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How to Measure the Ocean

How to Measure the Ocean

How to Measure the Ocean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Measure the Ocean

Inda Ahmad Zahri

A & U Children’s, 2024

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781761180361

Take a young child to the beach for the first time and they are likely to be overwhelmed by the size of the ocean in front of them.  And it wouldn’t be unusual to have them ask, “How big is the ocean?”

And that’s the case for the children in this story as they try to use the traditional tools of string, scales and a bucket to find its size, weight and volume because those are the sorts of dimensions they are familiar with investigating.  But in this eye-catching book with its colourful illustrations, the reader is introduced to a range of other ways to measure from the simple counting of the oceans of the world (including the half-oceans, almost-oceans, once-oceans and oceans-in-between)  to measuring its depth to how it changes with time, temperature, terrain, the pull of the moon, the path of the wind…

But the purpose of the book isn’t just to collate a set of facts and figures about the ocean – as the author explains in a note at the back, it’s also about learning about solving other problems, looking for a formula or set of rules that can be used over and over, and learning to swap the word “ocean” for other things , even intangibles like emotions, creativity, courage, friendship…

Although it is recommended for the 4-8 years age group, it really has potential to be used with many age groups, depending on the focus. It could be used to encourage students to pose their own questions about the ocean and search for formulae or methods that might explain the answer; the maths curriculum to  have them examine something like the tidal charts and work out how they are worked out;  or it could be used in the mindfulness program because, if the ocean is vast, boundless, infinite, what else might be? 

Definitely one for the NCACL Picture Books for Older Readers database.

Giraffe Math

Giraffe Math

Giraffe Math

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giraffe Math

Stephen R. Swinburne

Geraldo Valério

Little, Brown Young Readers US, 2023

40pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

9780316346771

Twiga the giraffe introduces young readers to fascinating facts about giraffes and their relationship to other creatures-all by using math concepts such as measurements, graphs, shapes, word problems, and more.

This interactive picture book explores these spectacular animals through a STEM lens as everything from their speed and size to their intricate camouflage patterns (which act as internal air conditioning) and other body characteristics are featured. It’s an in-depth look at the animal kingdom’s most beloved gentle giants.

Animals have cycles of popularity and where, not so long ago, it was all about dolphins and elephants, now giraffes are enjoying the limelight.  So those in their fan club are not going to be too bothered by all the facts and figures in this book being in imperial measurements, because there is so much more information embedded in the text.  That said, for the young Australian reader, a lot of it will seem to be in a foreign language as they grapple with terms like feet and inches, ounces and pounds, and although there is a conversion chart provided, nevertheless such things can be hard to visualise for the inexperienced, even with the many illustrations offered as comparisons )although they are not necessarily done to scale.).   For older readers, it can be an opportunity to learn about different systems of measurements, both current and past, as well as doing the calculations involved in converting imperial to metric, although an online  measurement converter does it online in a flash. 

Despite the shortcomings on the mathematics side, this is still a worthwhile book for those with a fascination for the species and who are keen to learn more about these creatures with their strange ossicones (different between male and female) and their pizza-sized hooves.  

 

The Crayons Love Our Planet

The Crayons Love Our Planet

The Crayons Love Our Planet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Crayons Love Our Planet

Drew Daywalt

Oliver Jeffers

HarperCollins, 2024

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780008560898

Our planet is a colourful place…white ice caps, green trees, blue oceans and skies, brown soil . . . and more! And each crayon is delighted to share their part in keeping it colourful, especially Beige who pops up constantly to highlight his contribution,  like a little toddler desperate not to be overlooked.

This is a funny addition to this series for young readers, as they are encouraged to look at the world around them and its colours and begin to develop an appreciation for their environment and their responsibility towards it. It opens up opportunities for some elementary data collection as natural elements and objects are classified according to colour as well as art appreciation as they discover the myriads of tints, tones and shades of the hues of the colour wheel represented in Nature.

As well as being lovable characters in themselves, the Crayons always have adventures and experiences that can lead to greater learning, and this one is just as promising as all the others. in the series. 

One Little Dung Beetle

One Little Dung Beetle

One Little Dung Beetle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Little Dung Beetle

Rhiân Williams

Heather Potter & Mark Jackson

Wild Dog, 2024

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781742036656

Australia is rich with fascinating beetles that all have a job to do. Using counting rhymes, young readers are introduced to some of these unique species and identifying the roles that each type of beetle plays in the environment including the dung beetle, the once-iconic Christmas beetle and some with the most remarkable colouring.  

With stunning endpapers, and accurate anatomical illustrations throughout, this offers an insight into the prevalence of beetles in the landscape and the critical role they perform in keeping it healthy and vibrant.  Teachers notes  offer further resources and links to investigate further, including the world of entomology, while also guiding young readers through the process of distinguishing a non fiction title from a fictional one, and how to use the cues and clues to prepare themselves for getting the most from it.

But while its format might suggest an early childhood audience, there is also scope for older readers to springboard their own investigations – why was the dung beetle introduced to Australia and were all introduced species as successful? Why do some have such remarkable colouring?  Why have all the Christmas beetles disappeared to the extent there is now a national count?  

Even if the reader is a little young to appreciate all the information, much of it embedded in the illustrations, they will enjoy practising their counting skills as they try to find all the beetles as well as the number of holes nibbled in the title number.  The pictures also include other creatures so there is also the opportunity to investigate the concepts of “more” and “less” and other early maths basics. 

With its focus topic which will encourage little ones to look at their environment with fresh eyes as well as its format, this is one that offers so much more than first meets the eye.  Give it with the gift of a magnifying glass and see the joy and wonder explode. 

 

The Very Big Sum

The Very Big Sum

The Very Big Sum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Very Big Sum

Adrian Dudek

Naya Lazareva

Little Steps, 2023

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

9781922678928

It’s a glorious summer’s day and Teddy and Mabel really want to be outside playing, but instead they are stuck inside helping their mum clean the house.  Despite the fact they helped make the mess, like all kids, they are whingeing about having to help when the outdoors beckons.

So their mum agrees that they can go outside WHEN they have found the sum of all the numbers from one to 100. (And, being a smart mum she has removed the batteries from the calculator much to the children’s chagrin.)  And so begins a challenge that could be replicated in any family or classroom as the children are challenged to think beyond the obvious way to do things. Can they find the solution before it is too dark to play?

This could be an excellent starting point for getting students to think creatively, particularly in looking for patterns in and between numbers and having them explain their reasoning.  How many times did kids come up with something I wasn’t expecting, but their logic was sound? Or flawed so they had to retrace their steps?)  For those who like this sort of thing, it could be the springboard for getting them to investigate established patterns like Fibonacci or even inventing their own patterns like next-in-the-sequence for their peers to solve.

Looking for sequences and patterns is not an end in itself though, because it can be a really useful skill when analysing data and findings in research – a critical part of the information literacy process.  In fact, the information literacy process can be applied to almost any mathematical problem starting with “What do I know?  What do I need to find out? Where can I find that information? …  So what began as the familiar grumps of kids being asked to help around the house can actually become something so much more. 

 

Who has the biggest Mouth?

Who has the biggest Mouth?

Who has the biggest Mouth?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who has the biggest Mouth?

Judy Cannon

Verena Heirich

Little Steps, 2023

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

9781922678096

On a trip to the zoo with Grandma and Grandpa the children are looking for the creature with the biggest mouth.  While they discover lots of interesting and unique information about a number of individual species, do they find the one with the biggest mouth?

Young readers will have fun predicting who they think is the winning candidate as they share this book and they may be surprised by their discoveries.  If the reserve list for the latest Guinness Book of Records is any indication, little ones are fascinated by these sorts of extremes and so this could be the start of an individual or group display of investigating who, in the animal kingdom, has the biggest, longest, heaviest, smallest whatever encouraging young naturalists to delve deeply into the 500s collection to read and interpret with purpose while learning about measurement, comparison and adaptation.

If Our World Were 100 Days

If Our World Were 100 Days

If Our World Were 100 Days

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If Our World Were 100 Days

Jackie McCann

Aaron Cushley

Farshore, 2023

32pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9780008599287

If the last 10 000 years of human development were condensed into 100 days, it is hard to realise that it would be only 54 days ago that the first formal writing system was created and only six hours ago that the first text message was sent!

Time, particularly history, is one of the hardest concepts for little people to grasp because their lack of maturity keeps them in the here and now, and thus the concept of 10 000 years is impossible to understand.  But in this new book that uses the format of condensing things in 100 elements such as animal species or  groups of people, the numbers, proportions and statistics become more manageable.

Like its predecessors, it uses double-page spreads, clever illustrations and graphic design elements to chart the timeline of significant developments in humankind such as population growth, the evolution of the wheel, even the creation of cures for a headache. It includes a timeline that summarises the major events and discoveries included as well as inviting the reader to contemplate whether the progress has been entirely beneficial and where the world might be in 100 days from now, offering scope for the science fiction fans to let their imaginations loose.  Older readers might like to investigate the Doomsday Clock, its meaning and implications.

As well as offering students the opportunity to explore and explain the development of something that they, themselves,  are interested in and presenting their findings in a similar format, it is also an excellent way to talk about data collection, interpretation and presentation, and the use of visuals to convey complex ideas, all important aspects of being information literate, while, at the same time, helping them understand that elusive concept of time.  

 

Count the Stars

Count the Stars

Count the Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Count the Stars

Raewyn Caisley

Gabriel Evans

Walker Books, 2023

32pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99

9781760653552

Everywhere in her everyday world, Maddie finds mathematics.  Whether it’s seeing the parallel lines of sunshine pouring through her bedroom blinds in to morning, counting daisy petals in the garden, or finding the patterns in the pathway, she adores maths.  But among her friends, it would seem she was alone – when her friends came to play they found fascination in other things like decorating the cupcakes rather than measuring and making them.  Her preoccupation impinges on her relationships with her classmates, making her feel out of kilter with them, as though she were some kind of weird and she doesn’t even notice that there might be others with a similar fascination, until…

This is an absolutely intriguing story with lots of layers that will resonate with so many readers, not just discovering the ubiquity of maths in our lives, and maybe building a maths trail around the school. While the author has chosen to make maths the focus of Maddie’s passion, there are bigger issues that can be explored through the story such as celebrating a love of learning; making and maintaining friendships; finding and following your passion and owning it or, conversely, feeling separated from our friends because they don’t love something as we do; even exploring whether friends can like and do different things and still be friends.

Having gone from someone who saved the Year 6 final excursion by being the only person to get 100% in the end-of-year maths exam, to be completely bewildered by the complexities of algebra and trigonometry at high school and getting a bare minimum pass in the School Certificate exam, to becoming a maths consultant and writing a number of teacher resource books on integrating it across the curriculum, I can relate very closely to Maddie as she finds the maths in everything fascinating and understands why it is referred to as the “Queen of Sciences”.  So while I could write a book or several (actually have) about how the maths in this story could be the springboard to the year’s curriculum, starting with the endpapers, it also opens the opportunity for readers to share their passions and what is involved in achieving their big dreams.  And that could lead to investigating how their heroes achieved their dreams, or building Genius Hour into the timetable, or…

But for all the Maddies who love maths, perhaps they could ponder this… if Maddie can figure out a way to count the daisy petals in the garden, how could she count the stars?  

 

One Day By the Numbers

One Day By the Numbers

One Day By the Numbers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Day By the Numbers

Steve Jenkins

Clarion, 2022

40pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

 9780358470113

What happens around in the world in twenty-four hours? This is another  amazing book of infographics from author-illustrator Steve Jenkins as he shares lots of amazing facts and  figures, summarised in pictures, charts and graphs in this new book perfect for curious kids.

Some of you may have seen the photos I shared of an intrigued young friend who started reading at 3.30pm and was still going at 7.30pm when I gave him 100 Things to Know About the Unknown recently, and this is definitely another one that will keep him entranced, as it will all our other young readers who have a penchant for non fiction and being enticed down rabbit holes as they strive to find out more about what has captured them.

The perfect evidence for why we need a vibrant non fiction collection.

The perfect evidence for why we need a vibrant non fiction collection.

In this latest addition to the By the Numbers series, readers can explore what happens around the world with humans, animals, and even microorganisms in just twenty-four hours. From how much humans eat and how far migrating animals travel in day to how often lightning strikes. readers travel beyond the clock and into what twenty-four hours looks like on a massive scale. As Europe’s wildfires make headline news, we can learn that not only are these fires growing more frequent and more intense, but the equivalent of 125 000 soccer fields is burned by them every day!! And, at the other end of the scale, 16 000 Olympic swimming pools could be filled by the ice melting from glaciers and the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets every day.  

As well as being a model for the presentation of information that students could emulate, this is such an intriguing series it will keep the Xanders of this world engaged for hours, providing even more evidence of the importance of having a vibrant, current and promoted non fiction print collection.  Who knows what might catch their eye and capture their curiosity?

One Little Duck

One Little Duck

One Little Duck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Little Duck

Katrina Germein

Danny Snell

HarperCollins, 2023

32pp., hbk., RRP $A22.99

 9781460761649

Five little ducks went out one day… and came home when they were called by their mother, “Quack Quack Quack Quack”.

But now there is only one little duck left at home and even though Mother Duck is happy for her last one to go over the hills and far away, she strikes trouble when it is time to call him home and she can’t remember how to quack!  So she tries Moo Moo Moo Moo instead -with s surprising result. Little Duck comes back for tea but with a friend in tow.  And so the pattern continues. Each evening , as she tries to find her quack, the roll at the tea table grows in length and diversity but she remains unflappable, just getting out a bigger cooking pot and more dishes and cutlery each time.  Until one night…

Young readers can have heaps of fun with this one, not only appreciating the rhyme and rhythm and building vocabulary and spelling patterns,  but also predicting and suggesting which friend might come home with Little Duck this time. And what might Mother Duck be cooking that they would all enjoy? They could even examine the camping picture and identify who is not there, focusing their suggestions on animals likely to be found on a farm. and how that creature might feel about being left out. Perhaps they could use the established pattern to add some more verses. Counting and sequencing activities as well as learning the ordinal numbers and positional words add extra possibilities but this would also work well with English as an Additional Language learners particularly if it were used in conjunction with similar stories like Old MacDonald had a Farm.  What a wonderful opportunity to create a mural to label all the creatures with words from lots of languages!!!