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Pollination

Pollination

Pollination

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pollination – How Does My Garden Grow?

Chris Cheng

Danny Snell

CSIRO Publishing, 2023

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

9781486313235

When you live high up in an apartment in the city, it can be easy to take things like your food and clothing for granted, but take a trip to your grandparents in the suburbs and your eyes can be opened and your thinking changed entirely!

For even though young city kids might now know that bees are important, in this intriguing book they learn not only of the bees’ critical role in the survival of the planet as they flit from flower to flower, but also all the other pollinators who carry the precious gold dust – appropriate that it is gold, in the scheme of things – from plant to plant, not only providing food for humans but also for their own kind so that the cycle can continue on.  So, just as pollination itself is essential to the survival of the world’s ecosystems, so it is essential that we protect the pollinators.  As the child learns, something as simple as placing a bright-coloured flower in a pot on a balcony can contribute.

Linked to the Science strand of the Australian Curriculum, particularly the Biological Sciences understanding that “Living things grow, change and have offspring similar to themselves ” as well as being used in conjunction with Bee Detectives,  Plantastic,The Butterfly and the Ants     and Wonderful Wasps, this is an excellent foundation for helping our youngest readers understand a concept that many adults wouldn’t believe they could even pronounce!

Extra notes and some suggestions at the end of the story offer further information as well as some ideas for the best plants to put in a “Pollinators Paradise” if the school were to go down the path of creating a special, year-round garden to attract and protect the local pollinators.  Imagine the investigations that would spark…

 

Cicada Sing Song

Cicada Sing Song

Cicada Sing Song

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cicada Sing Song

Pat Simmons

Katrin Dreiling

Little Steps, 2022

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.95

 9781922358462

After spending so many years underground as nymphs, the warm winds have brought the cicadas to the surface and they are ready to get together to make their music, the loudest insects on the planer and the sound of summer evenings in Australia for so many.  

Yellow Monday, Black Prince, Green Grocer, Orange Drummer, Brown Bunyip, Floury Baker, Razor Grinder… all the males are pumping out their own particular song  to try to attract a mate and begin the cycle again. Even their rock star names suggest something special- which other insects have such tags? 

Written in rhyme, this is a fascinating book that brings the songs of the cicadas to life in what to some humans is just a cacophony because it  can be up to 120 dB at close range (approaching the pain threshold of the human ear), or so high in pitch that the noise is beyond the range of our hearing but which is unique to each species so that they only attract the females of the same species.

So as well as being entertaining it is also educational and combined with a book such as Searching for Cicadas could open up a whole new world of investigation for the young reader as they not only discover new things about this ubiquitous creature but perhaps the world of music too.  Which is their favourite genre? And if they were a cicada, what would their name be?

Mathematics for Beginners

Mathematics for Beginners

Mathematics for Beginners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mathematics for Beginners

Sarah Hull

Tom Mumbray

Paul Boston

Usborne, 2022

128pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

 9781474998543

Ask your students what they believe maths to be and you will get answers such as ‘numbers’, “measuring”. “counting”… and probably emotions like “hard”, “boring”, “waste-of-time”.  There are more groans and moans than jumps for joy.

 But mathematics is known as the “queen of all sciences” and the word itself comes from the Ancient Greek meaning “that which is learned” or “what you can know.”  And, indeed, it takes but a short investigation to see that maths concepts pervade every aspect of our lives and that is the focus of this book  for those who have mastered the basics of counting and calculating, to demonstrate the application and extension of those skills in solving almost every problem we have, from the mundane such as knowing the using a bus timetable to  extending our knowledge into areas we are yet to explore to solving mysteries that have confounded generations. 

Over the 50+ years I’ve spent in education, many of them helping young children understand the basic concepts through several maths-focused books, I know the key to success is showing them that what they are learning is relevant to their lives and something they will use again and again, and that is also the focus of this book.  So as well as looking at what statistics and probability are, it shows how they can be used to predict which sports teams will win.  By understanding shapes and scale, Lego models become more adventurous.  By understanding pi we can share the pie equally…

With the usual appealing layout and reader-friendly language we associate with Usborne publications, this is one that will take those with an interest deep into the realm of possibilities and, as usual, there are also the Quicklinks which fascinate further.

The Twelve Dinosaurs of Christmas

 

 

 

 

The Twelve Dinosaurs of Christmas

The Twelve Dinosaurs of Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Twelve Dinosaurs of Christmas

Evie Day

Liam Darcy

Orchard Books, 2022

32pp., pbk., RRP $A15.99

9781408367919

On the first day of Christmas, my grandpa gave to me . . .
A Santasaurus and her dino baby!

Can there be anything better than a grandpa who understands your love of dinosaurs and instead of drummers drumming, lords a-leaping, golden rings and a partridge in a pear tree,  gives you dinosaurs for the Christmas countdown? 

Young dinosaur lovers will delight in this hilarious, colourful, action-packed twist on the traditional song as more and more dinosaurs – some familiar, some not-so, are added to the little girl’s collection.  And with this week’s news that Queensland Museum Network palaeontologists have excavated Australia’s first head and associated body of a 100-million-year-old long-necked marine reptile in what has been described as the Rosetta Stone of marine reptile palaeontology, the continuing fascination with these ancient creatures is going to peak again, making this book such a fun read for the enthusiasts – perhaps even offering them some new species to investigate or imagining the problems such gifts might cause…  It’s amazing what something that starts as just a bit of light entertainment can lead to.  

Yoshi and the Ocean

Yoshi and the Ocean

Yoshi and the Ocean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yoshi and the Ocean

Lindsay Moore

HarperCollins, 2022

64pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780063060982

 

In 1997, a young loggerhead sea turtle was rescued from the ocean after an injury to her shell. The fishermen who rescued her named her Yoshi and took her to the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, South Africa. She was rehabilitated there and grew stronger—and larger!—every day. She also became one of the most popular exhibits at the aquarium.

But Yoshi was changing – she was becoming restless and the call of the ocean and her faraway home became stronger and stronger. After twenty years in captivity, Yoshi was released back into the ocean, fitted with a tracking device. And so began a journey that was full of danger, beauty, adventure, mystery, discovery and surprise. Over 987 days and 24 862 miles (almost 40 000 km) , she navigated the Atlantic and Indian Oceans  back to the Shark Bay region of Western Australia! 

In 2019, Lindsay Moore told us of the journey of Sea Bear, the remarkable journey of a female polar bear, and now, amongst the gloom and doom messages of climate change and environmental disasters, comes another heart-warming, hope-giving story of the magic and mystery of Mother Nature.  Yoshi’s story is told in both lyrical text and exquisite watercolour paintings, with the lightest touches  on topics such as conservation, oceanography, natural selection, the food chain, currents, and geography. But it becomes more than just the story of a remarkable journey with maps, information and even how the satellites tracked her included in the final pages.  On October 28, 2020 Yoshi sent her last transmission and her amazing journey is summarised on this blog post , complete with photographs and links to other posts that not only tell Yoshi’s story in greater detail, but also those of others released from the sanctuary.

Yoshi was “a fantastic ocean ambassador” while at the aquarium and her journey captivated so many more than just those able to see her “in person”, and although her whereabouts are not known now, her carers and scientists believe she is at last at home. Another amazing story of animal migration

If you have young, or not-so-young, readers with any sort of interest in turtles, or just the ocean and its incredible creatures, this is a must-have in any collection.  Inspire them to learn more, do more, and start their own life-changing journey!

Which Egg?

Which Egg?

Which Egg?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which Egg?

Roxane Gajadhar

Rob Foote

Little Steps, 2022

28pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

 9781922678584

When a huge wind blows the eggs of Stork, Parrot and Crocodile off their nests so they all end up in a jumble,  who knows which egg is which? Luckily, they have the sense and patience to wait for the eggs to hatch, and sure enough they are able to tell which baby belongs to which parent.

 Even though the theme of whose egg is whose is familiar, nevertheless it sets up all sorts of investigations for young children to follow.  Stork, Crocodile and Parrot each mentions a particular characteristic that their baby will have to enable them to identify them so not only could the child predict what that might be, but they could also think about what might be the significant indicator for other creatures they know, such as a zebra having stripes, and maybe setting up a parent-child matching game.  This could lead to them looking at themselves and their parents and seeing what of which they share.

More broadly they could start to develop their research skills by investigating which creatures hatch from eggs – clearly it’s not just birds. Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones was always my go-to text for this  and the children were always fascinated with what they learned, often leading into questions about their own origins.  

This is another story evolving from The Book Hungry Bears television show in which the main characters share picture books, hungry to learn all they can from those they settle down to share together, encouraging young readers to do the same and which is becoming one of my favourite series for young readers because of the places they can go because of their reading.

The Bedtime Book of Impossible Questions

The Bedtime Book of Impossible Questions

The Bedtime Book of Impossible Questions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bedtime Book of Impossible Questions

Isabel Thomas

Aaron Cushey

Bloomsbury, 2022

96pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781526623751

Can I sleep with my eyes open?

Why can’t I tickle myself?

What’s the world’s worst smell?

Why are bubbles always round?

Children asked impossible questions all the time much to the chagrin of their parents who are trying to get the child to sleep or who have no idea of the answers. And the child is not satisfied with “I don’t know” but now this book allows you to follow that with, “Let’s find out.” Starting with the premise that science is fundamentally about asking questions, particularly impossible ones, using what you know already as the stepping stones to look for answers which often throw up new questions, and continuing to experiment, explore, collect and discover while all the while discovering new rabbit-holes to investigate, the book gives the answers to a wide range of questions based on best-practice current knowledge. 

So as well as demonstrating why humans don’t have tails, why we need eyebrows and how many stars there are, they even explain why tortoises can beat hares! Lots of pictures and accessible text that keeps the audience front and centre make this a book that will not only help parents out but also nurture the budding scientists and support their curiosity as it validates that there are no silly questions – just those needing answers.  Perhaps they will be inspired to ask their own and that could build the basis of your science program for the year.  Investigating what they want to know rather than what some curriculum writer thinks they should! 

 

 

Little Bat Up All Day

Little Bat Up All Day

Little Bat Up All Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Bat Up All Day

Brian Lies

HarperCollins, 2022

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

9780358269854

Little Bat has never stayed up all day before! He always goes to sleep at the end of the night and so he is very curious about how the world looks when he’s normally asleep. He’s excited to see how everything looks in the sun and so he decides to stay up all day.

It turns out the world is a much different place – it’s hot, bright, and noisy and full of new things. . Luckily, Rusty the Squirrel is willing to show Little Bat around, even though Little Bat struggles to stay awake.  But when these new, fast friends separate at the end of the day, how will they stay in touch when one is usually awake while the other is asleep?

With a distinctive illustrative style that has won him a Caldecott Honor award among others for The Rough Patch,  this is a charming story to share with young readers who always want to stretch their bedtime because they think that something magical happens to the world after dark.  And it does – for all sorts of creatures who have slept during the day emerge when the sun disappears and the shadows take over.  So it’s no wonder Little Bat is curious about what happens in the world while he is asleep. 

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

As well as shining a light, so to speak, on the activities we diurnal creatures tend to take for granted, this is also an opportunity for young readers to learn about nocturnal creatures and consider why that is the best time for them to be awake. Why does Little Bat sleep during the day?  It can lead to investigations about why we have day and night, the phases of the moon, and even why all creatures need to sleep at some time.

More than just a bedtime story.  

 

Book of the Microscope

Book of the Microscope

Book of the Microscope

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book of the Microscope

Alice James

Usborne, 2022

64pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781474998468

Give a little child a magnifying glass and you will entertain them for hours.

Give a little child a pair of binoculars and you will entertain them for days,

But give them a microscope and you will entertain them weeks, if not a lifetime.

There is something fascinating that draws little people into looking at little things, so much smaller than they are and which captures their interest and imagination.  How well I remember the times it was our turn to have the school’s class set of microscopes and the anticipation and oy of discoveries made.  It didn’t surprise me that now Miss 16 had a microscope and a telescope on her Santa lists when she was but a babe!

So this book which explains what a microscope is, how it works and how to use it will be a welcome companion to a gift of the real thing. There are so many things to look at in and around the home that it can be overwhelming but with brilliant illustrations and accessible text, the reader is directed to focus on specific things such as the shapes and textures of thinks like moss or pollen and thus when they choose their own investigations they have learned the sorts of things to look for and at. There are even projects such as peeling a leaf or growing body bacteria  so the budding scientist is even more actively engaged.

Apart from being a brilliant suggestion for keeping young readers entranced as the long summer holidays approach, being an Usborne publication means there are safe links to follow to learn and discover more including using a virtual microscope.  

As well, the TL’s best friend Peter Macinnis still endorses the GoMicro, a device that attaches to a smart phone and for which he has written a series of free lessons for kids to use to explore the world around them.   More information about the device and how it can be purchased and used in schools (included purchasing a class set for $270) is here  or contact Peter directly for the teaching notes. 

The Sun and the Mayfly

The Sun and the Mayfly

The Sun and the Mayfly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sun and the Mayfly

Tang Tang

Zhang Xiao

Little Steps, 2022

44pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

9781922678041

As Little Mayfly is born in the depths of the lake, moving upwards through the water she greets the sun who is rising over a new day. 

“Hello”, she says, ” you are amazing. You light up this world as soon as you wake up. Who are you?” 

Sun tells her but when it learns that Little Mayfly only lives for one day and when it’s journey is over so will be her life, it has no words because it knows just how brief a day is.  But to Little  Mayfly, a day is a lifetime and there is so much to see and do, and even though she learns that she is going to miss out on things like the tadpole turning to a frog and the flowers booming., she remains cheerful and optimistic, determined to make the most of the time she does have.

Tagged as “an uplifting story about the power of positivity and making the most of every day” this is an enchanting story from a leading Chinese author that not only introduces young readers to the passage of time and encourages them to make the most of their time, it also helps them start to see the world through a different lens – an abstract concept that is tricky for little ones.  It is like that saying that not stepping on the ant makes a huge difference to the ant, if not the walker.  If we only have one day, do we spend it in despair or delight?

Even though the reader longs for a happier miraculous ending as the sun gradually sinks in the west, the inevitable happens and so this is also an opportunity to introduce the concept of life cycles  the tadpole’s is illustrated in the story but in a joyful way – and so the focus becomes not the inescapable but what can be done in the time we have.  Definitely one for the mindfulness collection and to inspire positive  mental health.