I didn’t expect “Lunch Walks Among Us” to be such a fun story! Being the first book in the “Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist” chapter book series by Jim Benton, it manages to combine a really quirky main character and the scientific method. It also raises such important topics for kids as being yourself and accepting other people’s differences.
“Marty McGuire” by Kate Messner was a truly enjoyable read. Being the first book in the chapter book series of the same name, the story includes facts about wildlife, especially raccoons and frogs, shows the work of a wildlife rehabilitator and expresses admiration for Jane Goodall, the famous expert on chimpanzees. The story also features such important topics as sharing friends, being patient and trying new things.
The main character Halley is a 9-year-old girl, named after Halley’s Comet. She loves ballet and poetry, however her favorite thing in the whole world is science. She does a lot of science experiments at home, but, unfortunately, they often end up pretty messy.
“Skunked!” is a lovely opening of the “Calpurnia Tate, Girl Vet” chapter book series by Jacqueline Kelly, which share the same characters with her middle-grade books about the aspiring animal doctor. The story, set in 1901 in rural Texas, is both heartwarming and full of facts about flora and fauna of the region, and especially skunks.
Bean is bored to death during a reading class until the teacher gives her an Amazing Book of World Records. Since then Bean can’t think of anything but breaking a world record. But nothing works until Ivy proposes to follow in the footsteps of Mary Anning, the famous paleontologist, and look for dinosaur fossils in Bean’s backyard.
The story has great characters, funny situations (like chasing of a dog wearing a pants-scarf and accidental activation of a bug security system) as well as strong messages about gender stereotypes, honesty, team work and friendship. Ellie is a smart budding engineer. She wears a tool belt over her skirt, considers a cordless drill the best Christmas present and even has her own workshop.
The story is a great combination of funky inventions (e.g. SnakeAway, a snake-scaring machine), quirky characters (like Rosie’s great-great-aunt flying on a cheese-copter or her joyful friends, the Raucous Riveters, who built airplanes during the World War II), as well as great messages (dealing with pressure, the power of friendship, overcoming fears).
It’s an exciting mystery adventure full of modern technology (wireless camera, tablet, drone, robot) and great scientific concepts, such as Occam’s razor and Turing Test, which are introduced in a fun and engaging way.
I really love the main character Ada. This 8-year-old girl has an analytical mind, loves field guides and always refers to scientific evidence.
The story wonderfully combines science and magic, introducing the scientific method in such a natural way that kids will learn it without noticing that they are being taught. The scientific facts covered in the book include eating preferences of reptiles, the difference between a carnivore, an herbivore and an omnivore, and a cold-blooded and a warm-blooded animal.