Posts tagged ‘planets’

SWINGING WITH THE PLANETS

Sing the Planets: I’ll Remember That (Volume 1)

Written and Illustrated by Bonnie Ferrante

SingthePlanets,pc

A different and innovative approach to introduce the planets of our solar system to children. Wish I had this book when I was teaching the solar system to third grade students. This author combines beautiful photos of the planets with multicultural drawings of children. Instead of simply presenting information, readers are provided with a story about the mythological background behind the name of each planet. The author distinguishes between the inner and outer planets and explains the features which make them different. Each planet is assigned different notes and a musical song that can be sung to the tune of “Alouette.” Drawings indicate a unique movement associated with each planet like hugging yourself, flapping arms like wings or spinning around. Children can feel themselves moving in space as the planets do. The information is up to date; Pluto is no longer classified a planet. Some children remember better with a word rhyme so Ms. Ferrante suggests the sentence, My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Noodles as a mnemonic to remember the planetary names. At the end of the book, a glossary redefines and elaborates on all scientific terminology mentioned in the text.

Such a wealth of knowledge packed into 35 pages. Younger children will enjoy looking at the photos and performing the gestures. Older students will expand their knowledge base of the solar system.

A child will be able to use this book over and over again for a number of years. Recommended for children ages five and up. Also a great family or classroom group activity!

If you enjoyed reading this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS FEED button in the upper right hand corner of this page.

ABSURD ADVENTURE

Jellybean the Dragon

Written by Elias Zapple

Illustrated by Jade Young and Ilaeira Misirlou

NewJellybeanthedragon, pic

In this eBook short story we meet Emma, a ten year old orphan who lives in a castle plunked down in a forest of make believe fruit trees. Her parents died when they ate too many carrots in an eating contest, which left her sole ruler of the land of trees and pet crocodiles. Emma is no ordinary little girl, she has already completed training as an astronaut and has her own spaceship.

One day a red and green flying dragon crashes down and burns a mango tree in the process. The townspeople are angry that he has destroyed this tree so Emma rescues the dragon by squeezing him into her rocket and flying him home to his planet named Hoppity, next to Dino, far into space beyond the planet Neptune. The reader is introduced to facts about the planets as each of them is passed along on the journey to Hoppity. Her dragon friend gives her the gift of a magical plant that will grow all kinds of treasure.

Once they arrive on the ground, Emma also finds a cool reception. The dragon townspeople led by Nixon sentence her to fifty years in prison. Jelly puts her in his mouth and rescues her once more and flies her on his back to another planet named Earth. Here Emma befriends Miss Tickler, the talking cat. Jelly’s twin Cyril is as Jelly puts it, “his stupid brother.” Soon, strange vibrations occur. The dragons know there will be an earthquake soon. Emma and her friends escape in the nick of time.

She is transported to Zanu where she meets the dragon king named King Buttercup. Here Emma is finally welcomed. The king desires to make her a princess and showers her with gifts. Emma wants no part of this; she tells him that she wants to be, Emma the Guitarist. The king will agree only if Emma participates in a competition with their best guitarist, Fillmore. Fillmore is known there as, “Les Paul of Dragons.” Emma spends lots of time practicing her riffs only to discover from Jelly that this competition has a catch. The loser must have his arms chopped off and stay away from the planet Zanu forever. What a dilemma! If Emma loses where will she find a home and how will she survive?

You will have to read the story to see who wins the competition and what happens to Emma, Fillmore and the rest of her dragon friends. As you may have guessed, there are lots of incongruities in the story and the humor is the type that appeals to the middle grade reader. For example, the author talks about, “other works by This Dude,” and mentions in the preview of soon to be released books, “coming soon to a bathroom near you.” I like the glossary which includes more difficult vocabulary words like malfunctioned, imprisoned, scythe, and made up terms like orangeness. Children are also introduced to some information about the planets and space travel. This eBook is available on Amazon and Smashwords.

Please note that at the request of the author, I have updated the cover and illustrator information that have changed since I originally read and reviewed this post several months ago.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS feed button in the upper right hand corner of this page.

 

MIDNIGHT EXPRESS

The Flying Train

Written and illustrated by Janaki Sooriyarachchi

TheFlyingTrainpicThis book is a charming tale that will appeal to young children as a bedtime read aloud. Children six and up will enjoy reading it for the adventure and learning element. It is a fantasy trip every young boy and girl would love to have the opportunity to experience. While the illustrations are stylized, they are bold, large, and extremely colorful making them appealing to a very young child. Even though the train is moving fast and the ride is a wild one, this does not come across as a scary story. It is interesting to note that the children are worried about what their mom would say about not having coats to keep them warm at night and catching a cold when out in a rainstorm. Dolly warns Timmy, “Don’t look directly into the sun or you will hurt your eyes.” So the author displays a parent’s perspective as well as the child’s viewpoint.

At the beginning of the story Timmy and his sister Nelly are in bed sleeping with their teddy bear and doll beside them. On the floor lying next to them the family dog and cat are sound asleep. Suddenly, they are awakened by the barking of the dog and the sound of a train. The flying train arrives at the window urging them to come aboard. Their trip involves some fantasy elements like fairies flying through the sky and little grey men that look like robots waving to them from Mars.  On the other hand, the author manages to introduce a lot of knowledge about weather, the sun and the planets. The siblings learn that it is very cold in the sky, that the moon reflects the light of the sun, the sun gives us light and keeps the planet warm, and that there are many other stars in the sky that are really stars like “our” sun. Their flying train is out of control and crashes into a rain cloud. The children are frightened by the thunder and wind. They see all the planets revolving around the sun. As the out of control train nears the sun, Timmy and Nelly can feel scorching heat from the ball of fire. How will they be able to escape? Will they find a way to return to earth or are they doomed to be lost in space forever?

This book is available as a pdf on freekidsbooks.org or may be purchased online from amazon.com.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please subscribe to my biweekly blog by clicking on the follow botton at the bottom right of the screen or the orange RSS feed button on the top right.

%d bloggers like this: