March 15, 2017

Water is Water by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Jason Chin

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 4:01 pm by suebe2

Water is Water
by Miranda Paul
illustrated by Jason Chin
Neal Porter Book/Roaring Brook Press

“Drip.
Sip.
Pour me a cup.
Water is water
unless…”

So begins Water is Water, a most excellent picture book about the water cycle.  It seems like such a complicated subject would require a complicated text but Paul’s text is poetic and brief, perfect for reading aloud.  Drinking water, steam, clouds, fog, rain, snow and ice, flowing streams and more all have a place in this amazing complex book.

Jason Chin’s watercolor and gouache paintings expand on the story as we follow a pair of siblings through the school year and back into summer break.  His art provides a glorious setting for this story, subtly emphasizing the importance and wonders of water without turning it into a sermon.  His art will also be of interest to suburban and urban students who may not have seen a house above a lake, surrounded by gardens and orchards and the natural world.  His work is soft and watery and oh so perfect for this tale.

Chin’s artwork also adds a subtle note of diversity with a biracial siblings as the main characters.  Again, this is done so subtly that it doesn’t come across as “a valuable lesson” but it will help a wider range of readers see themselves in children’s literature.

Because although the text is brief, it covers all four seasons as well as the many forms that water can take in the natural world.  Back matter offers more complete information for an older learner or the adult teacher.  My favorite thing in the back matter?  What percentage of a turtle is water vs a cat.  Yeah, I’m a number geek that way.

Share this with your students who are studying water, the water cycle and the natural world.

–SueBE

May 1, 2014

Island: A Story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 1:53 am by suebe2

Island: A Story of the Galapagos
by Jason Chin
A Neal Porter Book:
Roaring Brook Press

I’m going with a watery theme of change this week with The Water Castle on Monday and Island today.  Maybe its the spring weather and all the rain we’ve been having.

“A volcano has been growing under the ocean for millions of years.  With this eruption it rises above the water for the first time, and a new island is born.”

So opens Island, Chin’s account of one Galapagos island.  He takes readers from the formation of the island, how various plants and animals came to live there and how the plants and animals, and the island itself, changed over time.

Although I have read about the Galapagos, I had never considered what these islands must have looked like as each formed.  While today their profiles are low, they were born of volcanic eruptions.  They may never have been incredibly tall, they were doubtless taller than they are today.  They are also dryer than they would have originally been and Chin shows how this change fed into the evolution that Darwin observed.

Darwin isn’t named when he first appears in the book’s fifth and final chapter, but I loved that about the book.  Although the Galapagos have played a huge part in mankind’s understanding of life on this planet, we have played a much smaller part in shaping the islands themselves.

Unlike some of Chin’s earlier books, namely Redwoods and Coral Reefs, Island has no fanciful element, no child included simply to explore the environment along with the reader.

This is an excellent books for young scientists as well as teachers who are willing to address change on our planet.  It really should be on every young science bookshelf.

–SueBE

December 30, 2013

Island: A Story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 1:01 am by suebe2

Island:
A Story of the Galapagos
by Jason Chin
A Neal Porter Book: Roaring Brook Press

“A volcano has been growing under the ocean for millions of years.  With this eruption it rises above the water for the first time, and a new island is born.”

So opens Island, Chin’s account of one Galapagos island.  He takes readers from the formation of the island, how various plants and animals came to live there and how the plants and animals, and the island itself, changed over time.

Although I have read about the Galapagos, I had never considered what these islands must have looked like as each formed.  While today their profiles are low, they were born of volcanic eruptions.  They may never have been incredibly tall, they were doubtless taller than they are today.  They are also dryer than they would have originally been and Chin shows how this change fed into the evolution that Darwin observed.

Darwin isn’t named when he first appears in the book’s fifth and final chapter, but I loved that about the book.  Although the Galapagos have played a huge part in mankind’s understanding of life on this planet, we have played a much smaller part in shaping the islands themselves.

Unlike some of Chin’s earlier books, namely Redwoods and Coral Reefs, Island has no fanciful element, no child included simply to explore the environment along with the reader.

This is an excellent books for young scientists as well as teachers who are willing to address change on our planet.  It really should be on every young science bookshelf.

–SueBE

January 3, 2012

Coral Reefs by Jason Chin

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 2:02 am by suebe2

Coral Reefs 
by Jason Chin
Roaring  Brook Press
AR 6.4

In my opinion, one of the best picture book nonfiction authors around is Jason Chin.  Jason combines easy to understand descriptions of various ecosystems with amazingly detailed water color paintings to produce his books.  My favorite so far is Coral Reefs.

Our narrator pulls a book on coral reefs off the library shelf.  As she wonders through the library and reads, coral crops up first on table tops and book cases but soon it is creeping up the walls.  Before long, the water has gushed in and filled the library and the young reader is now swimming amid the animals that populate the reef.

It sounds fanastical, and the frame for Chin’s story is in that it isn’t strictly nonfiction.  But his painting are so realistic that I am confident that if I can’t tell a grouper from a grunt that the fault is my own.

Chin discusses both predators and prey so the book is realistic but it isn’t so intense that it would frighten most young readers.

The perfect book for an introduction to marine ecosystems or to share with the fish loving young reader in your own life.  Don’t be surprised if you find yourself gazing at the paintings and forgetting to read the text.

It happens, after all, to the best of us.

Just pick up this book and enjoy!

–SueBE

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