Elem. – Science Questions (Series NF)

Andrews, Elizabeth. Science Questions (Set 2). Abdo Kids, 2022. $21.95 ea. $131.70 set of 6. 24 p. Gr. K-3. 

How Do Fish Breathe? 978-1-098-24107-0.
How Do Puppies Get Their Colors? 978-1-098-24108-7.
How Does a Body Heal? 978-1-098-24109-4.
How Does Plumbing Work? 978-1-098-24110-0.
Why Do Volcanoes Erupt? 978-1-098-24111-7.
Why Does a Boat Float? 978-1-098-24112-4.

The Science Questions series from Abdo Publishing is back with another six volumes answering common student questions regarding science. Each volume examines a science-related question, explaining the answer using age-appropriate language and terminology. This reviewer had the opportunity to examine How Do Fish Breathe?, a question that many children undoubtedly have wondered when watching fish in a tank or in the wild. The volume explains how oxygen is present in water and how fish use their gills to help distribute oxygen throughout their bodies. The volume closes with a brief chapter mentioning how climate change is causing falling oxygen levels in the ocean. Each volume features numerous high quality photographs, diagrams, a glossary, and making connections questions. In addition, a QR code is present where readers can access online resources such as videos, links, and activities (word search, coloring page, etc.). 

THOUGHTS: Children naturally are curious and questioning–this series is a great option to hand students with science related interests or questions. The series (and the online supplemental material) also would be useful in elementary classroom science lessons. Recommended. 

500s Science                Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg SD

Elem. – Only One

Hopkinson, Deborah. Only One. Anne Schwartz Books, 2022. 978-0-399-55703-3. Unpaged. $17.99. Grades K-3.

A young narrator takes readers on a walk through the woods as she explains how, with a big bang, one tiny speck turned into a universe full of stars, planets, galaxies, and more. Situated in this universe is our Earth, which is surrounded by a layer called the atmosphere and contains continents, oceans, and millions of species. Ultimately, the narrator finishes the same way she began–with one. She declares that even though there are more than seven billion human beings, all of us unique, we all are still part of one human family responsible for preserving our one and only planet, Earth. 

THOUGHTS: Through an informational monologue and soft, beautiful illustrations, the narrator manages to educate while simultaneously relaying an important message about protecting our planet. Also, at the end of the story, the author provides a list of resources for additional information about climate change and how we can help the Earth. This is an excellent resource for earth science, space science, and environmental science collections.

Picture Book          Julie Ritter, PSLA Member

Elem. – The Stars: A Gazillion Suns

Perdew, Laura. The Stars: A Gazillion Suns (Picture Book Science). Nomad Press, 2021. 29 p. 978-1-619-30992-0. $9.95. Grades K-3.

This nonfiction picture book introduces the reader to the basic principles about the galaxy and the stars. The book goes over information about the sun in our solar system, how stars are created, why they twinkle, as well as how they end. Throughout the book, there are two extraterrestrial commentators who have silly commentary to the reader, and at the end of the book there is an activity for the reader to complete related to the constellations. There is also a glossary in the back of the book; however, there is no table of contents.

THOUGHTS: This is a great introduction to space and the constellations for a young reader. The addition of the two extraterrestrial commentators is a great choice by the author, and the illustrations add to the charm of the whole book. Highly recommended for an elementary collection. 

523.8 Constellations          Mary McEndree, Lehigh Valley Regional Charter Academy

Elem. – Hello Earth! Poems to Our Planet

Sidman, Joyce. Hello Earth! Poems to Our Planet. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2021. 978-0-8028-5528-2. 62 p. $18.99. Grades 3-6.

This collection of free verse poetry about Earth was first published in Spain in 2016. An example of creative nonfiction, this volume contains verses in which a narrator, representing “some of your children-the human ones,” talks to the planet about its wonders. Sidman begins with a poem (“Floating”) about Earth’s place in the solar system and in the next two, brings us back to its surface. Following this, the narrator chats with Earth about its age, formation, and history, asking “What was your favorite part?” Other poems focus on volcanoes, earthquakes, continents, day and night, ecosystems, water and plants, giving us a good look at our world. The oversized volume ends by reminding us to enjoy the amazing marvels of our planet and to take care of it.  The back matter provides more information, organized by topic and its related poem(s). Sidman’s works are best known for stunning illustrations and creative layouts. By contrast, the watercolor and acrylic drawings by Miren Asiain Lora may not seem as engaging. People are drawn on a small scale and the font is subdued and orderly. Perhaps this is done to focus our full attention on Mother Earth. A class of Earth Science students and their National Geographic certified teacher helped Sidman with understanding “how Earth works.”

THOUGHTS: This book of verse is perfect for Earth Day storytimes and works as an introduction to Earth Science Units. This imaginative work is a great addition to elementary collections, especially where poetry is popular.

811 Poetry          Denise Medwick, Retired, PSLA Member

Elem. – Engineered by Nature (Series NF)

London, Martha. Engineered by Nature (series of 8). Abdo Publishing, 2021. 32 pp. $21.29 each. Set of 8 $170.32 set of 8. Grades 2-5.

Cave of Crystals. 978-1-5321-92845.
Arches National Park. 978-1-5321-92838.
Giant’s Causeway. 978-1-5321-92852.
Grand Canyon. 978-1-5321-92869.
Great Barrier Reef. 978-1-5321-92876.
The Great Blue Hole. 978-1-5321-92883.
Mount Everest. 978-1-5321-92890.
Uluru. 978-1-5321-92906

These STEM oriented books focus on natural wonders and how they were formed. In Cave of Crystals, the author discusses this little known place in Mexico. Discovered by a mining company under the Sierra de Naica Mountains in the year 2000, the cave is just about as deep as the Eiffel Tower is tall. Once the water was pumped out, miners were surprised to see giant selenite crystals, some 36 feet tall. The largest of the interconnecting caverns is called Cave of Crystals. The author describes how these crystals were formed, what the conditions were like inside the cave, and which microorganisms lived inside the crystals. This natural wonder was only seen by scientists and is no longer accessible because the water is no longer being pumped out. The text contains a glossary, index, table of contents, map, and suggested resources. QR codes take readers to websites that contain teacher resources, as well as a site for children. There is also a quote from a scientist, which is labeled a primary source. The photographs are striking, especially the one that shows the size of the crystals compared with a human.

THOUGHTS: This series will appeal to those budding earth scientists. Although it is short with simple text, there is enough information for reports. Good resources for elementary STEM units.

Geography, Earth Science          Denise Medwick, Retired, PSLA Member
(917.24, 979.2, 914.1, 979.1, 551.4, 994.3, 954.96, 994.29)

Elem. – Looking at Layers (Series NF)

Looking at Layers. The Child’s World, 2020. $20.00 ea. 24 p. Grades 3-6. 

London, Martha. Looking Inside Earth. 978-1-503-83518-4.
Huddleston, Emma. Looking Inside the Human Body. 978-1-503-83519-1.
—. Looking Into Caves. 978-1-503-83522-1.
—. Looking Into Soil. 978-1-503-83520-7.
London, Martha. Looking Into the Atmosphere. 978-1-503-83516-0.
—. Looking Into the Grand Canyon. 978-1-503-83517-7.
—. Looking Into the Ocean. 978-1-503-83515-3.
Huddleton, Emma. Looking Into the Rain Forest. 978-1-503-83521-4.

An attractive nonfiction series exploring various layers of natural things, from the human body to soil to the rainforest. Straightforward text clearly explains concepts with a natural projection from outward layers in. Words from the glossary are highlighted in red which is a nice feature for readers. Sidebars focus on timely topics, such as “Creating Mountains” when text discusses tectonic plates in Looking Inside Earth. Visuals are both illustrations and photographs. Looking Inside the Human Body has fascinating illustrations of many body systems that will keep little readers absorbed. Back matter includes a helpful Fast Facts section that covers main points from the text, a glossary, “To Learn More” section, and index.

THOUGHTS: Nice collection additions if nonfiction is hot.

500s-600s          Lindsey Long, Lower Dauphin SD

Elem. – Weather and Climate (Series NF)

Raij, Emily. Weather and Climate. Capstone Press, 2020. $21.99 ea. $88.16 set of 4. 32 p. Grades 3-5. 

The Power of Weather. 978-1-543-59155-2.
Weather Watch. 978-1-543-59156-9.
Wide World of Weather. 978-1-543-59158-3.
Climate Change and You. 978-1-543-59157-6.

This series focuses on climate change and how it affects your everyday life. Each book has a table of contents, glossary, and index, as well as a list of internet sites if you want to do more research. Climate Change and You has extra facts throughout the book, as well as full color photos to go along with certain topics that are covered.

THOUGHTS: This book is a great addition to any upper elementary school collection. It’s a great addition to research about climate change, and the topic is broken down in a way that makes it easy to understand and follow.

363.738 Climate Change          Mary Hyson, Lehigh Valley Charter Academy