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Nonfiction books help kids learn about science

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Updated: January 5, 2012 8:03AM



Let’s look at some great nonfiction books. Kids love exploring, not only animals but the world and the universe, around us.

Gail Gibbons is outstanding with her books on all sorts of fascinating topics.

In her book “Gorillas” we learn that gorillas are social animals that live in groups called troups. The leader is the oldest male, who is called a silverback due to the grey hair on his back.

There are three kinds of gorillas and they all live in African rain forests, some warm and some cool. The males can get to be 500 pounds and about 4 feet tall.

They eat plants — fruits, seeds, berries, leaves and parts of trees. They have good senses and are seldom aggressive. Gibbons gives us some websites for further exploration of this unique creature, whose habitat is endangered.

Big reptiles

In “Alligators and Crocodiles” Gibbons explains the differences between the two largest reptiles now on Earth.

Although I think they are singularly ugly, they are considered the closest living relatives of the dinosaurs. Alligators and crocodiles lived on Earth about 230 million years ago. For some reason, dinosaurs became extinct but alligators and crocodiles survived.

Gibbons provides maps showing where alligators and crocodiles live. Alligators and only a few American crocodiles live in the United States and a small area in China. Crocodiles live in South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. Because they are reptiles, they live in warm areas, but their habitats are endangered.

Gibbons explains differences between the two animals, and we learn that if one loses a tooth, a new one grows in, over and over. One of these reptiles can grow 3,000 teeth in a long life.

Outer space’

Let’s go “out of this world” with Gibbons to visit “Galaxies, Galaxies!”

We learn about the history of astronomy and the differences of various telescopes as we study the stars. Did you know there are five shapes of galaxies? We live in a spiral galaxy, the best known type. The Milky Way is in a cluster of 36 galaxies. Astronomers know about more than 100 billion galaxies and they aren’t done looking yet.

They think our Sun will heat the Earth for another 5 billion years.

Physics fun

Tom Adams brings us a delight for young scientists in “Feel The Force!” — pop-up physics book. It opens with a six-sided look at six basic tenets of motion and force — light, sound, heat, electricity, atoms and mechanics — and goes on to explain them all.

Flaps, pull tabs and little books join the pop-ups to make this a great way to explore science together. Adams provides simple and well-explained experiments to help us understand the concepts.

This is definitely a do-it-together book that could be lots of fun on a bad-weather day.



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