Monday, September 23, 2019

Nonfiction Monday


Biomes: Discover the Earth’s Ecosystems with Science Activities for Kids by Donna Latham with illustrations by Tom Casteel introduces readers in grades 4-6 to nine environments: Deciduous Forests, Coniferous Forests, Tropical Rainforests, Deserts, Temperate grasslands, Tropical Savannas, Tundra, Mountains, and Oceans.

An introduction sets up the later chapters by explaining what a biome is, introducing much of the environment-related vocabulary that appears throughout and mapping the location of each biome on a world map. Chapter One provides background via an overview of our home on Earth and the basic adaptations of plant and animal life to our unique planet.
Biome-focused chapters define specific characteristics such as seasons, soils, rainfall, and highlight flora and fauna – a 5,000- year-old Bristlecone pine in a coniferous forest, glow-in-the-dark ocean dwellers of the deep sea, the 2-ounce Pygmy Tarsier found in the mountains of Indonesia – and so on.
Additionally, chapters incorporate information about broader concepts such as food chains, food webs, environmental changes, and the multiple ways in which each biome contributes to creating a sustainable planet. Vocabulary is highlighted in Words To Know sidebars.  Related STEM projects are listed at the end to check knowledge and offer hands-on reinforcement for concepts.  Each chapter includes a feature called Climate Change Corner that uses a QR code
Readers are challenged to ask questions and use critical thinking skills in response to calls to action: Essential Question, Try This!,  and Did You Know? Photographs and illustrations enhance content and provide visual interest.

The book is well organized and the content expands on familiar facts and introduces readers to details that are often overlooked. It is not only educational, but is also a pleasure to read. The conversational tone and age-appropriate vocabulary is appealing.
Recommended for STEM home and school libraries.

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