This book has been a very enjoyable and informative read for us. Our four-year-old has asked to read it many times now, after we read it for pre-K.
This book is actually three "books" combined. The first section is the Almanac, which introduces children to the concept of a "year," and all the different changes that take place over the course of it, from major holidays such as New Year's, Independence Day, and Thanksgiving, to seasons and the way the weather changes in each one, and explanations of major weather events like thunderstorms, wind, and snow.
The second section is the Nature Guide. This gives an overview of all the different kinds of life on our planet, as well as non-living things like rocks and other geographical features. From fish to mammals to plants and insects, the bears (with Papa as tour guide) experience a little bit of just about everything!
The last section is the Science Fair, which I found to be a bit more detailed than the others, but still just as fun. We learn about simple machines, matter (including the three states of solid, liquid, and gas), and energy. Included are a few easy science experiments that children and adults can do at home to help demonstrate some of these ideas.
Even though it's instructive, the book manages to rhyme throughout most of it, which adds to the fun of reading.
This is a fun and informative series of books that introduces some basic science concepts to children. They are geared toward a range from preschool to third grade, though they can be enjoyed by any age.
Our favorite of the ones we've read is How Do You Lift a Lion? which introduces simple machines such as the lever, wheel, and pulley. The illustrations are clear and clever, and show how a lion could be lifted if you had enough leverage. We are also shown how to pull a panda on a pallet, and how it could be possible to deliver a big basket of bananas to a baboon birthday party using pulleys.
Is a Blue Whale The Biggest Thing There Is? is another entry in the series. This shows us progressively bigger things from whales to earth to stars, until we get to the size (or what is known of it) of the whole universe! You definitely feel small after reading this book, and the illlustrations are very amusing at times (such as a crate of "sun-sized oranges" to demonstrate how our sun compares in size to a red supergiant).
What's Smaller Than a Pygmy Shrew? covers the same idea, but getting progressively smaller, from a shrew to a ladybug to protozoa and protons. This one may be harder to wrap one's mind around, but it's a great way to introduce children to the idea that there is a whole kingdom of living organisms that are too small for their eyes to see.
We also enjoy What's Faster Than a Speeding Cheetah? which shows us that there are things that are much faster than a cheetah, such as peregrine falcons, rockets, and meteoroids!
These are the only titles we've read, but there are several others that sound just as interesting, such as Why Do Elephants Need the Sun? and Can You Count to a Googol?
"How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World" was written by Faith McNulty, and illustrated by Marc Simont in 1979. This book is the perfect mix of silliness and scientific instruction for children. This book is recommended for ages 4 to 8, and our 3.5 year old loves it.
I remember, as a child, wondering if it was possible to dig a hole "to China" (never mind that I'm not geographically opposite China - that was always "the other side of the world" to us). I think every child wonders this at some point. This book explores the challenges we would face in digging such a hole, and describes the things we would discover along the way.
Along the way, our son learned about different kinds of rocks, and about volcanoes and geysers. The latter two fascinated him, and gave rise to all sorts of questions.
As you progress in your journey, you have to go from digging with a shovel to digging with a jackhammer, to wearing an asbestos suit (this book was written before asbestos-based fire-proximity suits were phased out in favor of other materials), to riding in a submarine with a super-cooling system, a fireproof skin, and a drilling mechanism.
The book does a great job of introducing young children to the size and structure of our planet, and provides launching points for discussion of further topics.
Educators can get a free membership simply by sharing an original lesson plan on our Articles for Educators page!