My kids and I just finished this book and it was really good. One of the aspects I appreciated the most was how the author was very clear about the unknown aspects of the wonders. Lynn Curlee made the subject come alive with really great illustrations and lots of facts. She was clear in defining the line between what we “think” they were like and what we know. This ties in real well with SOTW year 1 but it would be great as just a quick pick up and read. We will definitely be using this for the younger ones when they get a bit older (2 and 11 months are a little young;). This is a read aloud just because of the foreign names. A first grader could definitely read this to you if you are willing to jump in with the names.
So today I am reviewing 2 animal books that are both by Michelle Levine. The NerdBug (1st grade) read Jumping Kangaroos to his siblings and myself today. They all loved it! It had the right combination of easy words and words that needed to be sounded(like marsupials and pouch). This can also be said of another of Levine’s books, Red Foxes. The information in both books is great. It has great individual facts that can mesh to a more complex development but also stand alone as facts. That is great for my 6 and 4 year old because it seems that the individual facts are what they glom onto at this age (as is fitting in the classical model;). I will be looking for more books by this author for my kids to read so I highly recommend it!
We have had another great science book. The kids and I just finished reading Ants (Early Bird Nature Books) and they loved it. It starts with a list of words to look out for and later defines them in the glossary. We used the list as a built in list of review questions. It does have some difficult and unfamiliar words (such as thorax and larva) so while most words are simple enough for a first grader, I would have them read it close so you can help with those words. We just read is aloud with the 6, 4, and 2 year old. It has great pictures and diagrams. We will be requesting the rest of the books in this series from the library.
We read It’s Disgusting and We Ate It! True Food Facts from Around the World and Throughout History as an additional historical read for Chapter one in Story of the World (Nomads) and it was very good. While it seems a book of modest page count, the information (and words) was astronomical. It focused on what used to be eaten, what is eaten other places, and what we eat that others find gross. All of my kids loved it. In addition to the typical paragraphs there was also a variety of poems and rhymes. The illustrations were also entertaining all on their own. This is something that I would like to have on my bookshelf for my kids. The drawback…. I go this book from the library as a read to go with the history lesson but due to it length we read it separate. I had alloted about 45 minutes in the morning to read it and it took considerably longer. This isn’t a flaw with the book but something to be considered when working it in with other material for a history unit. I think we might have this book to just read for edification not just for a history chapter. We will be using this again!
We read One Small Blue Beadby Byrd Baylor for Chapter one in Story of the World (Nomads). It was really good. It focuses on a young boy in a group of nomads and his wondering about other people being out there. It is written in a very poetic form and and the illustrations were beautiful. It seemed communicate just how separate the nomadic groups were from each other. My kids related to the boy and could empathize with his wondering. This was an easy pre-bed read for us due to its calming effects. We will definitely be using this again!
The NerdBug has just finished Little Grunt and the Big Egg in relation to his chapter on Nomads in The Story of the World. This is a great literature book and was recommended in my Activity Book. The NerdBug was able to read this completely on his own and really enjoyed it.
It is a sweet story of a boy finding an egg, getting a pet that out grew his home and then the pet saving them all. It is short enough that they can read it all in one sitting. It also has enough going on that they are enthralled so they don’t want to put it down. I even hear the NerdBug telling his brother and sister about his good book. We will definitely use this one again when the other kids cycle onto this area of history.
In doing science we have recently checked out a book on sloths simply called Sloths (Nature Watch) by Melissa Stewart. This book was horrible. To kick off our unit on an animal I read a 1 page summary on them and then we get an additional book. Well, this book took each little fact and made pages on it, pages I said. Now I am not saying they enriched the material on it or went further in detail. They simply took 1 fact and drug out the wording to take a page. So first strike it wasted words. Second strike is it bored you to death doing it. The we get to decide to embark upon the ice age and evolution. On the whole I strongly disliked this book and will not be using it when my other kids do sloths in the future.
I checked out Armadillos(Nature’s Children series) for a unit in Science for my 1st grader and my preschooler and I loved it. It is 48 pages (including the index) so it is substantial enough to have a good reading time. It has many sections that elaborate on specific points that were briefly mentioned in the The Kingfisher First Animal Encyclopedia (Kingfisher First Reference) chapter. My first grader could read many of the words but still needed some guidance but it is not real juvenile so one could use it probably in higher grades also. This is a book I will use again with other children.