Posts tagged ‘earth’

METEOR MICK

Arnold and Louis. Reach for the Stars

Written by Harvey Storm

 

This is my second time reading a book in this series for children ages three through five. Mick the Meteor has been falling through space for a long time. He falls asleep but wakes up just before hitting the Earth. Arnold, the Moose, and Louis, the Goose, are relaxing in their home in the forest at the edge of the swamp when they hear a crash and see smoke. Mick has landed in the swamp. When Arnold and Louis arrive at the swamp they find smoke coming from a small stone covered with precious stones lying in the mud.

Arnold and Louis are surprised when the stone begins to talk. Mick informs them that he really wants to go home. Arnold and Louis attempt to construct a catapult to launch Mick into space. They try unsuccessfully one hundred different ways. Miss Gorilla tells them that they need a rocket to reach outer space. They work together as a team until a successful rocket launch is achieved.

Appealing illustrations and vivid colors along with nice graphics make this series a good choice for preschoolers. Fun characters and moral lessons motivate the young reader.

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PRINCESS POWER

The Mystic Princesses and the Whirlpool, 2nd Edition

Written by P.J. La Rue

Illustrated by Aristides Rodriguez

MysticPrincesses,pic

Harmonie and Eros are teenage sister and brother living in New York City. One day a group of teenagers on a subway platform attempt to kidnap Harmonie. Mysteriously, they bear the same tattoo as her brother on their arm. Eros reveals a family secret. They are children of Ares, the god of war, whose children are tattooed at one year old. Most of the children of Ares strive to make life difficult for others, but he is the god of love and Harmonie is the goddess of peace. Their mother, the goddess Aphrodite, whisked Harmonie away before the age of one and gave her to Eros for protection. Eros is determined to safeguard her and tells her they must now live apart to avoid detection.

Eros has arranged for his sister to live in Hawaii. She will live and go to school with four princesses.  Each have special powers derived from one of the four elements, earth, air, water and fire. This new group of five decide to call themselves the Mystic Princesses. Alongside the traditional school subjects, they are taught self-defense by Sandi Swordfish. In the afternoon the girls practice their individual powers, always on the watch for their enemies, children of Ares.

Sure enough, Ares was getting impatient; his children find their way to Hawaii. They cause much damage around Coral’s reef castle. Her parents King Neptune and Queen Pearl decide that all the princesses must move for their own safety. Their next adventure will take them to New Orleans where they will live with Princess Catie and her parents. What new adventures await them?

This early chapter book is perfect for children ages six through ten. It does not portray wimpy princesses, but strong, respectful and independent female role models involved in many adventures in which they learn to overcome their weaknesses, act against bullying, and cooperate with friends and family to promote human welfare and peace. Short chapters interspersed with illustrations will maintain interest if the book is read aloud for younger children. Introduce your little princess to this one.

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EARTH, OUR PLANET

Planet Earth! A Kids Book About Planet Earth-Fun Facts & Pictures About Our Oceans, Mountains, Rivers,Deserts, Endangered Species & More

Written by Alexander G. Michaels

PlanetEarth,pic

The title of this post is much shorter than the name of the book, but in fact the author provides a concise guide to all those things in an e book of less than fifty pages. Targeted for children in the early elementary grades and written in fairly simple language, this guide sets forth basic information combined with beautiful photographs. It can be a asset to the science section of the classroom as well as serve as a quick reference book or starting point for more research. The author might consider releasing a paper edition for libraries and print book lovers.

Michaels begins with the planet’s history, characteristics, composition, and place in solar system. He next outlines the geographic regions of land and water and gives details about well known examples. The section on fun facts is sure to be a favorite among children; it provides a vast compendium of information in sentence form. For example, each winter approximately one septillion snow crystals drop from the sky or that 75% of the earth’s animals could be extinct within the next three hundred years. Michaels concludes with some ideas on how we can preserve the planet for our descendants.

I have to admit that I learned quite a few things from this book. While I knew that most of the Earth’s surface is water, I was not aware that only 3% of the water on earth is fresh water. Did you know that the largest desert in the world is in Antarctica? Where can you find most of the Earth’s gold? How are mountains, volcanoes and rivers formed? There are lots of surprises for adults as well as the children who pick up this book.

Take a look at this beautiful guide to our planet and share it with your children. Michaels has written a whole series of books, including one on the solar system, endangered species, and dinosaurs. I plan on taking a look at those as well.

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OUT OF THIS WORLD

The Alien Mind

Written by Virginia Lori Jennings

TheAlienMind,pic

This is a sci-fi story that is family friendly. While the target audience is nine through twelve, the plot and characters are developed enough to be enjoyed by young adult and adult fans of science fiction. There is a nice mix of science, moral lessons, adventure and time travel. I read the black and white paperback version of this book that is also available in a Kindle version with color photographs. No doubt that would make the book even more appealing for middle grade readers.

An alien group known as the Aruk attacked a secret government agency on Earth. They captured and tortured one hundred fifty children. Later on these children were rescued by another race of aliens known as the Aunanet, who taught them the best knowledge of both civilizations. The Aunanet assisted the most gifted to become computer mind experts or healers. These people could travel through time dimensions and had the power to use parts of the brain that humans could only dream about. The Aruk had never given up in their attempt to find these children, and the beginning of the story finds the Aunanet civilization and the children they protected under attack.

Rivi, our protagonist, is the oldest of these children at age fourteen. After the attack she finds her way back to Earth. There she meets an orphan boy named Daniel, who becomes her protege. Her saga will include lessons on how to deal with bullying and teaching lessons of compassion in the process. She will meet the President of the United States, endure further torture by the aliens, and be forced to make life and death decisions in one crisis after another. All the while she is tormented by nightmares from her past, the desire to uncover her Earthly parents, and a fierce loyalty to her adopted parents and alien culture.

Will Riva succeed in ridding herself of her difficult childhood memories, and how will she adjust to whatever world she chooses to live in? This book is highly recommended for lovers of sci-fi, adventure and those who love plots filled with moral dilemmas. Recommended for tweens, teens and adults who like to think what if?

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BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

Mason and Bess: The Adventure Continues Book 2

Written by Diane Major

MasonandBess2, pic

This short fantasy story that is appropriate for tweens, teens and adults involves a boy named Mason who lives with his best friend, Bess, and his mother, Queen Anna, in a land called Sanctea. They once lived in a small town on the planet earth;  but Anna, who has the ability to pass from one dimension to another, decided to leave the earth.

The Queen awakens from a dream in which she sees their former neighbor’s daughter named Katie sucked into a vortex. Hoping that the child has been transported to her own homeland, the Queen sends her special messengers, the Elgae, to search for her. Unfortunately, she is not found. Anna suspects Katie is the victim of foul play. Anna cannot leave her world without weakening her powers so she sends her son and Bess to find Katie and return her safely to earth. Mason will take the magic wand his father left them. Bess is given a special black medallion that will transport them between worlds.

Anna casts a spell to transport the children back to their old home on earth, but Bess finds, to her chagrin, that she is no longer a young girl but a black and white cocker spaniel! The two children locate the pool where Katie went swimming, and when they sneak in at night find themselves sucked into that very same vortex. They arrive in a magical land called Nomreg where there are feathered green trees, lollipop flowers, floating TV screens in the sky, and beautiful rainbows. Appearances are deceiving; the children find themselves in a war between the Fairies and the Bugzies. They will each face many dangers and adventures in their quest to find Katie. Will the power of the magic wand be enough to ward off their enemies? Are they successful in locating and returning Katie to earth and ultimately traveling back to their own world of Sanctea?

There are lots of twists and turns in the plot and some surprises along the way. Even though the story is short, the main characters are believable and well developed. I am looking forward to meeting them again in further adventures.

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SLIPPING AND SLIDING AWAY

Leaf and the Long Ice: Volume 3 of Twig Stories

Written by Jo Marshall

Illustrated by D.W. Murray

LeafandlongicepicThis book is volume three of the twig stories. Jo Marshall writes them to develop an understanding of the natural world. She successfully combines adventure storytelling with accurate science in an attempt to encourage an appreciation for the earth and preservation of our environment.. Her target audience is fourth grade through the elementary school years though adults will enjoy them just as much.

The twigs live in a forest at the base of an old volcano which is topped by a glacier. At the beginning of the story we meet Leaf who has been placed in charge of his younger twig brothers while his parents and older sister Fern are away.  The twins named Buddy and Burka plead for a story. Leaf tells them about one of their father’s adventures which inspires them to sneak away so that they can play in the snow. When Leaf  falls asleep, they make their break and the adventure begins.

Along the way the twins encounter many forest creatures, beaver, rabbits, goats, foxes, pike, insects, eagles and caribou among them. Some are friendly and supportive; others are natural predators. The moth provides a ride, while the eagle looks at them as a tasty meal. Leaf ventures after his brothers so the author is really describing two separate fantasy adventures. The twins  slip and slide, hide in caves, and  are attacked by natural enemies, while Leaf frets about them and experiences his own adventures. The author shows the harmony of nature and how the creatures of earth need to support and aid each other for mutual benefit.

At the end of the book, Marshall gives cameos of the types of wildlife that she features as her characters and sketches what their needs are and how they are endangered today. Murray, who has worked with Disney and Universal Studios as an illustrator and screenwriter, supplies beautiful hand drawn illustrations. Marshall donates a portion of sales to wildlife causes and provides additional learning materials on her website www.twigstories.com.

This series furnishes reading entertainment for children and adults as well as accurate scientific environmental information that teachers and parents will find valuable. Read this volume to get started.

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WEIRD AND WONDERFUL

Weird Animals: It Came From Planet Earth! Strange, Weird and Unusual Animals

By: Maya Lee Shye

 Weird Animals

This book is a fascinating study of the habitat and behavior of strange animals living on land, in the sea and up in the air on planet earth. Also unusual is its appeal to all ages from younger children through adults. The author describes more than thirty animals and provides a photograph of each. Some of these have been on earth for millions of years. That’s right, the Coelacanth is the oldest jawed fish still alive on our planet. This fish with eight hollow spine fins covered by tough scales acting like a coat of armor can grow up the six feet long and existed on earth 410 million years ago! The Tuatara is the last reptile that lived on earth as a contemporary of the dinosaurs 225 million years ago. They still exist on remote islands in the Pacific Ocean and some wildlife sanctuaries. The Tarsiers are primates with huge eyes that leap from tree to tree. They are carnivores who are probably the ancestors of two legged primates. The slow loris is a primitive monkey with a very large round head and eyes. Their arms and legs are of equal size. This southeastern Asia native also bites with a poisonous venom lethal to many humans.

Many animals have evolved with adaptations needed for their environment. There is an African Penguin native to the warm coast of Africa. These animals burrow in the ground to keep cool. Glands above the eyes high on their heads help them cool their bodies. The North Island Brown Kiwi is a bird that does not fly because its wings are tiny. The animal is the size of a chicken. Like a dog the kiwi bird uses its nose to find food. These animals live in underground burrows. The male sits on eggs in the nest, while the female goes out to hunt for food. Their eggs are the largest known bird eggs. New Zealand has adopted this bird as their national symbol. Giant Tortoises living in the Galapagos Islands can weigh up to 600 pounds so their bodies have been adapted to move slowly and burn few calories. In fact, they can go as long as one year without eating or drinking anything!

There are many animals with adaptations that make them look strange. The Glass Frog  lives in Venezuela and central America. Its body is translucent so that it is totally invisible to predators. The Shoebill is a bird that lives in the swamps of east Africa. It is related to the stork, but its bill looks like a giant shoe. This cartoon like character spends most of its time standing silently along the water, but can fly at low altitude. When it does fly, it usually flies in a group that chatters. Archaeologists have found drawings of this bird in ancient Egyptian art. The Okapi is a forest giraffe that has black and white legs like a zebra. Its tongue is so long that it can wash its ears! One animal may someday help us find a cure for cancer. The Naked Mole Rat lives in tunnels on the desert coast of East Africa. This animal uses little oxygen and has no hair. It does not feel pain and appears to be resistant to cancer. Its life span is longer than any other mammal of comparable size. Another oddity is that these animals are eusocial like bees. One female is designated queen; all the other rats will work to sustain the colony.

More than thirty animals are discussed in this book. The work may serve as a springboard for analysis, discussion, comparison and evaluation of topics in  life science, geography, evolution and environment. I recommend it as a valuable learning reference tool for adults and children of all ages.

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