This week we’re learning all about animals and why they do what they do!
Terrific Tongues! by Maria Gianferrari, illustrated by Jia Liu
Terrific Tongues! by Maria Gianferrari, illustrated by Jia Liu (Boyds Mill Press)
Did you know a red-bellied woodpecker spears insects with a its barbed tongue? Or that a giant anteater catches more than 30,000 ants and termites a day? You will after reading Terrific Tongues!
In a fun question-and-answer format, readers learn fascinating facts about the tongues of 12 different animals, including people! Playful art paired with descriptive analogies (e.g. a tongue like a party blower) makes this an enjoyable story time selection even for young readers. And older readers will relish learning more detailed information about these remarkably variably tongues. Each page explains the analogy clearly and concisely, while the final spread includes expanded descriptions of the tongue anatomies and functions.
If your children enjoy things like Ranger Rick, then they will love this book! The illustrations are delightful and the information is captivating. Overall, it would make an excellent addition to lessons in nature studies and biology. BONUS: If you go to the author’s website you can download a craft to make your own frog mask!
MOTH! Moths sip flower nectar with their long, tubelike tongues. When they’re not eating, moths roll up their tongues like garden hoses. The Darwin’s hawkmoth has a body only four inches long, yet its tongue is twelve inches—that’s three times as long as its body. If you had a tongue like a party blower, you might be a . . .
OKAPI! An okapi’s tongue is like a washcloth. Okapi tongues are so long that okapis can use them to wash their eyes and ears. If you had a tongue like a whip, you might be an . . .
STICK OUT YOUR TONGUE AND SAY “AAAAAH.” MORE ABOUT THESE TERRIFIC TONGUES! (further information about the tongues of: red-bellied woodpecker, Darwin’s hawkmoth, frog, snake, Pallas’s long-tongued bat, okapi, giant anteaters, gecko, chameleon, dog, and octopus)
Howl Like A Wolf! by Kathleen Yale, illustrated by Kaley McKean
Howl like a Wolf!: Learn to Think, Move, and Act Like 15 Amazing Animals by Kathleen Yale, illustrated by Kaley McKean (Storey Publishing)
Howl Like a Wolf! is an educational delight! Filled with facts, crafts, experiments and activities, it has everything you need to execute memorable, interactive, and entertaining lesson plans centered on 15 different animals.
Practice safely waddling with your precious egg balanced on penguin feet. Experiment with food color to see why an octopus uses ink for self defense. Learn about warning coloration and metamorphosis. Download printables to make fun animal masks. These are just a tiny sampling of all the educational fun this book packs!
Each chapter introduces basic information about an animal via first-person narration from the animal’s perspective — these portions are excellent for reading aloud and provide a great introduction to the follow-up facts and activities. The activities are well considered, written with clear instructions, and require items found easily in many homes or acquired at an economical price. And each portion requires only a small time investment, making it a flexible resource to fit the readership and situation.
Equally enjoyable when read in small portions or complete chapters, this book is a star performer for anyone teaching natural sciences!
KEEP COOL like an ELEPHANT Good day to you! I’m an African elephant. Can you tell that I’m the biggest, heaviest land animal in the world? I mean, just look at me! I’m bigger than your family car! I couldn’t say for sure, but I think we elephants probably have the coolest noses of any animal. My flexible, boneless trunk is made of pure muscle and is about five feet long. I use it to smell things, of course, but I can also use it to help me drink water or as a long hand when I’m looking for food. Can you lift heavy objects, puck a blade of grass, or give a friend a hug with your nose? I can! I use my trunk to keep cool on hot days by spraying water, then dust, over my body to make a nice cool coat of mud to protect me from the sun. I can also use my amazing ears like giant fans to help me manage the heat — they’re about four feet across!
Now you be a beaver! Your beaver mission is to use your amazing engineering skills to build the perfect dam and make a new pond habitat for you and your family. BUID A DAM If you’re outside, see if you can find a little brook or stream. Pick a spot to build your dam, and then gather rocks and sticks to use as building materials. Start on one edge of the stream and work your way across, laying down a sturdy layer of larger rocks and sticks. Leave a little channel open at the end so the water can keep moving downstream for now. Add more layers to your dam as needed. When your dam is higher than the flowing water, it’s time to block that last little side channel. Did your dam hold? Is the water rising and creating a little pool? Fill in any leaks with small rocks, mud, or moss. MAKE YOUR OWN RIVER If you’re at the beach, you can carve your own river in the wet sand. Or if you’re in your backyard, you can make a mini-waterway by digging a trench and turning on the hose a little bit at one end. Then just build your dam like you would in a real stream. CHOMP LIKE A BEAVER If all that work made you hungry, use your front teeth to gnaw through some carrot sticks, radishes, or pretzel rods, pretending they’re tree trunks! Beaver teeth never stop growing! Luckily, all that gnawing wears their teeth down as they grow, so they never get too long. Chomp, chomp, chomp…
I live in a big hive with thousands of my family members. We have one queen who rules the hive and lays all the eggs. We all have a few brothers, called drones. My sisters and I do almost everything. Workers are all about teamwork. Dancing for Dinner When we find a patch of juicy flowers, we go home and tell our sisters where to find it. How do we tell them? By doing the waggle dance of course! With this special dance, we can tell each other how far to go in what direction to find the flowers. If the patch has lots and lots of nectar, the dancer shows excitement by waggling really fast! HONEY TO SHARE We turn raw nectar into delicious honey and store it in honeycomb chambers so we can eat it all winter long while we stay warm and cozy inside our hive. Now you be a bee! Your honeybee mission is to pollinate flowers and show your friends where to find the sweetest nectar. DO THE WAGGLE DANCE Have a friend close her eyes for a minute. Look around for a flower in your yard, or hide a little snack if you are inside. Now pretend you’re a bee, and you’ve got to tell the other bees in your hive where to find the nectar. Do a waggle dance for your friend, pointing in the direction of the food. Dance longer if it is far away, and shake your bum faster if it’s a really good treat! Did your fellow bee find the food?
What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins, illustrated by Robin Page (HMH for Young Readers)
What do you do with two eyes that each have two pupils and irises? Or with ears on your legs? Or feet that use an electrical charge to cling onto surfaces?
What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? pairs close-up illustrations of 5 different animals body parts (e.g. tails, noses, feet) with a question that prompts the reader to consider how they are used. A page turn reveals a full illustration of the animals and an interesting fact related to the preceding question. With bold art and concise facts, this book is a great story time selection. Closing with more detailed information about the 30 featured animals, this book also has appeal for older readers. Overall, it is a great introduction to the variety of life on earth and would pair well with introductory lessons on biodiversity, adaptive evolution and functional anatomy.
If you’re a giraffe, you brush off pesky flies with your tail. If you’re a skunk, you lift your tail to warn that a stinky spray is on the way. If you’re a lizard, you break off your tail to get away. If you’re a scorpion, your tail can give a nasty sting. If you’re a monkey, you hang from a tree by your tail.
What do you do with a nose like this?
If you’re a platypus, you use your nose to dig in the mud. If you’re a hyena, you find your next meal with your nose. If you’re an elephant, you use your nose to give yourself a bath. If you’re a mole, you use your nose to find your way underground. If you’re an alligator, you breath through your nose while hiding in the water.