STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

Leaf Litter Critters

Leaf Litter Critters

by Leslie Bulion; illus. by Robert Meganck

48 pages; ages 8-12

Peachtree Publishers, 2018

Between soil’s grains of weathered rock.

Beneath its veiny leaves in scraps,

Amid its ribs of rotting sticks,

Soil’s litter critters find the gaps.

Welcome to the brown food web – banquet table for decomposers of all classes (and orders). From bacteria to beetles these poems get down and dirty about how dead stuff gets recycled into compost.

What I like about this book: Everything, from end pages to back matter. There are cool new words scattered about to describe the work of decomposers: shredding, chewing, humus-pooing… totally fun to read out loud! Every spread has science notes (sidebars) that go into detail about such things as duff, number of nematodes in soil, how fungi eat, pseudoscorpions – I really like the pseudoscorpions! Each poem not only focuses on a different litter critter, but also highlights a different style of poetry – which is explained in detail in back matter. There are linked cinquain, traditional stanzas, free verse, tanka, and more.

I love the back matter – a glossary, poetry notes, and hands-on field explorations. And there’s a fun comparison of sizes of the critters, some compared to an earthworm and others compared to the head of a pin. So one could actually determine how many tardigrades can dance on the pin-head. And I love the end pages, with roly-poly pillbugs and sowbugs that march right onto the title page. What fun!

Head over to Archimedes Notebook for some Beyond-the-Book activities.

STEM Friday

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Copyright © 2018 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.


Author: Sue Heavenrich

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

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