December 15, 2010

Welcome to Nonfiction Monday. Add your links in the comments below and I’ll update them throughout the day.

The Little Brainwaves Investigate…ANIMALS

Illustrated by Lisa Swerling and Ralph Lazar

DK Publishing, 2010

ISBN # 9780756662806

Ages 5-10


“What is an animal? All living things fall into two main groups. They are either an animal or a plant. They all grow, feed, and have young. But animals can do something plants can’t do—they move) or at least most of them can)? Join the little Brainwaves to find out more.”

This is a book I wish I’d written. From the beginning, it captures the spirit and joy of learning about animals and reveals the fascinating side of this area of life science.

This series, for younger audiences, follows the Brainwaves series for older kids using the little characters called the Little Brainwaves, a set of helpful guides to direct the reader throughout the book.

The book begins with an introduction to animals, distinguishing vertebrates from invertebrates. It also introduces scientific nomenclature in a simple way. It’s divided into clear sections, with small segments of information explained in an easily understandable way. Spreads following further distinguish the animals and their activities, including details about the different groups. It covers life cycles, parents, habits, habitats, and invertebrates. The concluding spread gives interesting facts and a little history about animals and grouping. A detailed glossary and index make up the back matter.

Bright, inviting photos are mixed with the Little Brainwaves guys in an attractive layout. The designer did a wonderful job on this book. It’s appealing and bright, friendly and fascinating. It would make a great story time book or would be a good book to book talk. It’s a great reference and an even better bargain at a reasonable price for a resource kids will return to again and again.


Choose an animal from the book. Look up its scientific name. Then create that animal’s life cycle in an interesting way, showing the stages it undergoes as it is born, develops, and becomes an adult. Include a timeline in the project. This might be a power point, a chart, or a diorama. Maybe you can create another way to show information about your animal.

For more animal information, see National Geographic’s pages.

The Animal Diversity Web has examples of animal life cycles.

Enchanted Learning has good life cycle examples.

This site has a variety of information.

Growing With Science has lots of great life cycle ideas.

National Science Standard: life cycle of animals; organisms and their environment

 Book provided by publisher.


Welcome to Nonfiction Monday. We have some great books and posts about literature for kids today and every Monday. Take a look at them all!

Wild About Nature blog has a review of Jean Marzollo’s new book, Pierre the Penguin: A True Story. They will also be giving a copy away to one lucky reader!

Abby the Librarian has  a review of OLD ABE, WAR HERO by Patrick Young.

Bookends  Booklist Blog has BONES by Steve Jenkins.

 NC Teacher Stuff has a review of SHATTERING EARTHQUAKES by Louise and Richard Spilsbury.
Bookends  reviews Steve Jenkins’ fascinating  BONES.

Stacey has Ubiquitous at her blog.

The Cath in the Hat has She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story, a picture book biography about the first woman inducted into the Hall of fame. It’s by Audrey Vernick and illustrated by Don Tate.

Bookish Blather continues  reading the YALSA nonfiction award shortlist titles with The Dark Game by Paul Janeczko.

Roberta at Wrapped in Foil offers a book nominated for a Cybils in the nonfiction MG/YA category.  Journey into the Deep is by Rebecca L. Johnson.

Pink Me has a review of Code Quest: Heiroglyphs by Sean Callery and  illustrated by Jurgen Ziewe.

Jone at Check It Out reviews three dinosaur books from the Cybils NFPB nominees–and dinosaurs are always a hit with kids.


April 21, 2010

Dinosaurs Eye to Eye

By John Woodward

Digital Sculptor Peter Minister

DK Publishing, 2010

ISBN #978-0-7566-5760-4


Grades 3-7

“The age of dinosaurs began some 230 million years ago, near the beginning of the Mesozoic era. Dinosaurs went on to dominate life on Earth for 165 millions years—a vast span of time that permitted the evolution of a dazzling variety of species.”

This oversized, information-packed book holds a fascinating look at dinosaurs, their evolution and demise, and their relationship among other vertebrate animals. Set within the timeline of the Mesozoic era, the book fills in the story of the appearance of dinosaurs and sets the stage of the Earth on which they lived. Large images of the reptiles with explanatory captions, photographs, and graphics fill each spread and the information is appealing and up to date. From Postosuchus—a massive jawed predator that likely preyed on dinosaurs to the mighty T. rex, dinosaurs roam the pages. A two page glossary and index complete the back matter. The book has an excellent table of contents broken into the three Mesozoic eras.

This book is sure to appeal, particularly to the large group of dinosaur-loving children. The dense text and small size of the captions may interest better readers, but the illustrations and fast facts can intrigue any level of reader.

Activity 1 (older readers)

After reading the book, find five different examples of adaptations that different dinosaurs developed. Write and explain how these adaptations enabled the dinosaur to be better suited to live and compete in its environment.

More about dinosaur adaptations

More about adaptations

Activity 2 (younger readers)

Look up characteristics of reptiles and characteristics of birds. Choose a specific dinosaur and explain how it fit into one of those groups.

Characteristics of reptiles

Characteristics of birds

National Science Standard: diversity and adaptations

Book donated by publisher


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