Tuesday, February 22, 2011

rachel's favorites

if you check out my subtitle at the top you may notice something new. i've been thinking about adding a new element to my humble little blog. i'm going to start sharing our favorite books with you and just why they're our favorites. a lot of them will be children's books, but i'm planning on sharing some of the grown-up variety, as well.

tonight, rachel and i stared at her huge stack of school books and i asked her to show me which ones were her favorites. i expected her to pick out 3 or 4. turns out she loves most of the books we've been reading, so i'll share them here in increments.

the following are 3 of our science books we've enjoyed together:

mr. robert e. wells has a number of children's books out and all the ones i've seen are science related. and they are GOOD! and when i say good, i mean funny, too. these science books actually have made me laugh out loud.

How Do You Lift A Lion highlights three simple machines: levers, wheels, and pulleys. now i'm no science person and just typing out those words made me a little bored. but when the lever has to do with lifting 10 lions, the wheels have to do with pulling a panda bear on a pallet, and the pulley has to do with lifting a basket of bananas to a baboon's birthday party it makes things a little easier to swallow. hey, it's even fun. the book's illustrations do a great job of helping these concepts make sense to little ones (and big ones) and it's full of new vocabulary for their little minds to absorb. great for school time, bed time, and fun time.

and here i am giving mr. wells another shout out. this is my favorite of his books that we have. he has a few books that explore the concept of size, and this one focuses on bigness. the starting point is a blue whale. next up, mt. everest. next, the earth... up and up through different bodies in space. again, the illustrations in this book do an excellent job of portraying and comparing the size of these enormous creations in a way that anyone can actually grasp (even though your head might start spinning with the wonder that is our universe). rachel wanted me to read this one every day for several weeks. i call that a hit.

this 64 page  rhyming wonder is three books in one: The Berenstain Bears' Almanac, The Berenstain Bears' Nature Guide, and The Berenstain Bears' Science Fair.

The Almanac goes through each month and season of the year, highlighting weather, holidays, and fun things each season brings. rachel's at the age when she is starting to get excited about the change of each season. sweaters and fleece blankets are fun in winter. bare feet and popsicles are fun in summer. each season has its own unique charms (whether you happen to enjoy them or not) and this book helps you and your child embrace them.

The Nature Guide teaches animals and plants: what makes a mammal a mammal? a reptile a reptile? what's an omnivore? it highlights 29 different kinds of birds and all the various landscapes our beautiful world contains... all in rhyme. (this book is also one of lucas's favorites and i know it has a lot to do with the rhythmic nursery rhyme quality.) the con of the Nature Guide is one sentence that i want to highlight: "[Nature's] all that IS or WAS or EVER WILL BE!" i've read a lot of reviews on this book from angry christian moms asking how we could read such things to our children. and i'll admit, when we first got to that sentence my eyebrows went way up. but it lead to a good discussion with my daughter on how this sentence fits in with our family's worldview. we believe nature is a created thing by a Creator, certainly not all that ever will be. but other people believe this sentence to be true, we share a world with them, and we strive to love them. this sentence has given us many precious teachable moments and introduced my daughter to the fact that there are other ideas and worldviews out there that we can't ignore even if we would prefer to.

The Science Fair gives us some more simple machines: levers, wedges, and the wheel. what are the three kinds of matter? what are the three sources of energy? it also has some very simple science experiements that are easy to do with littles. we attempted the gas-fueled paper airplane and had a really great time with it as a family.

i give all three of these books a wade family thumbs up!

and if you prefer reviews on more big-people books, check out my hubby's blog. yes, we are book-loving family! :)

*i linked to sonlight's website instead of amazon because in most of the searches sonlight had the best price.

1 comment:

Katie said...

Thanks for the suggestions! Hope you guys are doing well!