers and abuzz with insects and birds enjoying the sweet nectar. Eager to celebrate this bounty of color and sound, my kids and I ordered a butterfly kit to hatch Painted Lady butterflies. (Our kit came from Insect Lore, which offers other creature […]

Review of Karl, Get Out of the Garden!: Carolus Linnaeus and the Naming of Everything

Karl, Get Out of the Garden!: Carolus Linnaeus and the Naming of Everything by Anita Sanchez; illus. by Catherine Stock Primary, Intermediate    Charlesbridge    48 pp. 3/17    978-1-58089-606-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-60734-832-0    $9.99 Carolus Linnaeus (née Karl Linné) pioneered a classification system for living things that is, for the most part, still in use today. In […]

These boots are made for walking…into mucky water

What kid doesn’t love wading in mucky water and scooping up slimy eggs stuck to cattail reeds and rotting sticks? Oh, it’s just mine? Well, we live in Maine and exploring local ponds is a great excuse to get outside in June — after waiting all winter for the opportunity. The appearance of the gooey […]

The birds and the bees…and the arachnids and more!

Four entertaining nonfiction picture books provide young readers with solid scientific information about the birds and the bees — and other insects and arachnids, too! — in friendly, accessible formats. In Eileen Christelow’s humorous, informative Robins!: How They Grow Up, two young robins reminisce about the events of their (very recent) youth. The details covered […]

Review of Caroline’s Comets: A True Story

Caroline’s Comets: A True Story by Emily Arnold McCully; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Holiday    40 pp. 3/17    978-0-8234-3664-4    $16.95 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-3796-2    $16.95 McCully’s profile of remarkable nineteenth-century astronomer Caroline Herschel reveals the scientist’s complicated yet productive life as her brother William’s co-researcher and housekeeper. After childhood illnesses […]