Tag Archives: Non-Fiction

Nic Bishop Marsupials

Nic Bishop Marsupials

Nic Bishop Marsupials

Nic Bishop is on a roll cranking out animal books with stunning pictures and interesting information. Spiders, Frogs, Butterflies and now, Marsupials. Nic’s motto seems to be, “have camera, will travel.” This time he heads to Australia where the world’s largest concentration of marsupials live.

Mammals are warm-blooded animals that have fur and raise their babies on milk. Mammals are dogs, cats, cows, bears, etc. Marsupials are a special kind of mammal whose mothers raise their babies inside a furry pouch. The most well-known marsupials are probably kangaroos. But there are lots of marsupials – opossums, koalas, wombats…and bettons, bilbies, potoroos & dibblers. I’ve never even heard of those, have you? This book will give you an up close look at these furry little pouched creatures. Some of them look made up – like someone took parts of different animals and stuck them together.

One of the marsupials is a tasmanian devil – like Taz on Looney Toons. The real tasmanian devils don’t really look like Taz, they look like cute mini black bears. Their behavior, though, is more like Taz. They get really excited when they eat and like to fight over food, their favorite being animals that have been dead for so long they smell bad. Yuck! They also have really, really strong jaws that can crunch through bones. When I think about those habits, then I can picture crazy, slobbery Taz and see where he got his name.

Nic Bishop’s Official Website

More Nic Bishop animal books you might like:
Spiders Frogs Butterflies & Moths The Tarantula Scientist
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The Frog Scientist

The Frog Scientist

The Frog Scientist

I wish all science books were written like this one! This is the story of Dr. Tyrone Hayes who started out as a boy collecting frogs, turtles and snakes in the swamp near his home in Columbia, South Carolina. Fast forward 20 years and Tyrone is a Harvard graduate studying frogs. He’s a frog scientist, just like he always wanted to be.

As you read the book you learn about how Tyrone became a scientist, but you also learn about how he does his research. You see pictures of Tyrone out in the wild collecting samples and inside his lab studying frogs under a microscope. Tyrone’s research is about the affects of pesticides on frogs. Pesticides are chemicals that farmers spray on crops to kill pests like insects or weeds. In particular, he studies atrazine, a chemical used to kill weeds. Atrazine is used in Indiana on corn crops. Reading this book just might make you want to follow the debate about whether or not atrazine should be used. According to Tyrone’s research, the chemical causes all kinds of problems in frogs…they can  grow extra legs… and the chemical can even make a boy frog turn into a girl frog.

This book has fabulous pictures of frogs, frog parts & frog insides. There are also great pictures of Tyrone and his students in his lab or out in the wild collecting specimans. The pictures are all crisp and clear and full of color. I really liked the pictures inside the lab. I also liked hearing about being a scientst right from Tyrone. The author used Tyrone’s real words throughout the book. It was cool to read about a little boy who grew up to do exactly what he dreamed of doing. It’s also cool to read about someone that is really passionate about what they do. Watch the video below – Tyrone raps about what atrazine does to frogs. Author: Pamela Turner

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Mission Control, This is Apollo

Mission Control, This is Apollo

Mission Control, This is Apollo

This is the story of the Apollo space program. Apollo is the name NASA gave to the missions that put men on the moon.

The book is full of interesting (and funny!) stories about how the space program developed. If you read it you will find out how the scientists, engineers & astronauts figured out how to make everything work.

Since the author interviewed 28 astronauts, the book is full of inside stories based on their memories. Because the words are right from the astronauts you get a really personal sense of what it was like to work on the Apollo project and to be a person that actually walked on the moon. You can read stories that only the astronauts would know.

By telling the story of each Apollo mission, from Apollo 1 to Apollo 17, you can see what they learned each time. For example, at first they were really worried about the astronauts bringing germs back to earth. After the Apollo 11 astronauts brought back space dust that could be tested, the scientists could prove that no germs can live on the moon because of the intense heat, intense cold and radiation from the sun. By Apollo 14, they weren’t worried about moon germs anymore.

The book has lots of diagrams and photos as well as paintings done by Alan Bean, the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12 and the fourth man to walk on the moon. After Mr. Bean retired from being an astronaut he became an artist. You can see his pictures for yourself on his website. His paintings are fantastic, plus, he is not painting from his imagaination – he actually saw and walked on the moon.

Don’t miss the Apollo Archive links below to images and audio from the Apollo Missions. Listening to the astronauts’ actual words is really something. The whole group: the scientists, engineers, astronauts…I admire this team of smart, confident team players that could make something like landing on the moon actually happen. Even 40 years later it’s still a marvel. Author: Andrew Chaikin

One other thing…on the book jacket there is a picture taken in April 1969. The picture is of Alan Bean during his training for the Apollo 12 mission. The other person in the picture is a 12 year-old boy, Andrew Chaikin - this book’s author! And now here they are 40 years later writing a book together. I love it when a kid’s dreams come true!

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The Day-Glo Brothers

The Day-Glo Brothers

The Day-Glo Brothers

  • Bob and Joe Switzer were just two boys having fun; riding in airplanes, practicing magic tricks and inventing stuff. They liked to problem solve by thinking up interesting solutions to problems.

Joe liked magic tricks and read in the magazine Popular Science about how ultraviolet lamps, called black lights, made some substances glow in the dark. The brothers made some glow-in-the-dark paint and figured out ways to use them to jazz up Joe’s magic act. Then they figured out something really unique, how to get colors to glow in the daylight -  and a legend was born.

You see day-glo colors all the time now, on signs or in markers or even on clothes, but none of that was possible until Bob and Joe got curious and then got to work. I loved reading about these guys! Author: Chris Barton

  • Read an Interview with the Author, Chris Barton
  • The Day-Glo Brothers Activity and Discussion Guide
  • There are things in nature like flowers and minerals that are fluorescent – these things glow at night. The Switzer brothers figured out how to make things glow in daylight. See How Day-Glo Works.

     

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    The Kids Guide to Paper Airplanes

    The Kids Guide to Paper Airplanes

    The Kids' Guide to Paper AirplanesIf you love airplanes, ask a grownup to take you to the Indianapolis Air Show at the Mt. Comfort Airport this weekend, June 5-7, 2009. On the website you can see all the different kinds of planes and activities that will be going on there. You can see the Blue Angels, historic airplanes and a lot more.

    If you can’t go to the airshow and just love airplanes, try out some of the paper creations in this book. The directions are really clear with color photographs to help you make the folds correctly. The planes start out easy and get harder and harder as you move through the book. The last plane requires 18 folds! The author even includes some tips for getting these planes to fly far.

    Another book you might like: Super Simple Paper Airplanes

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