For this month's edition of Book Box Thursday, I'm going to share about three library books that we find to be extremely unique. Their content and design gives them a fun twist that makes it so much easier to engage kids.
Simply Sound: Science Adventures with Jasper the Origami Bat (JP524BRA)
Plants Parts Smarts: Science Adventures with Charlie the Origami Bee (JP571.3BRA)
Like the titles suggest, the first book investigates sound while the second, plants. What I like about these two titles is the way they take advantage of origami living things in the story line. The stories start off similarly, with a kid folding a bat or a bee, which then becomes 'alive' and starts interacting with other animals.
Jasper the Bat goes around with Leo the dog to find out how sound vibrates and travels, how humans and animals hear, and why some animals have better hearing than others. While Charlie the Origami Bee brings his insect friends on a journey to find out how plants grow from seeds and how photosynthesis works. The science facts seem difficult to comprehend, but, it is written in simple language that makes the facts easy to understand. The illustrations are also animated and active, so even if the kids are not too interested in the words, the colourful pictures can be used to explain the science facts in a more visual way.
Another interesting feature of both stories is the way speech arrows and bubbles are used to indicate which animal or insect is speaking in a narrative. This can be further used to show that dialogue can be presented in many ways, and not just in straight lines, exposing kids to more narrative possibilities. There is also a glossary at the end to explain difficult words, a great help.
The stories can also come alive, literally. At the back of books, there are instructions how to make the origami bat and bee. EV made both, with some guidance, and we retold the stories making use of the origami bat and bee. EV and AA took turns to be the bat or the bee, or the other characters, and the stories were shared over and over again. Sometimes, we deviated from the original storyline, giving both opportunities to stretch their imagination with their own creation. Most importantly, we had fun.
These two titles are written by the same author Eric Braun. He has also written other stories in the same series: Lookin' for light : science adventures with Manny the origami moth and Let's rock! : science adventures with Rudie the origami dinosaur. We can't wait to read these other titles too.
Secrets of the Apple Tree: A Shine-A-Light Book (JP577BRO)
A Shine-A-Light book? What's that? That got me curious too, that I simply had to borrow it and share its secrets with the kids. In terms of content, the story is rather straight forward. It tells the tale of an apple tree and the living beings that live around it. Well, specifically, environments such as a leaf pile and a bees' nest. While discovering the secrets behind these hidden habitats, the story investigates how a tree loses its leaves during winter, and what happens when an apple and its seeds fall out on to the ground.
So what's the secret? The magic happens when holding the book up to the light. What appears to be just green grass under a tree amazingly reveals a hidden picture of underground roots and worms in the soil that live beneath the tree. Turn the page and above the hidden picture is an explanation of the worms on the previous page. This innovative way of presenting a story and revealing hidden aspects is extremely interactive, and is a very kid-friendly way of introducing the theme of nature and ecosystems. We used this to teach about plants, flowers and seeds, amid squeals of delight when the hidden pictures appeared. There just something about the magic of light that kids love. We will borrow this book anything again to enjoy the magic.
Hope you will enjoy the books we shared today. Till next time, happy reading!!