MG – Inquire and Investigate (Series NF)

Inquire and Investigate. Nomad Press, 2021. $17.95 ea. $71.80 set of 4. 128 p. Grades 6-9.

Danneberg, Julie. The Science of Fashion. 978-1-64741-027-8.
Danneberg, Julie. The Science of Weather and Climate. 978-1-61930-850-3.
Taylor, Daian C. The Science of Natural Disasters. 978-1-61930-858-9.
Wood, Matthew Brendon. The Science of Science Fiction. 978-1-61930-470-3.

Science, especially STEM, is a hot topic in all educational institutions. This set of four books reveals the science behind topics such as fashion, science fiction, and natural disasters. This reviewer had the opportunity to read The Science of Fashion. Each chapter, six in total, is chock full of information, comics, experiments, photos, facts, and timelines. The author makes sure to include the science behind textiles, design, accessories, and even color. Another interesting feature in each chapter is the QR codes leading to primary sources on the topic discussed on the page. Throughout the book, the author prompts thinking and encourages the reader to work through the engineering design process. Perhaps the most interesting chapter explains how fast fashion causes damage to the environment but with science and engineering, sustainable, environment-friendly fashion is possible. Back matter includes a glossary, metric conversions, resources, and an index.

THOUGHTS: The titles in this collection would be a good purchase for a library serving upper middle grade students. These books also would serve as an instructional tool in a science, engineering, or even a consumer science classroom.

746.9 Engineering and Technology           Danielle Corrao, Manheim Central SD

Elem. – Uncharted: Stories of Survival (Series NF)

McGregor, Harriet. Uncharted: Stories of Survival. Bearport, 2021. $19.95 ea. $119.70 set of 6. 24 p. Grades 2-5. 

Blown Away by a Blizzard! 978-1-64747-030-2.
Destroyed by a Hurricane! 978-1-64747-031-9.
Flattened by an Earthquake! 978-1-64747-032-6.
H
eat Wave Horror! 978-1-64747-033-3.
Lightning Strike Survivor! 978-1-64747-034-0.
Tornado Terror! 978-1-64747-031-9.

These action packed graphic novel stories recount various true stories of individuals who had to survive natural disasters. This reviewer had the opportunity to review Blown Away by a Blizzard!, which recounted the story of Randy Kraxberger, a skier who was trapped in the wilderness of Olympic National Park during a blizzard. Kraxberger had to build a snow cave to survive overnight during the blizzard and stay alert with exercise sessions to ward off hypothermia. Thankfully, in the morning he was rescued by park rangers. At the conclusion of the story, a two-page informational spread (not in graphic novel format) defined a blizzard and explained the science behind how blizzards form. Safety tips were also presented.

THOUGHTS: This action-packed, non-fiction graphic novel series is sure to be a hit. Readers will be kept on the edge of their seats as they wait to see how the individual will survive their situation. A worthwhile purchase for elementary libraries looking to expand their non-fiction graphic novel collections.

Graphic Novel          Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg SD
363 Survival Stories

Elementary NF – Shark Lady; Best Athlete series; DIY Day Spa series; Survival Zone series

Keating, Jess. Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist.  Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2017.  9781492642046. Unpaged. $17.99. Gr. K-3.

This is the fascinating story of the scientist Eugenie Clark, who is better known as the “Shark Lady.” Keating begins with a look at Eugenie as a child, who even then showed an interest in this marine animal. We see her visiting an aquarium, diving into the ocean at Atlantic City, gazing at her own small aquarium, and sitting in a library reading books about different species of sharks.  While in college, the reader learns that some professors discouraged Eugenie from pursuing a career in marine biology, but she achieved her dream in spite of this. Clark’s career began in a laboratory, but she was eager to “make her own discoveries” and began diving in the ocean to continue her research. The reader sees the illustrations of three fish species that Eugenie discovered.  Clark wanted to prove that sharks were intelligent creatures and became the first scientist to train one to receive food by pushing a bell.  The illustrations by Marta Álvarez Miguéns are engaging and give the reader an insight into what the scientist is thinking. On a two page spread where Eugenie is pretending that she is walking underwater at the aquarium, the illustrator draws fish swimming within its rooms and darting out from behind columns.  Fish also appear in the library scene when she is reading books. One small problem is the description of the underwater scene at Atlantic City because it is doubtful that the water was as clear as pictured and described.  Still, readers will enjoy poring over the drawings, especially the one of the giant jaws. The back matter includes a timeline of Clark’s life and interesting facts about sharks are found on a page called “Shark Bites.” The author’s note gives some further details about Clark’s life and the Mote Marine Research Laboratory where she worked.  Thoughts: This picture book biography should be added to every elementary collection and not just because shark books are always in high demand by young students. Keating’s book contains an important message in that it shows children that they should not be discouraged from following their dreams.  However, the author also makes it clear that following a dream takes hard work and study.  This book is an inspiration to future marine biologists and is a great choice for any child who is curious about sharks.

Picture Book Biography             Denise Medwick, West Allegheny SD

 

Make Me the Best Athlete. Abdo, 2017. $22.95ea. $183.60 set of 8. 48p. Gr. 4-6.

Ackerman, Jon. Make Me the Best Volleyball Player. 978-1-680-78492-3.

Graves, Will. Make Me the Best Basketball Player. 978-1-6807-8487-9.

Kortemeier, Todd. Make Me the Best Baseball Player. 978-1-6807-8486-2.

Kortemeier, Todd. Make Me the Best Hockey Player. 978-1-6807-8489-3.

Kortemeier, Todd. Make Me the Best Soccer Player. 978-1-6807-8491-6.

Myers, Jess. Make Me the Best Lacrosse Player. 978-1-6807-8490-9.

Myers, Dan. Make Me the Best Football Player. 978-1-6807-8488-6.

Stone, Ken. Make Me the Best at Track and Field. 978-1-6807-8485-5.

The Make Me the Best Athlete series introduces readers to various drills/tips they can use to improve their skills in specific sports. Each title features chapters that focus on a single skill and a representative player that exemplifies that skill. For example, the Make Me the Best Football Player volume features chapters titled “Pass Like Aaron Rodgers” and “Catch Like Julio Jones.” Each chapter provides a brief biographical sketch of the featured athlete as well as discussion about the importance of developing skills in order to play the player’s position. Specific tips and drills are presented that readers can use to help them improve their personal play. THOUGHTS: These volumes are clearly organized, make good use of photos, and feature popular and contemporary athletes (older athletes are also spotlighted in boxes throughout the text). The drills are clearly explained and require only basic equipment any player of the sport under discussion would own. Recommend to athletes looking to improve their play.

796 Sports      Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg SD

 

Andrus, Aubre. DIY Day Spa. Capstone, 2017. $23.49ea. $93.96 set of 4. 48p. Gr. 4-8.

Bathe, Buff, and Beautify: DIY Crafts and Recipes for Natural Body Care. 978-1-5157-3446-8.

Gloss, Floss, and Wash: DIY Crafts and Recipes for a Fresh Face and Teeth.
978-1-5157-3447-5.

Lotions, Potions, and Polish: DIY Crafts and Recipes for Hands, Nails, and Feet.
978-1-5157-3445-1.

Spray, Smooth, and Shampoo: DIY Crafts and Recipes for Healthy Hair.
978-1-5157-3444-4.

Designed with the tween beauty market in mind, the DIY Day Spa set offers readers a variety of recipes for homemade spa products and instructions for related crafts. All recipes use natural ingredients such as essential oils, honey, spices, oats, lemon, etc. Most recipes contain 3-7 ingredients, most of which can be found in grocery or health food stores and online. Recipes are clearly explained and safety tips are included to make sure products are stored and used properly.  Examples of recipes in the Bathe, Buff, and Beautify volume include Mocha Salt Scrub, Cinnamon Vanilla Whipped Body Butter and Sweet Dreams Cream. Each volume also contains related craft projects to accompany the spa products. Examples of craft projects include a shower pouf, a spa towel wrap, and homemade gift wrap. THOUGHTS: Students who are fans of beauty products will be fans of this series. Recipies are relatively simple and contain commonly acquirable ingredients. Perfect for creating gifts for family or friends, or a great activity for sleepovers or scouting groups.
615; 646 Beauty      Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg SD

 

Perish, Patrick. Survival Zone. Bellwether, 2017. $19.95ea. $239.40 set of 12. 24p. Gr. 3-7.
Survive a Blizzard. 978-1626174412
Survive a Fire. 978-1626175815.
Survive a Flood. 978-1626174429.
Survive a Hurricane. 978-1626174436
Survive a Plane Crash. 978-1626175822.
Survive a Tornado. 978-1626174443.
Survive a Tsunami. 978-1626174450.
Survive an Avalanche. 978-1626175839.
Survive an Earthquake. 978-1626175846.
Survive in the Mountains. 978-1626174467.
Survive in the Woods. 978-1626174474.
Survive on a Desert Island. 978-1626174481.

Each volume of this exciting series opens with a real-life situation in which a person (often a tween or teen) faces a specific potentially life-threatening disaster and survives. Readers will learn about how each disaster develops. The importance of preparation in advance of natural disasters are stressed and specific survival strategies and tips are also described. The text is enhanced by numerous photos, diagrams, and text boxes. THOUGHTS: This series is an engaging page-turner that will interest many readers. Concepts are clearly explained and the survival tips/strategies presented are practical and could be employed by students of all ages. Would be a great non-fiction option for fans of Lauren Tarshis’ I Survived series.

600s Technology      Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg SD

 

 

 

Series NF for Elementary & MS – Investigating Natural Disasters

Elkins, Elizabeth.  Investigating Natural Disasters. Capstone, 2017. $20.99ea. $83.96 set of 4. 32p. Gr. 3-7.

Investigating Earthquakes. 978-1-51574-038-4.

Investigating Floods. 978-1-51574-040-7.

Investigating Hurricanes. 978-1-51574-039-1.

Investigating Tornadoes. 978-1-51574-037-7.

The Investigating Natural Disasters series aims to inform readers about four of the most common natural disasters: earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes. The forces that form each type of disaster and explained and scientific terminology is defined within callout boxes present throughout the chapters. The role and scientists, meteorologists and other forecasters in predicting events is also highlighted. Well-known examples of each type of disaster are included within the text. Disaster safety tips, for before, during, and after each each event are presented and discussed. THOUGHTS: This engaging series offers interested readers a good introduction to the science behind the natural disasters most likely to strike in the United States. A solid choice for student researchers and casual readers alike.

Geology; Meteorology      Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg School District

Elementary NF – Out of this World; Shape Shift; Swallow the Leader; Green City

Deyoe, Aaron. Out of this World: Space Travel. Minneapolis: ABDO, 2016. 978-1-62403-745-0. 24 pp. $16.95. Gr. K-4.

This book is a simple look at the various forms of space travel throughout history.   It has full color illustrations, easy to understand diagrams and graphics, and short concise sentences throughout.  It covers forms of travel such as rockets, space shuttles, Saturn V rockets, satellites, and many more.  A diagram of the International Space Station describes its various components and shows how it was assembled in stages in space.  This text also includes the latest rovers and mechanized explorers that are sending back data and are much safer than sending humans to these remote locations.  THOUGHTS: This book is a great addition to a collection of books about space and planets.  Students will be encouraged to pick a type of space travel or vehicle and research more about that topic, since this is a simplistic look at each.  This is a great “jumping off point” for such a research project.

Space Exploration     Donna Fernandez, Calvary Christian Academy

 

Hesselberth, Joyce. Shape Shift. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2016. 978-1-62779-057-4. 32pp. $16.99. Gr. K-3.

In this abstract introduction to the basic shapes of triangle, semicircle, crescent, trapezoid, rectangle, circle, oval, diamond and square, Hesselberth challenges the imagination.  First, the characters put a triangle on top of an upside down semicircle.  They imagine what that could be, and the illustrator creates a ballerina.  Then, another character imagines that the same two shapes are an elephant being carried away by balloons.  These imaginative and interesting shape shifts create many different possibilities for each combination of shapes.  At the end of the book, the author provides several combinations for the students to imagine what they could be together.  This is an interesting mash-up of learning shapes and critical and creative thinking. Each new illustration has an inset with the original two shapes to help the children see how those two shapes became the new picture. An interesting and thought provoking look at the world of shapes!  THOUGHTS:  After reading this book, the teacher could provide students with cut out shapes and have them create scenes or items using two or more shapes.  Students would need to name each shape used and then explain what it was and perhaps even generate a story to go with their shape creation.  An activity could also be created for the smart board that allows students to drag two shapes together to create a new picture or touch and identify the basic shapes presented in the book.

Shapes; Picture Book     Donna Fernandez, Calvary Christian Academy

 

Smith, Danna. Swallow the Leader: A Counting Book. New York: Clarion, 2016. 978-0-544-10518-8. 32pp. $16.99. Gr. Pre-K-1.

The little orange fish begins this rhyming counting book. With each number there is an action “5 fish-Follow the Leader- Play like I play. Pretend you are me. Flap like ray.” At the number ten, the fish says to open their mouth and eat a snack, and swallow the leader.  As they gulp down the fish in front of them, they count DOWN to one again.  Until only Shark is left.  But wait, Shark is about to BURP! The bright fun graphics are visually pleasing and the happy ending is a delight.  THOUGHTS: This book is sure to be a hit with the little ones.  They are able to count, act out the motions of “flapping like a ray” and other silliness, and then count down to one again.  Of course a big BURP is always funny, and the counting begins again!  

Counting Book        Donna Fernandez, Calvary Christian Academy

 

Drummond, Allan. Green City. New York: Frances Foster Books, 2016. 978-0-374-3799-5. 36pp. $17.99. Gr K-3.

On May 4, 2007, a tornado destroyed the entire town of Greensburg, Kansas, in just nine minutes. Everything was flattened: homes, offices, churches, stores, the water tower, and the school were completely gone. The day after the storm, townspeople gathered in a large emergency tent and began asking the big question: What do we want to be now? People started talking about how to build again. They agreed on ideas like designing tornado-proof houses and making sure the homes were energy efficient, but the word “green” popped up again and again as well. The ideas of sustainability and not using more than one needed resonated with the Midwesterners, and they decided to design not just green homes but an entirely green city. Loose watercolor illustrations depict the construction of super-strong, sustainable structures all over town. Sidebars highlight additional information about what sustainability looks like, and a special “Tips for Going Green” section shares ways students can incorporate some of these ideas into their own lives.  THOUGHTS:  This title is a great resource for students studying severe weather or energy efficiency. It would also make a nice read-aloud for Earth Day, and it leads itself to discussions about ways we can “go green” in our own lives.

Nonfiction Picture Book     Anne Bozievich, Friendship Elementary, Southern York County