Clockwise: A first look at time; The Case of the Missing Caterpillar: A first look at the life cycle of a butterfly; The Earth is Like a Roundabout: A first look at night and day
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The Case of the Missing Caterpillar: A first look at the life cycle of a butterfly
Illustrated by Simone Abel
The Earth is Like a Roundabout: A first look at night and day
Illustrated by Anthony Lewis
These new additions to the M.Y. Bees series of information books have the same welcome ability to make children question the world around them. However each book is delightfully individual: the book about the life cycle of a butterfly (The Case of the Missing Caterpillar) has insects as mini detectives solving the mystery of metamorphosis. The metaphor of the earth as a roundabout that relentlessly turns is helpful in The Earth is Like a Roundabout. Children can cope easily with the notion of a moving roundabout and transfer this understanding to the larger and harder concepts to do with the earth's movement round the sun to create day and night. Clockwise is an extremely dynamic introduction to concepts of time, using a giant watch illustration in the early pages to introduce seconds, minutes and hours. We learn that in one second you can jump once in the air but a hummingbird flaps its wings 78 times. A lot of thought has gone into providing inviting introductions to each topic and the books would enliven science lessons or provide enjoyment at home. Each book is short enough to use in the literacy hour either for class based work or as a focus for guided or independent reading. Only some of the conventions of information texts are introduced - glossaries and diagrams. Contents pages and indexes are missing and would not, I feel, have been helpful for these 'first looks' at phenomena. Children could explore the different kinds of language used including notices, direct speech and report. The books would encourage vocabulary extension and help model glossaries and diagrams. Above all, they are fun and introduce scientific information with a light, humorous touch.