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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 […]

Review of Magnets Push, Magnets Pull

Magnets Push, Magnets Pull by David A. Adler; illus. by Anna Raff Primary    Holiday    32 pp. 3/17    978-0-8234-3669-9    $17.95 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-3805-1    $17.95 Adler’s excellent explanations of physical science for young children (Things That Float and Things That Don’t, rev. 11/13; Simple Machines) continue with this exploration of magnets and […]

Review of Give Bees a Chance

Give Bees a Chance by Bethany Barton; illus. by the author Primary    Viking    40 pp.    g 4/17    978-0-670-01694-5    $16.99 The main character of this book — a cartoon boy named Edgar, eyes opened wide in amusingly fearful and skeptical facial expressions — definitely doesn’t like bees. This gives the (offstage) […]

How to Make Electricity (Lite) app review

How to Make Electricity (Crayon Box, 2015; iOS only) invites you to experiment with various objects to explore how electricity works. The app offers four “labs” covering different electricity-related topics: “Battery,” “Hydroelectric Generator,” “Thermal Power Generator,” and “Solar Panel.” Battery is available for free in the “Lite” version; the full version with all four labs […]

Review of Mission to Pluto: The First Visit to an Ice Dwarf and the Kuiper Belt

Mission to Pluto: The First Visit to an Ice Dwarf and the Kuiper Belt [Scientists in the Field] by Mary Kay Carson; photos by Tom Uhlman Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    73 pp. 1/17    978-0-544-41671-0    $18.99 In 2015, after nine years in transit from Earth, the New Horizons spacecraft successfully flew past […]