Friday, May 28, 2010

Five Kids’ Books with Quirky Facts that Jen Loves

Great Estimations by Bruce Goldstone
(Hardcover: Henry Holt, $17.99; Paperback: Square Fish, $6.99)
Illustrations provide examples of ten of something, one hundred of something, one thousand of something. This gives the reader a real-life reference for estimating the size of a crowd or the number of flowers in a flowerbed or jellybeans in a jar.

Life-Size Zoo, edited by Teruyuki Komiya
(Seven Footer Press, $17.95)
How often do you find a life-sized elephant in a book? (Well, part of an elephant.) An up-close and personal view of some common and uncommon mammals, including sloths, meerkats, hedgehogs, aardvarks, zebras, and capybaras.
(Newly published May 1: More Life-Size Zoo!)

How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (Houghton, $16.00)
Beautiful illustrations and detailed descriptions of symbiotic relationships between numerous pairs of animals. Strong emphasis on the importance of holding still while being cleaned.

A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston (Chronicle Books, $16.99)
Larger-than life illustrations describe all kinds of seeds in brilliant detail: dandelions to sunflowers, milkweed pods to hamburger beans! And the book is laced with little facts about growth patterns, storage, methods of travel, and lengths of germination time.

A Really Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
(Random House, $19.00)
Did you know chlorofluorocarbons were invented by the same person who added lead to gasoline? That Marie Curie’s notebooks are still dangerously radioactive? An entertaining and excellently accessible history of science.

May 2010, Jennifer Sheffield

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