Nature Programs at Wonder Works, 2013


Recommended: Children’s books about beachcombing and life in the sea
July 11, 2012, 11:28 pm
Filed under: Beachcombers

The Nature Works theme for July 13-14, 2012, will be Beachcombers.  We will have lots of activities related to life at the edge of the sea, including things that wash up on beaches, like shells and shark teeth.  Go here to read more.

We will also have a table with books that fit this week’s theme, including Shira Belenke’s recommendations for children’s books about this topic.  Shira is the former Director of Education at Wonder Works and is currently studying to be a librarian.  She is helping out with Nature Works this summer by making lists of recommended books about the topic of the week.

Each review, below, includes a link to that book’s entry in SWAN, a computer network that many Chicago-area libraries use to share books (including Oak Park Public Library).  If your local library is one of the 80 members of SWAN, you can follow the links below and put a hold on any of Shira’s recommended books.  Go here for more information about SWAN.

Arnosky, J. (2004). Beachcombing: exploring the seashore. New York, NY: Dutton Children’s Books.  Follow this link to SWAN.

Beachcombing is a great guidebook for young beachcombers, whether they are getting ready for their first trip to the beach or their 100th

A day at the beach can be just as educational as fun. In Jim Arnosky’s book Beachcombing, readers will learn how to combine the two for a unique beach experience.  Starting with the basics, how to dress to protect yourself and what to bring, Arnosky goes into detail describing all the amazing animals and objects one may find on a beach; although detailed, the text is always easy to follow.  The illustrations fluctuate between being true to life and a little washed out, creating an informative visual guide.  Beachcombing is a great guidebook for any young beachcomber, whether she is getting ready for her first time or her 100th.  Ages 3 – 7.

Carle, E. (1987). A  house for hermit crab. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.  Follow this link to SWAN.

This is a great read-along that fits into a variety of different themes.

Eric Carle has created another classic in A house for hermit crab.  In addition to a sweet story about a hermit crab finding and decorating a new home, Carle includes information about hermit crabs and the other animals the hermit crab encounters, creating a nice balance of imagination and education.  Carle’s illustrations are pleasing to the eye and, combined with the story, make for good inspiration for sprucing up one’s own home.  This is a great read-along that fits into a variety of different themes. Ages 2 and up.

Cole, H. (2003). On the way to the beach. New York, NY: Greenwillow Books.  Follow this link to SWAN.

This book follows a child’s journey from home through several different terrains to the beach. 

Henry Cole’s book On the way to the beach follows a child’s journey from home through several different terrains to the beach.  Along the way, the child, who we never actually see, making this a very inclusive story, takes a moment to stop and observe her surroundings.  With fun fold out pages for each of the different environments, Cole’s true to life illustrations make finding the sights mentioned in the list a fun activity for the reader.  At the end of the book is a key matching up the illustrations to the lists’ sights.  This is a great book to inspire people to take a moment and see what they can see.  Ages 3 and up.

Gall, C. (2005). Dear Fish. New York, NY: Little, Brown.  Follow this link to SWAN.

A young boy learns not all friends make good guests, in Chris Gall’s book Dear Fish.

Peter Alan learns not all friends make good guests in Chris Gall’s book Dear Fish.  After an enjoyable day at the beach, Peter extends an invitation to the fish to come visit him at home.  Each page reveals the entertaining havoc a visit from these friends causes a town.  The well-paced story takes time on each page to focus on fun sound words, making this an entertaining story to read aloud.  Labeled illustrations decorate the front and back of the book, so readers can recognize the different fish featured in the story.  There is also a claim that there are 10 fish puns in the illustrations of the book.  Between the amusing “fish out of water” context, fun to read sound words and puns to find, this is a great choice for a book to share with others.  Ages 3 and up.

Gallup, T. (2007). Shell Crazy. Traverse City, MI: Mackinac Island Press.  Follow this link to SWAN.

Shell Crazy tackles the crazy fun one can have with shells.

Another installment in Tracy Gallup’s Crazy Little series of books, Shell Crazy tackles the crazy fun one can have with shells.  Starting with an image of Michelangelo’s Venus de Milo,Gallup talks about all the fun things one can imagine with shells.  Once again, Gallup utilizes dolls, this time coupled with shells, to help illustrate what her imagination sees.  The mother in the story shares the secret of what can be found in a shell after its previous occupant has moved out.  To uncover this secret for yourself, go to a beach, find a shell, and put it up to your ear.  This is a good choice for imaginative readers.  Ages 3 and up.

Lakin, P. (2004). Beach day! (S. Nash, Illus.). New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers.  Follow this link to SWAN.

Four alligators discover getting to the beach can be an all-day adventure.

Four alligators discover getting to the beach can be an all-day adventure in Beach Day!  Readers will find the alligators easy to relate to as they try to find something fun to do on a hot day.  Lakin’s easy and repetitive text creates an enjoyable read-along or read-alone for beginning readers.  Nash’s illustrations nicely complement the fun text with alligators readers will want to play with.  Beach Day is the perfect read for people who like to have fun.  Ages 2 – 6.

Prager, E. (2000). Sand. (N. Woodman, Illus.). Washington, DC : National Geographic Society. Follow this link to SWAN.

This simple, informative book is a great read for any young child who enjoys sand. 

In Ellen Prager’s book Sand, readers discover answers to questions they might not realize they had about sand.  With simple, straightforward text, Prager explains how sand is made, how it is moved, and why it comes in different colors.  Nancy Woodman’s illustrations are a combination of close up photographs, so readers can see what Prager is talking about, and fun cartoon images that complete the picture.  At the end of the book is a fun activity for readers to make their own sand.  This simple, informative book is a great read for any young child who enjoys sand.  Ages 2 – 5.

Rokwell, A. (1987). At the beach. New York, NY: Macmillan.  Follow this link to SWAN.

A mother and child share a fun and relaxing day at the beach.

There are many fun things to do and see at the beach, and Anne and Harlow Rockwell describe them all in their delightful book At the beach.  The story starts with the necessary items to ensure a fun and safe day: sun block, shelter, nourishment and a pail.  The Rockwells’ simple text allows enjoyment as either a read-along or a read-alone.  The uncomplicated illustrations highlight both the specifics mentioned in the story and the general scene.  This is a great read-along to either prepare for or remember an enjoyable day at the beach.  Ages 2 – 4.

Schertle, A. (2004). All you need for a beach. (B. Lavallee, Illus.).  Orlando : Silver Whistle/Harcourt.  Follow this link to SWAN.

Readers discover what it takes to have an exciting day at the beach. 

In Alice Schertles’ rhythmic book All you need for a beach, readers discover what it takes to have an exciting day at the beach.  This well-paced story unfolds with an anticipatory pause at the end of each page, giving the readers time to guess what the next elements needed for a fun time at the beach are.  Barbara Lavallee’s illustrations complete the experience with fun visuals to complement the fun text.  The flow of Schertles’ text makes All you need for a beach an enjoyable read-along.  Ages 2 – 4.

Wallace, N. E. (2007). Shells! Shells! Shells! New York : Marshall Cavendish.  Follow this link to SWAN.

During a trip to the beach, Buddy learns all about the different types of shells that can be found on a beach, including the animals that live in them and how they are made.

Buddy and his mom are back again in Nancy Elizabeth Wallace’s book, Shells! Shells! Shells! During a trip to the beach, Buddy learns all about the different types of shells that can be found on a beach, including the animals that live in them and how they are made.  Wallace’s illustrations are an interesting combination of paper cuttings and photographs. The story is easy to follow; Wallace takes the time to phonetically spell out difficult words that are new to Buddy and the reader.  The back of the book has a page of interesting shell facts on pictures of shells and instructions on how to make a special shell bookmark. The combination of fictional story and facts makes this a fun choice for readers who might not be interested in informative books. Ages 4 and up.

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