Title: Citizen Scientists
Written by: Loree Griffin Burns
Photographs by: Ellen Harasimowicz
Reviewed by: Alexander J., Grade 4
This book shows that anyone can go in their back yard and do scientific things, like studying different parts of nature. You don't have to be a professional scientist or naturalist to do it.
The book starts with four chapters; Fall butterflying, winter birding, spring frogging and summer ladybugging. Each chapter has its own story, then a quick quiz to see if you can identify the facts you learned. The last page of each chapter is a page called "When You Go" that gives you a list of things you should bring when you do the different activities. It also has helpful hints like don't put bug spray on your hands when you want to handle the insects you find.
In the back of the book there are resources for different books, field guides and web sites that help you find everything you need to know about butterflies, birds, frogs and ladybugs. There is also a glossary that shows a lot of different words in alphabetical order that lists what tools and terms that citizen scientists can use.
I learned how to photograph ladybugs, tag butterflies and count frog calls (I already knew how to go birding). When I first read about ladybugs, it said in the story that they were going to be chilling them and I was surprised and wondered how to do that. It turns out that they put them in a vial and then a cooler to stop them from moving so that they could be photographed. I was also amazed that the little vials they put ladybugs in have no holes for air, but they contain enough air for a ladybug to live for several days without the cap being opened.
I also learned that you can count frogs by listening to their individual calls. At first I thought that you had to find the frogs in order to count them, but if you're listening and then hear a frog call coming from somewhere else, then that's a new frog.
I also learned how to tag Monarch butterflies which is cool. The tag is a light sticker and you place it on the discal cell in order to track their route. You can even put messages on the tags so you can send them to someone in a different country. It's the same idea as a message in a bottle, except on land with butterflies.
In the book there are some illustrations but mostly photographs. The photos show whats happening in the chapter. For example, in the butterfly chapter there are photographs of butterflies and caterpillars and also people with butterfly nets catching and tagging butterflies.
The photographs were helpful, especially for the frogs because it was talking about all these different types of frogs but I didn't know what they looked like. The photographs helped because each frog had its own picture with a caption below telling what type it was.
I would recommend this book to people who like nature and animals. Especially if they don't know how to do activities in nature or how to get started with them.
Reviewed by: Janiah A., Grade 5
This book is about different types of species. The book tells you where the species go and does all year. It tells you where you could see them a lot too. It tells you also how to help scientists discover more about the species as well. This book does in fact tell a story and tells who has impacted on the species. This book mainly reports facts on the animals and insects.This book is organized by chapter. The first thing in every chapter is what a class or a family and people did involving the particular species.
I learned more about butterflies,birds,frogs and ladybugs. A new fact about butterflies is the they only live for about a week and a half. One other fact that intrigued me was about frogs was that a lot of frogs now have deformity problems.Some of them do because they have been in an accident or have been hurt by a predator. I have more questions about how you can help frogs with their deformities.
The photographs of the animals and insects were great! I loved them. They definitely added a lot to my reading experience.
I felt like this book helped me and encouraged me to go outside and get into nature and see what kinds of things I can find. Yes I am going to recommend this book to others. It's great for gardeners too. I think people who are into nature and like to know new facts about different types of things out there would enjoy this book.
If you want to encourage kids to read some nonfiction during summer vacation, check out "How to Get Kids Hooked on Nonfiction Books This Summer," written by Holly Korbey.
According to Vicki Cobb, a nonfiction writer and creator of the iNK Think Tank, an organization of award-winning authors who write nonfiction for kids of all ages, "one benefit of reading nonfiction is that it helps kids look outward, not inward, and science-based nonfiction is a great way to learn about the world." Engaging nonfiction provides readers with lots of background information that helps them to fill in gaps of knowledge, make inferences and improve comprehension. Additionally, Cobb points out that accomplished nonfiction writers use many of the literary devices used by fiction writers, such as poetry, foreshadowing, metaphor and irony, with the main difference being that the nonfiction is true.
Included in the article, is a list of iNK Think Tank's favorite science books that pose questions and offer ideas for open-ended discovery, "so that the thinking child can continue the quest afterwards."
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