Cindy: Did your mother warn you that you could harm your eyes by reading in the dark? Or that if you crossed your eyes they would stay that way? Lynn found this great informational book series from Lerner called Is That a Fact? that challenges these and other burning burning questions. We read Does an Apple a Day Keep the Doctor Away: and Other Questions About Your Health and Body (Lerner, 2010) by Sandy Donovan and it is perfect for young curious readers. You can read Ian Chipman’s review of Does It Really Take Seven Years to Digest Gum? for a review of another title in this series. As he points out, think Mythbusters for the younger set without the explosives. Each question is presented and embellished and then is pronounced “fact” or “fiction” with an explanation of the science behind the answer. The photographs and design are appealing and the topics are ones that will be familiar, but still may challenge what you think you know. For those avid readers like me, you’ll be relieved to know that reading in the dark doesn’t cause any permanent damage or deterioration to your eyesight, but it will strain your eyes and make them seem tired until you rest them. Whew!
Lynn: I’m been complaining for a while about the dearth of nonfiction for the really young readers. Like many youngsters, my grandsons love what they call books ABOUT things and while we can find lots of books that have terrific photographs and illustrations, the text is usually beyond their readiness. There just aren’t many nonfiction books or series in which the text is designed for the youngest readers. We’re excited about discovering Lerner’s Lightning Bolt imprint for kids K-2 who are beginning and emergent readers. Hurray!
The publishers sent us Blue Everywhere (Lerner, 2010) in the Colors Everywhere series and we happily gave it a test run. The cover is very inviting in a bright turquoise blue with color swatch strips and photographs of blue items on the front. Inside each page is a single large photograph showing a wide range of blue items easily identified by children from a blue sky to a large blue parrot to blue jeans. The text in one or two simple sentences is clear with words familiar to children or easy to decode with plenty of visual clues. Hues are explored and also the emotional meaning of blue. Simple color-mixing activities are suggested at the end of the book along with a glossary and suggestions for further reading about color. The librarian in me loves that the book includes an easy-to-use table of contents and an index. You can never start too young!
We first read this book last year when our focus group was in first grade. They were able to enjoy it independently – something that is becoming very important to them. The imprint includes topics that will be highly attractive to kids including Famous Places, Seasons, Weather, and Close-up Animals. Happily it also includes a topic teachers and parents will be eager for: Exploring Economics. A new addition coming in January 2011 is Exploring Physical Science and I will be eagerly looking for those books! There is tremendous power for a child in being able to read a book independently and it is very exciting to see more attractive nonfiction for this age group. I’m hoping that the local public library picks up many more of these. I do see that they are available in paperback for $7.95. Hmmm – gift ideas anyone?