STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

Food chains & instinct ~ two books about animals

hungriest mouth in seaArbordale has a couple of new books about animals this fall ~ one about instinctual behavior and one about food chains. They’re both 32-page picture books aimed at the 4-8 crowd.

The Hungriest Mouth in the Sea
by Peter Walters

“Who has the hungriest mouth in the seas of the south?” That’s what author Peter Walters wants to know so he sets off exploring the waters around New Zealand, starting with the plankton that drifts with the tide and soaks up energy from the sun.

Using the refrain, “But look – a hungrier mouth in the seas of the South” he asks the reader who would be heading this way? His cut-paper illustrations give hints of the next possible link in the food chain. Kicking krill swarm and blue cod are out hunting, but neither is fierce enough to be the top in this habitat. Could it be the sharks? Pointy-tailed rays? The barracuda? Or is there something bigger out there waiting for supper?

The artwork is delightful and will inspire young artists to try their hand at cut paper illustrations, and the rhyming text is engaging enough to be read over again. Back matter includes a fun section on marine mammals that will have kids comparing their own bodies to whales. There’s a predator-prey matching game and food web cards for a “Hungry Mouth” game.

they just knowThey Just Know: Animal Instincts
by Robin Yardi; illus. by Laurie Allen Klein

“No one reminds a caterpillar to eat her leaves, or to make a chrysalis when she’s old enough. Caterpillars just know.” And once they turn into butterflies, they know how to fly – without even going to flight school.

Sharks are born knowing how to swim, frogs know how to sing, and baby sea turtles know how to swim across the ocean. Using simple text, the author helps children understand what instinct is. More challenging information about instinct versus learned behaviors is included in the back matter, along with a quiz about behaviors: learned or instinct? There’s also some life cycle charts for those animals whose young look nothing like the adults (butterflies, frogs, ladybugs) and a matching game.

STEM Friday

It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

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Author: Sue Heavenrich

I write about science and environmental issues for children and their families.

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