Title: My Favorite Animal: Frogs
Author: Victoria Marcos
Source: Free ARC from Xist Publishing
Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Xist Publishing via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
Every time I review a kid’s book, I do so with my children in mind. In fact, the books I select tend to be based on what I think they might be interested in. And my kids are crazy about animals! What 8-year-old isn’t? And frogs? I think we can all agree that frogs are awesome. AWESOME. And I’m all about young kids getting their learn on through wonderful nature books. So, this book seemed a natural fit.
I’d like to start by saying that I only had access to the digital version of this book, and there is a very strong chance that it is more aesthetically pleasing in print. The pictures are great. Pretty standard fare of different species of frog, in various stages of development. The images are big, bright, and colorful. There is a glossary at the back that covers some basic froggish terms. And I appreciate that at the end of every topic, there is a section that asks what they remember about what they just read. And the facts that are presented are interesting, thorough without being overwhelming, and appear accurate.
This is not an early reader, but it’s exactly the type of book I would have read to my kids when they were four or so. The pictures are age appropriate, and if they are naturally curious, they will ask questions about what the bigger words mean, provoking discussion. My kids have been getting National Geographic Little Kids magazine since they were three, and I’d say this book is even simpler than that. Now at eight, my kids would breeze through this book!
Overall, a perfectly acceptable kids book about frogs. If it’s the first children’s book you or your child have ever read about frogs, you’ll love it! As someone who has bookshelves brimming with similar books, it’s pretty much par for the course.
Title: STEAM Stories: Robot Repairs (Technology)
Author: Jonathan Litton
Source: Free ARC from QEB Publishing
Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from QEB Publishing via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
While working to clean up Miss Eureka’s workshop, Max and Suzy have an accident that cause Robbie the Robot to fall into pieces. Together, they problem solve his reconstruction, eventually getting some additional help from Miss Eureka. In the end, Robbie is successfully put back together and both children have learned more about tools and robot construction and succeeded at calmly solving several problems.
STEAM Stories is a series of children’s books designed to engage their minds in five subjects: science, technology, engineering, art and math. Each story focuses one subject specifically, in this case, on technology. Aside from loving the overall concept of the series (STEM and art! STEM and art!), the approach used in the book is pretty spectacular. Here are some of the features I love most:
- The children react calmlywhen they break the robot, and immediately focus on fixing the problem. Together.
- The adult in the story commendsthem for rebuilding Robbie the Robot with no mention of how it came to need rebuilding.
- The simple story clearly lays out their thought process in problem solving.
- The tools are labeled, and their uses explained clearly.
- At the end of the book, they go over three of the topics that were covered in the story, asking questions related to the story, and referring the reader back to the pages where the answers can be found. This prompts a deeper dive into the subject matter, facilitates better retention, and encourages the children to think about how it relates to their own experiences.
- On the last page are concrete answers to some of the questions asked in the previous section and links to websites where children can explore further.
Good stuff! My kiddos are eager learners who love their STEM class at school. This book is a wonderful way to feed a child’s natural curiosity, build their critical thinking skills, and present technology learning in a fun and engaging manner. I’m eager to see the rest of this series!