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Product Type: Books
Age: Preschoolers
Categories: Science


1998 Award
Have You Seen Bugs?
(by Joanne Oppenheim/illus Ron Broda, Scholastic Canada $14.99 Score:)

Publishers Weekly

Eye-popping artwork headlines this sensational picture book in praise of insects. Oppenheim's (Have You Seen Birds?) sprightly verse takes an up-close-and-personal view of bugs in all their splendid variety ("Bugs with stripes/ or speckles/ or spots,/ shiny like metal/ or covered in dots"). Meanwhile, Broda's exquisite painted paper sculptures, strategically placed against a series of watercolor backdrops, give the pages depth, texture and a brilliantly surreal flavor. Readers will be craning their necks for a "how did he do that?" look at the detail, from the intricate designs of a butterfly's wing to the gleaming metallic back of a beetle. Touching upon caterpillars and crickets, ladybugs and lacewing dragonflies, author and illustrator cover a lot of ground and, thanks to Oppenheim's hardworking verse as well as the careful art, they pack in a surprising amount of information. While this finely wrought book is particularly well suited to the learning style of younger readers, those at the upper end of the target group will no doubt be equally enthralled. Ages 5-8. 

Children's Literature

You will see bugs as you have never seen them before in this informational book on how bugs move, communicate, and even help people. Rhyming verse and full page color illustrations will catch the ear and eye while reading to oneself or others. Ron Broda's award winning three-dimensional paper sculptures of colorful bugs make this a unique and different addition for a library or a classroom collection of insect books. Additional bug information as well as identification of the bug illustrations by page number is provided at the end of the book.
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2-An alliterative, rhyming text is accompanied by dramatic, brilliantly colored, three-dimensional paper sculptures that were photographed to create the final images. This jubilant celebration of insects in a variety of habitats is reinforced informationally by a page-by-page listing of the insects depicted. While millipedes (diplopods) and spiders (arachnids) are not "bugs," most insects (class Insecta) are not "true bugs" either. All of the beasties shown are joint-legged arthropods. This is not a book for sophisticated report writers, but it's perfect for any youngster who has ever followed a flittering butterfly, pondered a spider spinning a web, or chased a twinkling firefly-and even more for those who dream of such joyous experiences. An eye-catching delight.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY

available in English and French

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 1998. Click here to purchase the product on

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2010 Award
Yucky Worms
(by Vivian French/illus. Jessica Ahlberg, Candlewick $16.99 Score:)

It may be hard to imagine a whole book just on the subject of worms, but, every page turn in Yucky Worms reveals another interesting fact that is likely to grab the attention of even the whimpiest reader. Told as a conversation between a grandmother gardener and her curious grandson, this is a work of non-fiction with a touch of humor and a lot of science. The underground images give you a slice of underground life that brings the lowly worm into focus as a positive force often overlooked. French also manages to take down a few myths about worms that have been around for years. This is what young science should look and sound like!

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on

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2010 Award
Insect Detective
(by Steve Voake/ illus. Charlotte Voake, Candlewick $16.99 Score:)

There are a lot of jazzier bug books out there, with tons of factoids and bright, even garish art. In contrast, the Voakes have made a quiet book. The watercolor art is more impressionistic than most non-fiction books. The narrative does not overload the listener with more than is needed. It's an accurate look at some of the most familiar bugs kids can observe. For those who may be fearful of bugs, it may, in fact, be a gentle way of opening young minds to a bigger idea...that we really need these little creatures.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on

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2010 Award
Where Do Polar Bears Live?
(by Sarah L. Thomson/ illus. by Jason Chin, HarperCollins $16.99 Score:)

Newest in the Let's Read and Find Out series, this is an informative book about Polar Bears that is designed for young readers. Beginning with a mother bear popping out of her den, followed by her cub, this young science book traces the life of the two as the cub grows. There is a little tug of war here between the sweet fuzzy images of the Polar cub and the harsh reality of the Arctic scene. The facts of life here include the need for seals as food, with an illustration that includes the bloody hunt. Although most of the action is off-stage, so to speak, there are bloody traces on the ice as well as in the mouth of a beautiful Arctic fox, who makes off with a scrap of seal meat. Unlike most books in this series, a bit of fiction has been added with a Polar Bear Professor character appearing here and there with some facts. There is also an image of a polar bear on a scale weighing-in to show how the climate changes may threaten the animals of the Arctic, not to mention the rest of the planet. Some young and literal readers may find this switch from fact to fancy a little confusing. The author does offer some ideas of things kids can do to protect the Polar Bears. These are pretty big issues for young readers, yet perhaps school aged kids are not too young to begin to care about how their actions can cause reactions for the good.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on

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2010 Award
Compost Stew, An A to Z Recipe for the Earth
(by Mary McKenna Siddals/ illus. by Ashley Wolff, Tricycle Press $15.99 Score:)

A delightful alphabet book written in verse that adds up to a wonderful pot of Compost Stew for the garden. From apple cores to wiggly worms and so many familiar items in most homes, here is a science book for making your corner of the world green. This kind of experience translated into action can do more to teach kids about recycling than most. As always Ashley Wolff's illustrations add much to the mix. 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on

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2010 Award
Maisy's Book of Thigs That Go
(by Lucy Cousins, Candlewick $12.99 Score:)

Just when you thought Maisy's creator could not come up with anything new, here comes an amazing young science book. It's a pull the tab book that that shows foot power as Maisy walks, pedal power as she rides her bike, Steam power on a train with a smokestack and smoke that rises! Cousins did not forget wind power to move a sail boat, hot air for a balloon that rises above the pages, and sparks fly as an electric trolley moves forward and last of all, a space ship that rises with rocket fuel. Each of the pop up images is executed with great style. You will want to keep this on a high shelf between readings or the pop up pages will not go far. That said, this is a gem!

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on

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2010 Award
Meet the Howlers
(by April P. Sayre/ illus. Woody Miller, Charlesbridge $16.95 Score:)

Told in both verse and prose, the lively story of the Howlers monkeys can be shared with both young listeners and older readers. Many of the verse portions compare the life of the monkey young to that of boys and girls; i.e. they never need a bath since their suits are wash-and-wear. The muted and somewhat fuzzy art shows their active ways, swinging, clinging, leaping and bouncing; doing what monkeys do. Among the most interesting facts, despite their name, only the male monkeys actually howls and not until they are fully grown. Apparently they use their voices to announce its territory and avoid fights with other families. Since they live in rain forests of Central and South America, these are the monkeys one is likely to encounter on a trip to the tropics. 4-7.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on

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2009 Award
Sounds of the Wild: Dinosaurs
(by Maurice Pledger/ paper engineering Keith Finch, Silver Dolphin Books $16.95 Score:)

Each of the dinosaur eras is represented with an amazing pop-up scene that features the dinosaurs of that time along with birds and other mammals all accompanied with sound effects that add to the excitement. The information in between the pop-ups is set in such small type that young readers will have a problem and older readers will need a magnifier. That said, this is still an amazingly handsome book. The text on the pop-up page is simple enough for young readers to comprehend and the details will interest the most devoted dinohaulics. 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on

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2001 Award
Away We Go!
(by Rebecca Kai Dotlich/illus. by Dan Yaccarino, HarperCollins $9.95 Score:) Toddlers are fascinated with transportation and with simple language, bright colors, and bouncing rhyme, this concept book is on the right road! 2 & up.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2001.

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2001 Awards
Each Living Thing
(by Joanne Ryder/illus. by Ashley Wolff, Harcourt $16 Score:) So often children are curious but fearful of such living things as spiders, snakes, and stinging jellyfish. Wolff's bold illustrations bring them up close as Ryder urges us to appreciate, not fear them. Preachy, but beautiful. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2001.

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