STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

Baby Loves Gravity (Baby Loves Science series)

At Wrapped in Foil blog this morning, I am taking a look at the latest edition from the Baby loves Science series:  Baby Loves Gravity by Ruth Spiro and illustrated by Irene Chan .

Using short sentences, age-appropriate examples, and colorful illustrations the book will entice babies, toddlers and preschoolers to explore their world.

“Gravity is even at the park!
Baby climbs up…
…and gravity helps him down.
Whee! Baby loves gravity.

Some question the validity of introducing high-level science concepts to toddlers whose brains aren’t fully developed yet (for example, Kirkus). On the other hand, it is easy to underestimate children. I’ve had a four year old explain to me that he didn’t want to go faster than the speed of light because he wouldn’t be able to see where he was going. My feeling is that if they are interested in gravity, you will know. If they aren’t, go on to something that does interest them.

Give Baby Loves Gravity a try. If nothing else, you will learn the correct vocabulary to use and be prepared to answer all the non-stop why questions you are going to get when your child is a bit older.


Nothing says summer like mosquito bites

Itch! Everything you didn’t want to know about what makes you scratch

by Anita Sanchez; illus. by Gilbert Ford

80 pages; ages 7-10. HMH books for Young Reader, 2018

“You probably never give skin a thought,” writes Anita Sanchez, “until it gets itchy.” And then you can’t stop scratching. But to understand why things itch, we need to understand how skin works and how our body reacts to stings and bites.

In the following chapters, we are introduced to things that make us itch: lice! fleas! mosquitoes! bedbugs! fungi! and plants with spines, needles, and poisons. Yes – there are things lurking and growing in our backyards that will make us itch.

What I like about this book: it’s fun to read and full of unexpected (and cool) facts.  Even as she describes the pesky plants and bugs that bother us, Anita offers cool insights into their lives. We learn how fleas leap, how burrs inspired velcro, and how bedbugs talk to each other. Even better, she provides plenty  non-toxic alternatives for treatment. Did you know that a dab of minty toothpaste can soothe an itchy bug bite? She’s even got a recipe for de-skunking!

The writing is clear, and the illustrations engaging and sometimes humorous. I like the back matter, too: an author’s note about the inspiration for this book plus the usual glossary, bibliography, and an index that’s like having a quick-link to info.

STEM Friday

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

Copyright © 2018 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.

The Universe Ate My Homework

The Universe Ate My Homework
by David Zeltser (Author) and Ayesha L. Rubio (Illustrator)

Booktalk: Abby hates doing homework. In fact, she’ll do just about anything to get out of it. So when she discovers an amazing scientific recipe for creating a parallel universe where she’ll never have to do homework again, she’s ready to jump right in. There’s just one small wrinkle?–she might not be able to find a way back.

Snippet: “Abby,” came her mother’s voice, “are you doing your homework?”

“I’ve got it in my hands, Mom!”

Abby didn’t understand about the atoms, but she understood about the squeezing. She squeezed with all her might.

See the book trailer.

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

Copyright © 2018 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Terrific Tongues!


Terrific Tongues!

by Maria Gianferrari,  Illustrated by Jia Liu.

Boyds Mills, April 2018.  ISBN 9781620917848.

I have to wait a few months before I am permitted to re-post reviews I write for School Library Journal, but here it is—better late than never.

I tested this book in a school classroom. The kids enjoyed it and were able to remember the differences between the animals’ tongues.

PreS-Gr 3–An expressive monkey acts as a guide to the animal kingdom’s most
interesting tongues. Liu chooses the monkey’s own mouth to illustrate,
literally, the many things a tongue is similar to—straw, sword, nose,
and mop. In each instance, Gianferrari’s simple analogy appears in
large font with a humorous illustration. “If you had a tongue like a
sword, you might be a…” In the first example, the monkey’s tongue is
actually a sword as he dukes it out with a fencer. On the following
page, we discover the answer, “Woodpecker!” and see a rendering of a
woodpecker in its natural habitat, its long pointed tongue stabbing
underneath the bark of a tree. A short paragraph explaining the workings
of the animal’s tongue is embedded within the illustration. Readers
will enjoy finding the monkey in each habitat, too. Eleven creatures are
featured in similar fashion. Back matter offers greater detail and also
explains the workings of the human tongue. The appealing cover and
bright, cheery illustrations will capture the attention of even casual
browsers. VERDICT A fine addition to early nonfiction collections.

School Library Journal. Feb2018, Vol. 64 Issue 2, p112-112. 2/9p. Copyright © 2018 School Library Journal, the property of Media Source, Inc. Reprinted here with permission.


See all my reviews at Shelf-employed.

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

Terrific Tongues!

ages 4-8; Boyds Mills Press, 2018

Animals are amazingly adapted to live in different habitats. Fish use fins and tails to move, birds fly, and cats pounce and bound on four feet. Here’s a book that takes a closer look at animal adaptations.

Terrific Tongues, by Marie Gianferrari; illus. by Jia Liu

You use your tongue for a lot of things: licking ice cream cones, tasting food, and helping shape the words you speak.

But can you use your tongue like a straw? Moths do. They have long, tubelike tongues that roll up like garden hoses! Moths use their tongues to reach down into tubular flowers to sip nectar – I’ve watched them do this in my garden! Some animals have tongues like swords, or windshield wipers.

What I like about this book: On one page, Marie sets up a situation. For example, “If you had a tongue like a washcloth, you might be a….” Turn the page and you discover what sort of creature has such a strange and useful tongue. I’m pretty sure our tongues seem strange to moths. Or frogs.

I love the bright, playful illustrations. I also like the back matter: one spread provides lists of things tongues do, and another tells more information about each of the animal tongues featured in the book, from forked snake tongues to radulas.

Head over to Archimedes Notebook where you’ll find a couple more books about animal adaptations.

STEM Friday

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

Copyright © 2018 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.

Birds and Their Feathers

Birds and Their Feathers
by Britta Teckentrup (Author / Illustrator)

Booktalk: The feather — at once fragile and stong, versatile and beautiful — is one of nature’s most ingenious constructions. What are feathers made of? Why do birds have so many of them? How do they help birds fly? And what other purpose do they serve? Find out in this book about the wonders of “plumology,” bird feather science.

Pink Feathers
The flamingo obtains its wonderful pink colour from the food it eats — crustaceans. Without this diet, which is rich in pink carotenoid pigments, the flamingo’s feathers would be white or gray.

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

Copyright © 2018 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Oliver’s Otter Phase

32 pages; ages 4-9. Arbordale, 2018

Oliver’s otter phase began one morning after a trip to the aquarium.

At mealtime Oliver tries to use his chest as a plate. That’s what otters do.

While shopping, he tries to get dad to tie a string to him because mama otters tie their babies to pieces of kelp so the don’t get lost.

Oliver tries out a lot of otter behaviors that don’t make sense for kids, and one that does. A fun story for any kid who’s wanted to be something more exciting than a … kid – even if they would rather be a polar bear or eagle. Back matter includes a comparison chart for otters and humans (you can make one for the animal your kid wants to be), plus more otter info and a fun game.

Head over to Archimedes Notebook for more animal books.


STEM Friday

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

Copyright © 2018 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.