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September 1, 2011 Edition

Open Me Up

Written by Laura Buller

These two different books about the human body show what it is and how it functions for upper elementary and middle school readers, but could easily entrance younger page-turners, too. Open offers tidbits of information about the workings of hormones, organs, diseases, and bones through photos, diagrams, cartoons, and text. Body is a little less frenetic, using photos and diagrams to show how our bodies enable us to play sports, fight diseases, and survive surgeries. There’s plenty of overlap, so look for the one that is most visually appealing to your reader.

Body Science

Written by James Cracknell

These two different books about the human body show what it is and how it functions for upper elementary and middle school readers, but could easily entrance younger page-turners, too. Open offers tidbits of information about the workings of hormones, organs, diseases, and bones through photos, diagrams, cartoons, and text. Body is a little less frenetic, using photos and diagrams to show how our bodies enable us to play sports, fight diseases, and survive surgeries. There’s plenty of overlap, so look for the one that is most visually appealing to your reader.

Big Babies, Little Babies

Written by Lorrie Mack

Try this delightful book about all kinds of baby animals on your kindergarten and early elementary school readers. Each double-page spread offers up color photos of an animal engaged in a variety of activities along with nuggets of information. A Japanese macaque monkey baby, for instance, is photographed with its family around natural hot springs, where they groom each other and think about what to have for lunch. A baby elephant cools off in a mud puddle with its mom, but a tortoise hatches from an egg, motherless, because its mom left after laying the egg. The information is guaranteed to tantalize without providing all the answers you might want (the information that both flamingo parents feed their chick milk sent me straight to a bigger reference book), but the photos are fabulous showstoppers.

A School Like Mine

Written by Penny Smith

School is the same all over, right? Not so! Travel around the world with this book, which features kids from every continent. Bright photos show the kids in and out of class along with information about a typical day at their school. Meet Alexei, who travels to his boarding school in a helicopter; Chiara, who spends 3 hours a day doing homework; and Sibusiso, whose school is an hour’s walk from his home. Find out whose school serves omelets for lunch, who goes to a girls-only school, and who has to wear a school uniform in this colorful book.

Night Sky Atlas

Written by Robin Scagell

This beautiful book is aimed at middle school readers and up, but younger astronomy buffs will love it, too, with a little help. Star charts and actual photos combine with short paragraphs of detailed information to pique or feed anyone’s curiosity. Look for month-by-month sky guides for the northern and southern hemispheres as well as clear pages of constellation diagrams that overlay photos of the night sky to show you what to look for. In addition, there are pages of information on the major players in our galaxy, from the sun and the moon to the planets, asteroids, and comets. There’s even a CD-ROM included, which has interactive tutorials to help you decipher the sky and begin to understand the technology humans have developed to explore the worlds outside our planet.

Rockets and Spaceships

Written by Karen Wallace

For little space buffs, here’s an introduction to spaceships and the things they carry. After a quick show-and-tell to differentiate between rockets and spaceships, Wallace addresses what spaceships carry. That brings us to astronauts and the things they do, including walking in space, walking on the moon, and gathering material for experiments. Next, young readers will be introduced to the space shuttle and the satellites it carried into space, including the Hubble telescope. Finally, there are the unmanned space probes, which are helping us get information about places humans can’t travel to yet. Well-packaged and appealing, this is a nice first book for the very young.

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