Seymour Simon’s Extreme Oceans and Extreme Earth Records

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NF PB 2013

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

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Extreme Oceans and Extreme Earth Records
Author: Seymour Simon
Published April 2nd, 2013 and August 29th, 2012 by Chronicle Books

Extreme Oceans Goodreads Summary: Join Seymour Simon, the “dean” of children’s science nonfiction, as he investigates the most extreme environments, animals, plants, and weather in the ocean. Imagine exploring the most extreme parts of our amazing oceans—riding the tallest waves, diving to the darkest depths, and encountering the largest and most dangerous sea creatures on Earth. These mind-bending facts and stunning photographs make for an exciting, and sometimes unbelievable, underwater expedition!

Extreme Earth Records Goodreads Summary: Imagine exploring the most extreme parts of our amazing planet—trekking though the driest desert, climbing the snowiest mountaintops, and diving to the deepest regions of the ocean floor. Seymour Simon, the dean of children’s science nonfiction, investigates Earth’s biggest, smallest, deepest, and coldest environments, animals, plants, and most severe weather. These mind-bending facts and photographs invite readers on an exciting, and sometimes unbelievable, scientific expedition of Earth’s most amazing records!

My Review: These books take the other Seymour Simon books I read and just pushes them to the extreme (pun intended). Both books take on different topics and gives the readers extreme facts and information about the topics. Topics range from “Big Waves and Giant Tides”, “Dangerous Sea Animals”, and “Climate Change” in Extreme Oceans and “The Coldest Place on Earth”, “The Biggest Earthquake on Earth”, and “The Largest Volcanic Eruption on Earth” in Extreme Earth Records. In each section, there are bits of information, photographs, sidebars, and text boxes all which add to the topic. All of the information is fascinating and by the end of each section definitely gives insight into the topic. Also, the photographs in these books are just breathtaking!

Teacher’s Tools For Navigation: Like other Simon books, students will definitely love to just read these as they include some fascinating information. Teachers can use them in a couple of different ways: as supplemental materials when teaching a topic, as a research source, or to discuss text features (and I’m sure a bunch of other different ways that I have not even thought of).

Discussion Questions: Would you rather live in the coldest or hottest place on Earth?; Which of the most dangerous ocean animals scares you the most? Why?; Many other discussion questions based on the topics

We Flagged: “Stormy Seas: Imagine being caught at sea in a small ship in the middle of a monster storm that stretches for hundreds of miles in all directions. That’s what happened to a fishing ship, the Andrea Gail, on October 30, 1991. The storm was so big that there was no way to get out. Huge waves and howling winds sampled and sank the boat. It was called the ‘perfect storm’ because all the different factors that can make up a huge storm came together at one time and one place.” (Extreme Oceans p. 25)

“The Largest Volcanic Eruption on Earth: As you read this book, somewhere around the world there are approximately twenty volcanoes erupting. Three-quarters of volcanic eruptions occur unseen beneath the oceans, and no one knows when they happen.” (Extreme Earth Records p. 49)

Read This If You Loved: National Geographic Kids Weird But TrueDangerous Animals of the Sea by Samantha Flores,  Pompeii by Mary Pope Osborne, Discovery Channel’s Top 10 Deadliest Sharks, 50 Climate Questions by Peter Christie, Giant Squid by Mary M. Cerullo, The Top of the World by Steve Jenkins

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Skinny Little Tree by Jayme Martin

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Skinny Little Tree
Author: Jayme Martin
Published June 30th, 2013 by Outskirts Press

Goodreads Summary: “All the seasons are worth living…” May Skinny Little Tree, Wiggly Worms, and Little Leaves remind you that all the seasons of life are worth living.

Review: This is a fabulous book to teach children about the changing of seasons. A little boy approaches Skinny Little Tree and asks her whey she is smiling, weeping, worried, etc., and she tells him why she is feeling those emotions. She responds with an answer that shows she doesn’t understand how her environment changes as the seasons change. After each season, there is a workbook page that asks the reader to draw a different element of the plot. I imagine that kids would have a lot of great fun with this interactive text!

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: This would be a great book to pair with a unit about the changing seasons or the emotions that we feel. I think kids would have a lot of fun with the interactive drawing sections. I’d love to see students write their own books from the perspective of a different inanimate object as it responds to the seasons changing. For example, a student might choose to write from the perspective of a pond as it goes through the seasons of a year.

It is reminiscent of many Eric Carle books, so teachers might find it valuable to pair them to teach author’s craft.

Discussion Questions: What changes does Skinny Little Tree experience as the seasons change? Which was your favorite season? Why?; What does Skinny Little Tree come to understand by the end of the book?; How does the repetition in this book add to the story?

We Flagged: “‘Skinny Little Tree, / why are you smiling at me?’ / ‘Because Wiggly Worms / are tickling my toes'” (p. 3-4).

Read This If You Loved: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? written by Bill Martin Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

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**Thank you to Jayme Martin for providing me with this copy for review!**

History News: Greek News by Anton Powell and Philip Steele

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NF PB 2013

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

greeknews

History News: The Greek News
Author: Anton Powell and Philip Steele
Illustrator: Various
Published March 10th, 2009 by Candlewick Press

Goodreads Summary: At home or at school, these innovative titles make history come alive

Read all About it Now, with The Greek News and The Roman News, life in ancient Greece and Rome is presented in the form of a daily newspaper written at the time. As accessible as your morning paper, The Greek News and The Roman News will give young readers the unforgettable sense of actually being a citizen of an ancient nation.

Stop the presses! What if ancient civilizations had daily newspapers? And they were amusing and compellingly informative? They might just look like this innovative series of historical nonfiction, presented in a unique, kid-friendly format.

Presents a “special edition” of a Greek newspaper which spans the years 1500 to 146 B.C. and contains articles about history, politics, feasts, fashions, theater, gods, and wars.

My Review: Set up like a Greek newspaper, The Greek News takes important events from the history of Greece and transcribes them as articles. The articles range in topics including Sparta, Alexander the Great, politics, army/navy life, trades, sports, woman, mythology, arts, education, philosophy, and traditions.

Teacher’s Tools For Navigation: The book is so well done with each page including a main article as well as other features including sidebars, maps, advertisements, diagrams, illustrations and political cartoons. I think students will like reading/learning about Greece more from this text than other because the unique format shares the information as if it was happening in the present and puts the reader in the middle of Greece. It also throws in some humor which students will love. This text can lead to such great discussions about not only Greece, but war, philosophy, mythology, propaganda, and so many other things.

Discussion Questions: [Writing prompt] Use The Greek News as a guide to create your own newspaper-esque piece sharing the history of a historical fiction book which you have read.

We Flagged: “In 415 B.C., Athens tried to add to its territory by conquering the island of Sicily. The results were disastrous – thousands of Athenian soldiers and hundreds of warships were lost. The Spartans leaped on Athens’s weakness and cut off the city’s supply of wealth from its silver mines…” (“Sparta Attacks!” p. 6)

“You know what it’s like. One minute your life is going smoothly, then, just when you least expect it, the gods turn their back on you and disaster strikes! Don’t panic – The Greek News will tell you everything you need to know about keeping the gods on your side.” (Lead paragraph for “Pleasing the Gods” p. 20-21)

“Socrates is to die! The jury of 501 men has made its decision – Socrates is guilty of not believing in the state-approved gods and of leading young people astray with his teaching.” (“Death by Poison, pg. 27)

Read This If You Loved: Any non-fiction or fiction text about Greece

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The Salem Witch Trials: An Unsolved Mystery from History by Jane Yolen & Heidi Elisabet Yolen Stemple

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NF PB 2013

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

salem

The Salem Witch Trials: An Unsolved Mystery from History
Authors: Jane Yolen & Heidi Elisabet Yolen Stemple
Illustrated by: Roger Roth
Published September 7th, 2004 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Summary: In 1692 Salem, Massachusetts, witnessed one of the saddest and most inexplicable chapters in American history. When a group of girls came down with a horrible, mysterious bout of illness, the town doctor looked in his medical books but failed to find a reasonable diagnosis. Pretty soon everyone in town was saying the same thing: The girls were ill because they were under a spell, the spell of witchcraft! And still, the question remains: Why did the hysteria occur? The townspeople had many things to worry about back then: smallpox, strife with the local Indians, a preacher demanding higher wages, and the division of land in the community. But did all of those problems justify a witch hunt?

Become a detective as you read this true story, study the clues, and try to understand the hysteria! The Unsolved Mystery from History series is written by acclaimed author Jane Yolen and former private investigator Heidi Elisabet Yolen Stemple. This is an innovative history lesson that’s sure to keep kids thinking throughout.

Review: The mystery of the Salem Witch Trials is one that has haunted the United States for over 3oo years now and is one that students love to read about (and I do, too!). Most of my thoughts about this book are about how awesome this book is for the classroom. The Yolens seemed to have written it specifically for teachers to use.

Teacher’s Tools For Navigation: This book promotes studying history, inquiry, and vocabulary. The book begins with an introduction to a young girl who enjoys unsolved mysteries from history and then the book is set up like her case notebook. Each page of the case notebook includes a narrative nonfiction section about what was going on in Salem, an informational nonfiction section where facts about the story are explained even more in detail, and then there are vocabulary words from the two sections defined for the reader. Finally, in the back of the book the different theories about what could be the answer to the unsolved mystery are shared and briefly discussed. The set up of this book leads to infinite possibilities of being used in the classroom. Students could debate, write research papers, could do their very own case notebook about a different mystery, etc. Another option is to get all of the Unsolved Mystery from History books and have students get into lit circle groups and have each group read a different mystery then research and share.

Discussion Questions: What do you think happened in Salem? [Could be a wonderful debate or cooperative research presentation/paper in class. Have each students, after reading the different theories, decide which they believe is true. Then within their groups come up with evidence that supports the theory that they believe in.]

We Flagged: Narrative Nonfiction Section: One bitterly cold day in February, Betty and Abigail both fell ill, collapsing onto their small rope beds. They convulsed. They contorted. Their arms and legs jerked about. They shouted bizarre, unintelligible words. They crouched under chairs and cowered as if frightened. In other houses in Salem Village several of their friends began to act the same way.

Informational Nonfiction Section: The other sick girls in Salem village included Ann Punam Jr. (age 12), Mercy Lewis (age 19), Mary Walcott (age 16), Elizabeth Hubbard (age 17), and Mary Warren (age 20). Like Abigail, Elizabeth and Mercy were orphans; Mercy may have witnessed her parents being killed in an Indian attack three years earlier in Main. Mary Walcott had lost her mother when she was eight. Ann and Betty were daughters of landowners, but Marry Warren, Elizabeth, and Mercy were maidservants.

Vocabulary: Convulsed: shook violently, Contorted: Twisted into unusual shapes, Unintelligible: Impossible to understand” (p. 12-13)

Read This If You Loved: I Walk in Dread by Lisa Rowe Fraustino, The Sacrifice by Kathleen Benner Duble, Witch Child by Celia Rees, The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, Witches: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem by Rosalyn Schanzer and other nonfiction books about Salem

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