children, nature

Pop-Up Volcano!


Author: Fleur Daugey
Illustrator: Tom Vaillant
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children / Nature
ISBN: 978-0-500-65222-0
Pages: 20
Price: $29.95

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Volcanoes can be deadly, but they’re fascinating to study. Pop-Up Volcano! is a fun resource explaining how volcanoes form and what happens when they explode.

Pop-up images fill this short book, along with information on various volcanoes. Whether on the ground, under the sea, or even on other planets, these volcanoes are fun to explore. Kids will enjoy this unique look at one of nature’s most dangerous formations.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, computers, science

Code This!


Produced by: National Geographic Kids
Genre: Computers / Science / Children
ISBN: 978-1-4263-3443-6
Pages: 160
Price: $16.99

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Programming can be fun for kids, even if they don’t actually use a computer. Code This! provides step by step exercises designed to introduce them to this fun and useful skill.

Puzzles and games show how to move robots and frogs based on the instructions they are given. In the process, kids learn algorithms, constraints, loops, and debugging, as well as many other coding concepts. Exercises build on each other, and the processes become more complicated. By the time they complete this book, they will have a good understanding of how coding works, and be ready for the real thing.

Code This! is a perfect introduction to computer programming, and can be used at home and in classrooms. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, nature

The Big Book of Blooms


Author & Illustrator: Yuval Zommer
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children / Nature
ISBN: 978-0-500-65199-5
Pages: 64
Price: $19.95
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Author & Illustrator: Yuval Zommer
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children / Nature
ISBN: 978-0-500-65229-9
Pages: 56
Price: $14.95
Buy it at Amazon

Flowers are beautiful and they’re also fascinating to study. If kids have ever wondered what a Venus flytrap eats, how strong a giant water lily is, or if flowers bloom at night, The Big Book of Blooms will answer their questions.

After a brief introduction to the various types of flowers and their anatomy, this guidebook visits some of the more interesting varieties for a more in-depth look. Kids will study venus fly traps, cacti, wildflowers, and stinking flowers, as well as many others. Bright and colorful illustrations fill the oversized pages.

And if kids still want to learn more, they can have fun with The Big Sticker Book of Blooms, which includes “more stickers than there are prickles on a cactus.” I highly recommend this fun and whimsical two-book set for all budding naturalists.

Reviewer:  Alice Berger

animals, children

If I Had a Sleepy Sloth


Author & Illustrator: Alex Barrow and Gabby Dawnay
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children / Animals
ISBN: 978-0-500-65194-0
Pages: 32
Price: 14.95

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What would be the perfect pet for this little girl? A sleepy sloth, who will help her slow down and relax. Sloths are the perfect companions for hammocks, meditation, and simply hanging around.

If I Had a Sleepy Sloth is a cute rhyming book sharing all the benefits to having a sloth as pet. Kids will love this adorable, lovable creature, and probably ask Mom and Dad for a sloth of their own. (Parents, consider yourselves fore-warned!) I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, creativity, science

This Book Thinks You’re an Inventor


Author: Jon Milton
Illustrator: Harriet Russell
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children / Science
ISBN: 978-0-500-65176-6
Pages: 96
Price: $14.95

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Kids may not realize it, but they might be able to think like an inventor. If they’ve ever thought there was a better, faster, or smarter way to do something, or if they’ve ever thought about creating a useful tool to make their lives easier, they just might be an inventor. This Book Thinks You’re an Inventor taps into kids’ creativity to explore this concept.

This is no boring science book that kids will read cover to cover. Instead, they dive right in with exercises and experiments that teach them how to see things differently. Are they a doer, a refiner, or a dreamer? They can take the quiz to find out their own inventor style. Tinkering with bridges, engineering a new hairdo, or building paper skyscrapers with minimal tools are just some of the experiments they will enjoy.

Kids love to be creative, and they will have loads of fun with This Book Thinks You’re an Inventor. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, children, nature

Bats


Author & Illustrator: Gail Gibbons
Publisher: Holiday House
Genre: Nature / Children
ISBN: 978-0-8234-4354-3
Pages: 32
Price: $18.99

Author’s website
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Bats are amazing creatures, but many people are afraid of them. They are harmless animals that care for their young, help control the insect population, and pollinate plants. And right now they are in danger.

Since people don’t understand much about these mammals, they destroy their habitats. Pollution and pesticides also threaten bats. And now, they face a terrible disease called white-nose syndrome that has killed many bats.

Bats may be associated with Count Dracula but they’re not scary at all. In fact, they will probably never come near you. Bats provides a wealth of information so kids can learn all about these nocturnal animals and develop a healthy respect for them. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, nature

Hoot and Howl Across the Desert


Author & Illustrator: Vassiliki Tzomaka
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children / Nature
ISBN: 978-0-500-65198-8
Pages: 56
Price: $19.95

Author’s website
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It’s hard to survive in harsh desert conditions, but many animals and plants not only survive, but thrive. They’ve adapted to fit into their environments. Hoot and Howl Across the Desert shows us some of these deserts and the animals and plants that live there.

First, kids learn the definition of a desert, and may be surprised to learn about Antarctica. While focusing on each of the deserts, certain plants and animals are featured, as the author shows us some of their unique characteristics. Illustrations draw on indigenous and folk art local to each featured desert.

There is a wealth of information about the inhabitants of the world’s worst living conditions, and kids will enjoy reading about them all. They may even be inspired to learn more about these intrepid creatures. I highly recommend Hoot and Howl Across the Desert.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

The Word Pirates


Author: Susan Cooper
Illustrator: Steven Kellogg
Publisher: Neal Porter Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-8234-4359-8
Pages: 40
Price: $18.99

Author’s website
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The pirates are hungry, and what they love to eat is words! So they let their flock of Bumblebirds loose and wait for them to bring back some tasty morsels. As the birds collect words for the pirates, books are left empty of their stories.

But one day the Bumblebirds lift the words from the Word Wizard’s book. She won’t let them steal her stories, and she fights back with a magic pen. The pirates are no match for the powerful Wizard, and soon find themselves stranded on a island, planting vegetables to eat, and learning how to read.

The Word Pirates is a fun story that kids will read over and over again. They’ll be giggling at the fate of the pirates as they learn how to appreciate words, rather than eat them.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

I’m Brave! I’m Strong! I’m Five!


Author: Cari Best
Illustrator: Boris Kulikov
Publisher: Margaret Ferguson Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-8234-4362-8
Pages: 32
Price: $18.99

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It’s time for bed, but this little girl isn’t sleepy. She peeks out her window, notices what’s going on around her, and shuts the drapes. She could have asked Mom and Dad for help, but she’s brave, strong, and five, and she can handle it herself.

Next she sees a menacing shadow and turns on the light to see what it is. Proud of her bravery once again, she climbs back into bed only to hear a big crash. But she also handles this problem herself, without calling Mom and Dad. A third incident is handled in the same way.

I’m Brave! I’m Strong! I’m Five! celebrates a young girl’s steps toward independence, as she confronts nighttime problems and fears by herself. This cute bedtime story would be a great addition to any youngster’s collection.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, children, dogs

Why Do Dogs Sniff Butts?


Author: Dr. Nick Crumpton
Illustrator: Lily Snowden-Fine
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children / Dogs
ISBN: 978-0-500-65223-7
Pages: 48
Price: $16.95

Author’s website
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Have you ever wondered why dogs sniff butts? Or what their wagging tails mean? Do you know about the various jobs dogs were bred to perform? Or why dogs chase cats? If you’re fascinated with man’s best friend and just want to know more about them, Why Do Dogs Sniff Butts? is the perfect book for you.

Filled with lots of interesting facts about dogs, this illustrated book is a fun read for kids or any dog lover. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger