Bergers Book Reviews

Mind Muddlers: What you see is not what you get!

Mind Muddlers
Publisher: Ticktock Books
Genre: Children / Science
ISBN: 978-1-78325-244-2
Pages: 48
Price: 9.99

Buy it at Amazon

Certain patterns and designs can play havoc with our senses. When looking at these optical illusions, we think we see something, but it’s only our eyes playing tricks on us. In Mind Muddlers, kids are introduced to some of these interesting designs.

Impossible pictures, patterns that seem to be moving, and flat designs that appear to be in three dimensions are all featured in this unique book. Kids will enjoy seeing these mind-muddling pictures, and they are also encouraged to design their own optical illusions.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

January 2, 2016 Posted by | children, science | Leave a comment

Zoology for Kids: Understanding and Working with Animals

Zoology for Kids
Authors: Josh and Bethanie Hestermann
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Genre: Science / Children / Animals
ISBN: 978-1-61374-961-6
Pages: 144
Price: $18.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Kids have always been fascinated with animals, and many kids would love to have a job spending time with them every day. But what kind of education will they need, and what kind of jobs might be available? Zoology for Kids addresses these and many other questions.

In part one, zoology for beginners, animal form and function is covered, as well as behaviors and environments. Part two addresses the various jobs a zoologist might have, such as zookeepers, aquarists, veterinarians, wildlife researchers, and conservation warriors. Throughout the book, kids are encouraged to participate in activities designed to simulate the discussion topic.

Kids who want to work with animals might feel limited to being a domestic animal veterinarian, shelter volunteer, or pet store employee, but there are lots of opportunities for kids who want to work with wild animals. Exotic zoo animals also need to see the veterinarian to maintain good health. And if kids want to travel to foreign locations, they might have a calling for field research. Zoology for Kids presents a very detailed and comprehensive guide for kids to discover a career in zoology.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 15, 2015 Posted by | animals, children, science | Leave a comment

That’s What You Think!

That's What You Think!
Authors: Jan Van Holleben, Michael Madeja, Katja Naie
Publisher: Little Gestalten
Genre: Children / Science
ISBN: 978-3-89955-725-1
Pages: 184
Price: $24.95

Buy it at Amazon

Our brains are the computers in our heads that allow us to think, move, and keep our bodies functioning properly. But what exactly is a brain made up of, and how does it work?

That’s What You Think! shows us many facets of the brain in short, one-page or less snippets, each focusing on a single concept. What does a brain feel like? How does the brain send commands around the body? How do we store knowledge? Does the brain switch itself off at night? These and many more questions are answered in this book. Clever photos of kids in various positions imitating brain function are interspersed between the narrative sections.

This is not a true science book, although it does touch on scientific concepts. There is no bibliography or cited sources of any kind. As a result, I felt unsure of some of the statements it made, such as, “Scientists don’t exactly know if [a concussion] causes any real damage to the brain.” With all the discussions lately about sports safety and traumatic brain injury, this doesn’t seem to make sense. The book also attributes the creation of animals and humans to “nature” rather than God, which Christians will find objectionable.

If approached casually, this book is an easy read and interesting overview of how the brain works. But for serious study, it would be wise to consult a true science book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 30, 2015 Posted by | children, science | Leave a comment

ABC Universe

ABC Universe
Created by: American Museum of Natural History
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children / Science
ISBN: 978-1-4549-1409-9
Pages: 18
Price: $7.95

Buy it at Amazon

A is for Astronaut, B is for Black Hole, and C is for Comet. Readers will discover this is no ordinary ABC board book. As children recite their alphabet along with the American Museum of Natural History, they’ll also be studying astronomy. Each letter corresponds to space phenomena or equipment used in exploring the universe. Stunning photos accompany the narrative text.

ABC books can be pretty boring and repetitive for both kids and adults. While ABC Universe is not really suited for very young children, it will help foster curiosity about the universe as they get older. And parents will find it a much more enjoyable read than A is for apple.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 19, 2015 Posted by | children, science | Leave a comment

Bug Detective

Bug Detective
Author: Maggie Li
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children / Nature
ISBN: 978-1-4549-1516-4
Pages: 28
Price: $14.95

Buy it at Amazon

Bugs can fly, scurry, and slither. But what else do you know about these interesting creatures? In Bug Detective, kids will learn more about each category of creepy-crawly.

Butterflies, stick insects, beetles, worms, centipedes, and more are all covered in two-page spreads. Each shows the normal life cycle of this group, along with feeding habits, reproduction, and other fascinating facts. Bug detective activities and a glossary are also included.

If you have a budding entomologist in the house, this book would make a great gift. So grab your magnifying glass (included on the front cover) and go explore nature!

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 24, 2015 Posted by | children, nature, science | Leave a comment

Jake’s Bones

Jake's Bones
Author: Jake McGowan-Lowe
Publisher: Ticktock Books
Genre: Science / Children
ISBN: 978-1-84898-852-1
Pages: 64
Price: $12.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Jake has an unusual hobby – he’s the world’s youngest bone collector. When he finds a bone, he identifies the animal it belonged to, records the time and location he found it, and preserves it in a plastic storage box. He also takes pictures of the bones he finds and posts them on his website.

Since Jake loves his hobby, he wants to share it with other young bone collectors. This book covers interesting facts about bones and bone collecting, along with lots of pictures of his unique finds. From dinosaurs to the squirrel in your own backyard, he touches on all kinds of animal bones.

Kids are always fascinated when they see dinosaur skeletons displayed in museums. If they’ve ever wanted to know more about the study of bones, Jake will guide them. Jake’s Bones is a great book to keep in classrooms for science lessons, but kids will also enjoy reading it simply for pleasure.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

May 8, 2015 Posted by | children, science | 1 Comment

Shark Baby

Shark Baby
Author: Ann Downer
Illustrator: Shennen Bersani
Publisher: Sylvan Dell
Genre: Children / Animals
ISBN: 978-1-60718-6342
Pages: 32
Price: $9.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Shark baby is snug in his egg case, tied to a strand of kelp, wondering what’s outside. But when a storm hits, the rough ocean waves break the case loose, tearing it slightly. Shark baby can now see where he is and who he is encountering as he drifts about. But now he has a new question – what kind of shark is he?

Shark Baby introduces children to the life cycle of a shark and shows them a variety of shark species. A discussion guide with questions is also provided for classroom use. This book would be a great resource for science lessons.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

October 1, 2014 Posted by | animals, children, nature, science | Leave a comment

Good Question!

Good Question! history and science books provide fascinating glimpses into specific topics using question and answer format. Each book is filled with fun facts and beautiful illustrations.

Why Does Earth Spin?
Title: Why Does Earth Spin? And Other Questions About Our Planet
Author: Mary Kay Carson
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children / Science
ISBN: 978-1-4549-0675-9
Pages: 32
Price: $5.95

Buy it at Amazon

How big is the earth? How old is it? What creates our weather? What is the hottest, coldest, highest or deepest place on earth? Why is the moon important to earth?

How Does a Seed Sprout?
Title: How Does a Seed Sprout? And Other Questions About Plants
Author: Melissa Stewart
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children / Science
ISBN: 978-1-4549-0671-1
Pages: 32
Price: $5.95

Buy it at Amazon

What is a seed? Do all plants make seeds? What is a plant’s secret weapon? Does a plant ever stop growing? Why do some flowers smell bad?

How Many Planets Circle the Sun?
Title: How Many Planets Circle the Sun? And Other Questions About Our Solar System
Author: Mary Kay Carson
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children / Science
ISBN: 978-1-4549-0669-8
Pages: 32
Price: $5.95

Buy it at Amazon

Which planet in our solar system is the hottest? Which has the shortest year? Are there other planets beyond our solar system? Why is there life on earth? Why are there footprints on the moon?

How Does a Caterpillar Become a Butterfly?
Title: How Does a Caterpillar Become a Butterfly? And Other Questions About Butterflies
Author: Melissa Stewart
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children / Science
ISBN: 978-1-4549-0667-4
Pages: 32
Price: $5.95

Buy it at Amazon

What is a caterpillar, and how did it get its name? What do butterflies eat? How do butterflies help plants? What do caterpillars do all day?

How Does the Ear Hear?
Title: How Does the Ear Hear? And Other Questions About the Five Senses
Author: Melissa Stewart
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children / Science
ISBN: 978-1-4549-0673-5
Pages: 32
Price: $5.95

Buy it at Amazon

Why are two ears better than one? Why do your ears stick out? What causes an itch? Why can’t you tickle yourself? Do all animals see the way people do?

Who Were the American Pioneers?
Title: Who Were the American Pioneers? And Other Questions About Westward Expansion
Author: Martin W. Sandler
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children / History
ISBN: 978-1-4027-9047-8
Pages: 32
Price: $5.95

Buy it at Amazon

Who were the mountain men of the west? What was gold fever? What did the pioneers use to build their first homes? What did pioneers do for fun? How did railroads help America’s westward expansion?

What Was America's Deadliest War?
Title: What Was America’s Deadliest War? And Other Questions About The Civil War
Author: Martin W. Sandler
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children / History
ISBN: 978-1-4027-9046-1
Pages: 32
Price: $5.95

Buy it at Amazon

Who fired the first shots of the Civil War? Why did the south rebel? Why were horses so important in the war? Why did so many people die in the war? How did America’s deadliest conflict end?

June 21, 2014 Posted by | children, history, science | Leave a comment

Where’s Green? (The EnteleTrons Series)

Where's Green?

Authors: Renee Heiss & Gary A. Stewart
Illustrator: Fay Cofrancesco
Publisher: Entelechy Education
Genre: Children / Science
ISBN: 978-0-9887813-0-6
Pages: 32
Price: $14.95

Buy it from Entelechy Education

Priti proton, Ellie electron, and Ning neuron are wandering around the forest when they realize something is drastically wrong. Although it isn’t fall, all the leaves are brown. A prism confirms their theory – green is missing.

A trip to where colors live reveals that there has been an argument over which position each resides in the rainbow, and the constant bickering caused Green to leave. But order is successfully restored, and the trees return to their normal colors.

On the surface, Where’s Green? is a cute story with a tidy resolution. But in addition to this nice tale, the science of how we see color is explored through the discussions between Priti, Ellie and Ning. Readers have an opportunity to determine which tools they would use to make discoveries along the way, and teachers can find learning guides at the publisher’s website. I highly recommend Where’s Green? for classroom science libraries.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 12, 2014 Posted by | children, science | Leave a comment

Swamper: Letters from a Louisiana Swamp Rabbit

Swamper
Author: Amy Griffin Ouchley
Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
Genre: Science / Nature
ISBN: 978-0-8071-5074-0
Pages: 72
Price: $22.50

Buy it at Amazon

Swamper is a swamp rabbit living in a bottomland hardwood forest in Louisiana. In twelve fictitious letters, he explains what life is like for himself and the other dwellers in his neighborhood.

In each of these letters, Swamper covers a particular element of life in the swamp. Who lives there? What kinds of foods do they eat? How do the different animals handle flooding? And what is the life cycle of the plants and animals there? These and many other questions are answered through the letters and accompanying photos. Questions for further discussion and research are also provided.

Swamp rabbits look similar to the eastern cottontail, but there are physical as well as behavioral differences between them. Children will find Swamper fascinating as they not only learn about this interesting species of rabbit, but also about the swamp itself. This book would be a wonderful addition to a library or classroom science collection.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 3, 2014 Posted by | animals, children, nature, science | Leave a comment