October 8, 2016

Plants Can’t Sit Still by Rebecca E. Hirsch, illustrated by Mia Posada

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 4:44 pm by suebe2

plants-cant-sit-stillPlants Can’t Sit Still
by Rebecca E. Hirsch
illustrated by Mia Posada
Millbrook Press

We think of plants as stationary objects, anchored to one place.  Read Hirsch’s book and you will see plants wiggle, squirm and reach as they grow.  You be there when they climb and walk, snap and fold.

Readers will learn about the movement of plants as they grow, as they capture a meal (venus fly trap) and as they avoid being eaten (sensitive plant or touch-me-not).  There is information about how plants move throughout the day and how seeds are dispersed. Some of the movements are small, such as when a flower closes, and others cover vast distances, when a coconut floats across the ocean, coming to rest on a new spot of land.

I love books that make us rethink how we look at the world so this one was natural for me.  I also appreciate how the author uses especially simple text to convey so much information.

Mia Posada brings the plants themselves to life using a combination of cut paper collage and water-color.  Fibers in the paper are used to great effect as they mirror the fibers in the plants themselves.  The water-color lend graceful bleeds as leaves turn toward their autumn colors as well as the vibrant but changing colors within a venus fly trap.  I love cut paper collage and “read” the book through once just taking in the textures of the paper.

For those who want more information than can be found in the main text, the author has compiled extensive information on each plant in an author’s note.  My only complaint, and it is minor, is that in describing the Russian thistle she doesn’t clarify that it is also known as a tumble weed.  Since there is no image accompanying this particular description, some readers may have trouble making the connection back to the appropriate image. A glossary, reading list and web sites round out the back matter.

This book is an excellent choice for quite reading or for use in the classroom.  Share it with the young reader in your life today!




April 16, 2015

The Long, Long Journey by Sandra Markle, illustrated by Mia Posada

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 1:46 am by suebe2

GodwitThe Long, Long Journey:
The Godwit’s Amazing Migration
by Sandra Markle
illustrated by Mia Posada

In June, the tiny long-legged chick hatches out in Alaska.  Who could believe, looking at this wee bit of fluff, that by October she will be ready to migrate to New Zealand.  But that’s exactly what these birds do.  While we in the US look for robins as the first sign of spring, the people in New Zealand look for the godwits to arrive from Alaska.

When they hatch, they stay close to the nest, pecking up spiders, crane fly larvae and more.  Any tiny insect can become a godwit snack. Peck! Gulp!

Godwit chicks blend with the tawny grasses, an excellent disguise as fox will gobble them up.  But the chicks don’t rely entirely on their coloration, mom and dad and other adults swoop and dive until the fox runs away.

For a month the chicks eat and grow and hop, exercising their wings.  When they are big enough to follow their fathers down the coast their diet changes to tunneling worms and tiny clams.  They are still eating as much as they can because they’re going to need plenty of fat to fuel their flight.

First the adult godwit leave.  Finally the young birds take off. They’ve never made the journey before but somehow they know where to go.  For eight days the birds flap and flap until they spy brown and green. Then they land on the beaches of New Zealand and immediately go to sleep.  In only eight days, they have flown over 7,000 miles.

I love books like this that go into detail about the life of a particular animal.  I didn’t know anything about godwits, or even the word, when I picked the book up but I loved the collage illustrating the cover.

Mia Posada’s cut and torn paper collage gives depth and texture to this amazing story.  When the godwit fly through clouds, the images are soft.  When they are hunted by fox, the sharp colors reflect the danger.

Backmatter gives a few more facts about the godwit and also shares the author’s inspiration for writing this story.  It is one you will want to share with the budding scientist or nature lover in your life.


January 15, 2015

Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World by Steve Jenkins

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 1:58 am by suebe2

Eye to Eye:
How Animals See the World
by Steve Jenkins
Houghton Mifflin

If you have a young reader who is animal crazy, pick this book up!   Not only will your critter enthusiast meet a wide variety of animals, ranging from ghost crabs and gharial to tuatara to tarsier, she will also learn something about the science of vision.

Jenkins doesn’t cover the differences between how predators and prey see the world, he starts out with eyespots and the fact that they tell only the difference between darkness and light.  He explains how pinhole eyes work and the fact that seawater flows freely in and out of the creature’s eye but also the difference between a primitive lens eye and a camera eye.

Different types of eyes evolved because different animals need to see different things and Jenkins goes into this in detail.

He accomplishes the vast majority of this by profiling individual animals.  In the profile of the blue mountain swallowtail butterfly, readers learn about the insect’s ability to see ultraviolet colors invisible to humans as well as the benefits of a compound eye.  The green pit viper reveals the benefits of the pits that allow it to “see” body heat and much, much more.

As always, Jenkins has illustrated his book with collages that combine both cut and torn paper using individual pieces to create everything from the tentacles of the nautilus to the whiskers on a fluffy housecat.

The backmatter for the book gives detailed information on the different types of eyes as well as the 24 animals depicted in the book.  There is also an age-appropriate bibiography for young readers who want more information on the topic.

Although a preschool reader might not be interested in the details about how different eyes work, they would be hooked by the illustrations and the wide range of animals.  Older readers would take this in as well as the science of the eye.

Share this book with your class or your animal-engaged reader and don’t be surprised if you have to read the book multiple times.



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