Plant Life and Fungi

A Seed is Sleepy

Author(s): 
Diana Hutts Aston
Illustrator(s): 
Sylvia Long
Copyright: 
2007
Publisher: 
Chronicle Books
Binding: 
Sewn Hardcover
Number of pages: 
40 pages
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

Sometimes a book comes along that is truly outstanding! The acknowledgments page alone of this new book by Dianna Hutts is truly impressive! The text is captivating, telling stories that fascinate young and old readers about all sorts of seeds. I bet many an amateur botanist will have never heard about some of these! The illustrations--just gorgeous--complement this high quality picture book. Our children are learning Botany this semester at Homeschool Co-op and this volume is an excellent enrichment. We have the authors' other one as well--An Egg Is Quiet--also excellent!

Review Date: 
3-22-2007
Reviewed by: 

Biology for Every Kid

Author(s): 
Janice Van Cleave
Copyright: 
1990
Publisher: 
John Wiley and Sons
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
224 pages
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

In it's segment on "Experiments that Teach Us About Ourselves: The Amazing Human Body" this book provides 35 experiments about the body (the other segments of the book are about plant and animal life. While certainly not a comprehensive anatomy course, the book does provide interesting and simple experiments (which can easily performed at home with fairly ordinary materials) that would provide a helpful supplement to the study of anatomy.

Approximately one third of this book is devoted to "Experiments for the Beginning Biologist: The World of Plants". In the typical Van Cleave style, this segment provides 35 experiments relating to plant life that are simple and informative (and can easily be done in the home). Most experiments are designed to demonstrate certain properties of plant life (such as osmosis and diffusion, what causes plant stems to wilt, what makes plants burst when over-watered, and how water is transported through plant stems). Other experiments determine certain questions such as how plants take in nutrientsand whether it matters which direction seeds face when they are planted. Each experiments concludes with an explanation as to the "why" of the results. I find these simple but very helpful (even for moms!).

Another third or so of this book is devoted to "Experiments in the Animal Kingdom: Introductory Zoology". In the Van Cleave style, this segment provides sipmle experiments (easily performed at home) involving molds, fungi, mini-organisms, yeast, fireflies, butterflies and moths, spiderwebs, crickets, grasshoppers, flies, goldfish and earthworms. In addition to experiments involving observation and/or manipulation of these small creatures, you will find experiments which "illustrate" properties of creatures (such as a camouflage and suction) without actually working with animals.

Review Date: 
4-4-01
Reviewed by: 

Dead Log Alive!

Book cover: 'Dead Log Alive!'
Author(s): 
Jo S. Kittinger
Copyright: 
1996
Publisher: 
Franklin Watts/Grolier
Binding: 
Sewn Hardcover
Number of pages: 
64 pages
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

This book provides an interesting and detailed look at what comes to live in and around a dead log - woodpeckers, squirrels, mushrooms, fungi, moss, molds, porcupines, foxes, snakes, scorpions, millipedes, centipedes, pill bugs, salamanders, ants, termites, and beetles. Includes many interesting color photos and details about each species, how to tell them apart and much more. The book also includes an index, a glossary and suggestions for further reading.

Review Date: 
4-4-01
Reviewed by: 

Handbook of Nature Study

Book cover: 'Handbook of Nature Study'
Author(s): 
Anna Botsford Comstock
Copyright: 
1939
Publisher: 
Comstock Publishing Associates
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
887 pages
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

This is a very informative handbook on a large portion of nature, originally written for elementary school teachers. It covers wildlife, insects, farm animals, birds, fish, trees, flowers, weeds, vegetables, rocks, minerals, soil, climate, weather, magnets, the sun, moon, planets of our solar system and much more. According to the 1986 foreword, most of the living things described are common in the northeastern states of the U.S. but it covers a lot of material that would be helpful in other parts of the country as well. I've hardly begun to use this resource, but it looks like an excellent reference for all of those questions children want to know about the world around them. It can also be used as a teaching tool and studied more systematically as there are simple lessons designed to be used with children included with each subject. As the lessons are designed to work with real observation of the plants, they are particularly appropriate for a home school. The book is profusely illustrated with black and white photos. I would guess that there's an average of two photos per page. The language is a little archaic and some of the words would be a little difficult for younger children.

Additional notes: 

Copyrights 1911/1939

Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: 

How a Seed Grows

Book cover: 'How a Seed Grows'
Author(s): 
Helene J. Jordan
Copyright: 
1992
Publisher: 
Harper Collins
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
32 pages
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

A very simple, charming book that explains to young children what seeds are and takes them through the development of some bean seeds. The growth present each day is illustrated in the book and the child is invited to try grow the beans themselves and watch the progress in real life. The book also introduces children to different kinds of seeds (for trees, flowers, vegetables, etc.), and how each seed will grow into the same kind of plant that it came from, and the basic things necessary to make a plant grow.

Additional notes: 

Copyrights 1960/1992

Review Date: 
12-27-99
Reviewed by: 

How do Apples Grow?

Book cover: 'How do Apples Grow?'
Author(s): 
Betsy Maestro
Copyright: 
1992
Publisher: 
HarperTrophy
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
32 pages
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

The development of apples is presented, from leaf and flower buds in the winter, thru blossoms in the spring, pollination and the actual growth of the apple. In addition to beautiful scenic pictures of trees in blossom and bees pollinating the trees, there are more technical drawings which illustrate the parts of a flower, show flowers in the different stages of development and show the connections between the original blossom and the ripe apple. The text also introduces some important terminology that will be useful in later science studies (pollen, stamen, pistil, etc.). Overall, a very nice and useful book.

Review Date: 
4-4-01
Reviewed by: 

Why Do Leaves Change Color?

Book cover: 'Why Do Leaves Change Color?'
Author(s): 
Betsy Maestro
Copyright: 
1994
Publisher: 
Harper Collins
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
32 pages
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

Our family has really enjoyed this book which explains why leave fall off the trees before winter, where the different colors come from, how weather affects the brilliancy of the colors and lots more. It's written in a very simple manner, so that it's quite understandable even for preschoolers or kindergarteners, and yet it contains substantial information so that even moms (like me) realize that they don't know everything : ) You'll also find labeled pictures of the leaves from different kinds of trees, a cross section of a leaf, an explanation of how trees make food, and how to make leaf rubbings and preserve leaves by ironing them between sheets of waxed paper.

Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: