CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 4 . . . .October 14, 2005
There is nothing new under the sun, and in this latest Kalman series which focuses on the changes in nature that affect plants and animals, Kalman rehashes information that has been presented in some of her other books. Camouflage: Changing to Hide, for example, is very similar to Camouflage and Mimicry from her "Science of Living Things" series, and so purchasers should be cautious. Each book, averaging 15 chapters, includes a table of contents, a brief glossary, an index and a fun activity for kids to try. The authors' use of simple vocabulary and short sentences makes the large-sized text easy to comprehend. Excellent illustrations, comprised of vibrant, full-color photographs and useful diagrams, extend the reader's understanding of the concepts.
Camouflage: Changing to Hide examines various types of camouflage: color, patterns, texture, mimicry, transparency and counter-shading, to name a few. Also highlighted is the ability of some animals to change color, the importance of camouflage to the survival of the young of a species, and how protective coloration helps both predators and prey. Near the back of the book is a game in which readers are asked to match photographs of animals with different types of camouflage.
Metamorphosis: Changing Bodies explains complete (four-stage) and incomplete (three-stage) metamorphosis. Readers will learn, specifically, about the complete metamorphosis of butterflies, ladybugs and frogs, and the incomplete metamorphosis of dragonflies and grasshoppers. The one minor drawback of an otherwise great, informative book is the art activity. Youngsters can make a moving picture of an animal that undergoes metamorphosis, but only two of the steps of the process are represented.
Changing Seasons focuses on plant and animal growth and survival in Canada's four distinct seasons. Following an explanation of the equator and the north and south hemispheres, and information about how the Earth's revolution around the sun causes seasonal changes throughout the year, there are instructions for making suncatchers. Of the four books in the series, this one is the most basic.
If the previously mentioned title can be considered very general, Photosynthesis: Changing Sunlight into Food, by contrast, is more complex in terms of both the vocabulary and the explanations (and, perhaps, better understood by a slightly older audience of Grade 4 or 5). Readers will discover how plants use sunlight, carbon dioxide and water to make food and how stomata take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen and water. Other topics include the parts of a plant and their functions, types of roots, food chains, and the differences between desert, ocean and land plants. Plenty of diagrams serve to clarify the concepts. A quiz at the back of the book invites readers to identify the edible parts of several plants.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.