Elem. – 13 Ways to Eat a Fly

Heavenrich, Sue. 13 Ways to Eat a Fly. Charlesbridge. 2021. 978-1-58089-890-4. $16.99. Grades K-4.

Science and math combine to make an icky, yummy, tasty counting book filled with insects and ways they can be consumed! As a swarm of flies go by, one-by-one they are consumed in a variety of ways by a variety of animals. Don’t be sad, however, as the flies are consumed, for more will be born and the process will continue! You will laugh and be shocked at the icky ways these bugs are consumed, in ways humans may not want to know about!

THOUGHTS: This is a very fun book all about how insects are consumed! This book is filled with great details, scientific facts, and fun pictures.

595.77 Other Invertebrates            Rachel Burkhouse, Otto-Eldred SD

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. – Dr. Fauci: How a Boy From Brooklyn Became America’s Doctor

Messner, Kate. Dr. Fauci: How a Boy From Brooklyn Became America’s Doctor. Illustrated by Alexandra Bye. Simon & Schuster, 2021. 978-1-665-90243-4. 48 p. $17.99. Grades K-3. 

Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the name Dr. Fauci is a name that we have heard so many times over the last two years. Dr. Fauci is best known as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a face and voice we have heard in our homes and in the news as we navigated the current health crisis. However, Dr. Fauci has worked with seven U.S presidents to tackle the largest public health challenges within the last 50 years! Kate Messner, author of Dr. Fauci: How a Boy From Brooklyn Became America’s Doctor, examines the doctor’s life as a young boy, his time in medical school, and the challenges he faced in his personal and medical career. Dr. Fauci learned early in his life to ask questions, consider all aspects and research, and strive for perseverance and communication to tackle the most difficult challenges. This picture book also contains a timeline, accurate information about vaccines, and recommended further readings to better understand how vaccines work. Through the author, Dr. Fauci offers his own tips for future scientists! There is a little bit of everything in this well-written (and beautifully illustrated by Alexandra Bye) picture book about the life and career of Dr. Anthony Fauci and the impact he has made on our country. 

THOUGHTS: It is obvious that author Kate Messner did her research! Messner completed an extensive interview with Dr. Fauci to write this book, and the product is a thoughtful narrative with important information. Not only is this picture book presented as a biography, but it also serves as a science read as well! Timely, important, informational. Bravo! 

Picture Book          Marie Mengel, Reading SD

Elem. – Mars Is: Stark Slopes, Silvery Snow, and Startling Surprises

Slade, Suzanne. Mars Is: Stark Slopes, Silvery Snow, and Startling Surprises. Peachtree Atlanta. 978-1-682-63188-1. 51 p. $19.99. Grades K-3. 

Sand dunes, craters, volcanoes, canyons, lava flows, cliffs, and ice are only some of the amazing landforms covering the surface of Mars. In this oversize book, each double page spread consists of a full-page landform photo that is complemented by large-scale descriptive text and a smaller, more detailed caption. One spread features “sandy, windswept dunes” and describes how Mars’s winds blow the sand into mesmerizing ripple and wave patterns. Another highlights the “stark slopes” of an impact crater formed by an asteroid or meteorite collision. The full-color images in the book were taken with NASA’s HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera. The camera was launched into space in 2005 and has been sending images back to Earth ever since. Detailed backmatter include sections titled “Launching the Mission to Mars,” “HiRISE: The Spectacular Space Camera,” “More About Mars,” and “Highlights of the Exploration of Mars.” 

THOUGHTS: This title is reminiscent of April Pulley Sayre’s books which present brief and poetic nonfiction tidbits complemented by beautiful full-page photographs. Although there is not enough information in this title to support research reports, students will be drawn in by the breathtaking photos of the Red Planet. It also will be useful as an introduction to science units about the solar system and outer space. 

523.43 Planets          Anne Bozievich, Southern York County SD

Elem. – Summertime Sleepers: Animals that Estivate

Stewart, Melissa. Summertime Sleepers: Animals that Estivate. Charlesbridge, 2021. 978-1-580-89716-7. Unpaged. $16.99. Grades K-3. 

Scientists are still learning about estivation, the opposite of hibernation. Animals that estivate sleep away the summer in cool, sometimes wet, environments while their bodies take a break from warm temperatures. Melissa Stewart provides simple text about estivation that wraps through pages while each two-page spread shows a different estivating animal from around the world. Illustrator Sarah S. Brannan’s watercolor pictures show the estivating animal in their home environment topped with a notebook sketch of the animal; the notebook page also contains the animal’s name, home location, scientific name, and size. Each spread includes a paragraph of information from Stewart. Featured animals include yellow-bellied marmats, Christmas Island red crabs, convergent ladybugs, and more. Excellent, supportive back matter includes more information about featured animals, a section on estivation vs. hibernation, recommended resources, author’s and illustrator’s notes, and selected sources. Front and back endpapers are also beautiful and add excellent visual appeal.

THOUGHTS: Interesting and appealing, suggest this book to animal lovers, kids interested in science, and any reader who enjoys learning about new topics. 

571.7 Animal Biology           Lindsey Long, Lower Dauphin SD

Elem. – Picture Book Science

Perdew, Laura. Picture Book Science. Nomad Press, 2021. $8.96 ea. $116.48 set of 13. 29 p. K-3.

The Earth: One-of-a-Kind Planet. 978-1-619-30984-5.
The Moon: Small-but-Mighty Neighbor. 978-1-619-30988-3.
The Stars: A Gazillion Suns. 978-1-619-30988-3.
The Sun: Shining Star of the Solar System. 978-1-619-30992-0.

Endearing alien narrators tell the story of the sun, moon, Earth, and stars. The narrators discuss how they were all formed and how they are all related. Hands-on activities and glossaries are included in the end matter of each book, giving readers even more opportunities for learning. These informative, easy-to-follow narratives of our solar system are a solid addition to any elementary science collection.

THOUGHTS: I personally received and reviewed The Moon: Small-but-Mighty Neighbor, but there are actually four new releases in the Picture Book Science series (listed above). Additionally, there are 9 other previously published books in the series on topics such as energy, animal adaptations, and more. I especially like how these books bring scientific topics down to a level easily understood by elementary schoolers, and I appreciate the extension activities included in the books.

523 Solar System          Julie Ritter, PSLA Member

Elem. – Fascinating Facts (Series NF)

Fascinating Facts. The Child’s World, 2021. $19.95 ea. $239.40 set of 12. 24 p. Grades 2-5. 

Kruesi, Liz. Inventions. 978-1503844698.
—. Space. 978-1503844636.
Lassieur, Allison. Natural Disasters. 978-1503844681.
—. Scary Stuff. 978-1503844704.
Pearson, Marie. Dogs. 978-1503844629.
Peterson, Sheryl. U.S. Presidents. 978-1503844599.
Smibert, Angie. Engineering. 978-1503844612.
—. Math. 978-1503844643.
York, M.J. Dinosaurs. 978-11503844667.
. Earth. 978-1503844650.
—. History. 978-1503844605.
—. Human Body. 978-1503844674.

Did you know that Theodore Roosevelt had a photographic memory? Or that Chester Arthur was a clotheshorse who owned 80 pairs of shoes? These are just some of the presidential tidbits shared in the U.S. Presidents volume of the Fascinating Facts series. Each volume explores unusual and unique facts and stories on a given subject. Facts are grouped together by chapter (for example, the U.S. Presidents book chapters included “Life in the White House,” “First Families,” and “Strange but True Tales.”) The text is accompanied by numerous sidebars as well as photos on each page. A glossary as well as links to web resources are also included.

THOUGHTS: Perfect for aficionados of fact-style books, this series is a worthwhile additional purchase for elementary collections.

363.34-973.09 Science, Math, Animals, History          Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg SD  

The world is a mysterious place, filled with lots of unique and bizarre stories! This series focuses on some of the most odd stories of the world, including stories about the human body, space, natural disasters, and scary stuff. The Reviewer read Natural Disasters and Scary Stuff. Natural Disasters showcases some of the most iconic types of natural disasters, including earthquakes and tsunamis, volcanoes, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Each section of this book describes what the natural disaster is, in addition to presenting unique stories about each. Scary Stuff displays some of the most iconic scary items found throughout the world, such as vampires and werewolves! Scary Stuff shares some legends of these scary items, in addition to ways to prevent and/or save yourself from the monsters that go bump in the night.

THOUGHTS: This series is very well done. It includes a lot of information that is presented with colorful visuals and pictures, both photographs and illustrations.

363.34-973.09                    Rachel Burkhouse, Otto-Eldred SD

Elem. – Sounds All Around: The Science of How Sound Works

Hughes, Susan. Sounds All Around: The Science of How Sound Works. Kids Can Press, 2021. 978-1-525-30250-3. Unpaged. $17.99. Grades K-3. 

Students occasionally can be loud and noisy, but do they understand how sound works? Sounds All Around aims to explain the concept of sound to young readers. The book opens with a young boy relaxing in a field on a summer day when a bee buzzes by. Readers then follow the boy throughout various settings, including nature, the city, and inside his home as he (and his dog) experience various sounds. Readers will learn about how sound is created through vibrations in the air which travel through the ear and are translated into signals to the brain. The science of pitch is introduced by discussing the hearing range of various animals and a chart outlining their hearing ranges (measured in Hertz) is included. Sound measurement (decibels) is also described and several examples provided. The book ends with the boy and his dog walking to the beach as a bee once again buzzes by. The text is enhanced by Ellen Rooney’s charming paint, pencil crayon, and digital illustrations. Backmatter includes a glossary as well as a craft in which children can make a bee buzzer (to mimic the sound of buzzing bees) with a few simple materials.

THOUGHTS: Sounds All Around successfully breaks down the science of sound in a relatable way for young readers. The text allows for reader experimentation/demonstration at prescribed points–for example, readers are asked to clap their hands to hear sound, and to hum while touching the side of their throats to feel vibrations. Highly recommended for those libraries looking to add titles to explain science/STEM concepts to young readers.

534 Science          Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg SD

YA – The Infinity Courts

Bowman, Akemi Dawn. The Infinity Courts. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021. 978-1-534-45649-5. 465 p. $19.99. Grades 9-12.

The Infinity Courts starts with Nami who is sure that her life is finally beginning at the age of eighteen; however, those dreams are halted when she is murdered. When she comes to, she realizes she is in a place called Infinity. Infinity is ruled by a queen called Ophelia who was a virtual assistant to the human race when Nami was alive. Now, Ophelia is determined to eradicate humans, and she is very close to completing that mission. Nami has a choice to join the resistance and help eliminate Ophelia, or just ignore everything and let Ophelia take over and complete her mission.

THOUGHTS: This is a great science fiction book that doesn’t get bogged down in science facts. The pacing is well done, and the main characters have decent character arcs throughout the story. This is the first book in a trilogy, so readers have something to look forward to.

Science Fiction          Mary McEndree, Lehigh Valley Regional Charter Academy

Elem. – Wingmaker

Cameron, Dave. Wingmaker. Illustrated by David Huyck. Kids Can Press, 2021. Unpaged. 978-1-525-30237-4 $17.99 Grades K-2.  

Leaf and Leo are two ants who have daily work in their anthill home, but they find time to visit caterpillar “Gramma Tinker,” so named for her clever inventions made to help her friends. On this visit, they find her building a pillow-like contraption she calls the Wingmaker 77 (77 for the number of days she’s been alive). “Why do you need it?” they ask. “All I know for sure is that I’m preparing for a new adventure.” Gramma Tinker knows that when it’s finished, she will rest inside it for two weeks, and wake up changed. Leaf and Leo return the next day to find Gramma asking questions of various flying creatures, noting such important ideas as weight, wingspan, wing speed, direction, taking off, landing, and gliding. Then she says goodbye to Leaf and Leo and tells them to return in two weeks. The two friends wait, working in the anthill and wondering what will happen next. In two weeks, they return and find that Gramma Tinker the caterpillar has changed into a moth! A final page in the book explains the metamorphosis of eastern tent caterpillars into (nocturnal) lappet moths, and urges readers to keep a light on at night to attract and observe these moths.

THOUGHTS: This is a creative way to interest readers in this enormous creature change. Some readers may guess what is coming. This would make a good addition to instruction about metamorphosis.

Picture Book          Melissa Scott, Shenango Area SD