0 01/02/2014 reviews Books

Winter Wondering

I love books about winter, even if I’m not a fan of the season itself. They are always full of playful fun, cool colours, and the beauty of snowflakes and animals. These two lovely books relate to winter, one about migration, and one a math book that uses nature to teach.

Sizing Up Winter, by Lizann Flatt

OwlKids, ISBN: 978 1 926973 82 1

A third title in the Math In Nature series from OwlKids, this book uses winter to look at measuring and size, though it seems to drop in a few other concepts as well (time, multiplication). The illustrations are wonderful, and it certainly sets up lots of questions for considering using winter animals, snowflakes, and landscapes. Notes about the animals and winter conditions round out the book in end notes.

I like the idea of this series, and they are certainly a more accessible and interesting way to approach math with young people, but I do think these need an adult to work with them and a child for them to make sense and for a child to get anything out of them. There are lots of questions posed to work with, which is a good starting point for this,. so they could be a good tool for teaching, but won’t do the explaining for you. I think these are also looking at curriculum elements that are above kindergarten, even if the illustrations might suggest an age that young – I’d say these are better aimed at grades 1 or 2, when these concepts are being introduced and more likely to be well understood.

IsThisPanama_cover_bgIs This Panama, by Jan Thornhill

OwlKids, ISBN: 978 1 926973 88 3

Sammy is a young warbler who realizes it’s time for his first migration, but he has missed the departure, and must make his way on his own. He encounters plenty of other animals that help him southward, as well as a few who are staying put, and learns about how other animals winter or migrate, as well.

This is a charming little story and a great way to learn about some animals’ winter plans. Sammy of course reaches his destination, in the end, and his meandering route is mapped at the end of the book, along with notes on the migrations of the many animals he meets. The illustrations here are really lovely, delicate but filled with expression that makes Sammy quite the sympathetic character – a perfect introduction to migration for young children.

 

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