Sunday, September 20, 2009
Bubble Homes and Fish Farts (Junior Library Guild Selection (Charlesbridge Hardcover))
Written by Fiona Bayrock
Illustrated by Carolyn Conahan
Recommended Ages 6-9
It's hard to resist a book with such a catchy title, and this one (while sure to draw snickers at first) provides kids with some fascinating facts about the many ways that animals make use of bubbles. For kids who are nonfiction lovers, Bubble Homes and Fish Farts will provide them with lots of fun information to consider.
In this enjoyable picture book, there are 16 double page spreads showing how and why different animals (fish, mammals and insects) use bubbles. Each section starts off with a simple sentence such as "Bubbles are for Keeping Warm," "Bubbles are for Playing," or "Bubbles are for Living In." Then in very clear and easy-to-understand language, Bayrock goes on to describe how the bubble works for each animal. What's so great about this book is how interesting each tidbit of information is. Here's an example:
"Star-nosed moles also have a good sense of smell, even when underwater. As it swims, a mole blows bubbles from its nose and breathes them back in. A quick sniff of the bubble air tells the mole if lunch is nearby and which way to go to find it. Fish and worms--yummy meals for a star-nosed mole--leave underwater scent trails. These scents in the water mix with the bubble air. Swimming moles sniff to follow scent trails underwater just as dogs do on land."
It's pretty fascinating stuff. The watercolor illustrations have an ethereal feel to them and give each page a "bubble-like" quality. The pictures are fairly realistic, and yet the animals have expressions on their faces which will draw the younger reader in. In addition, each section has little "thought bubbles" showing what the animal might be thinking in a more light-hearted way. All of these touches make Bubble Homes and Fish Farts appealing to elementary-aged kids.
At the end of the book, there are more facts about each of these bubble-makers, as well as a handy glossary. For example: "Flatulence: The scientific name for farting," and "Fry: Baby fish." Quite honestly, I had never given much thought to bubbles before, but I know I will look at the natural world a little bit differently now.
BookNosher Activity: In a previous post I wrote about a picture book for young children called Bubble Trouble, and linked to a website that's devoted to bubbles. I think after reading Bubble Homes and Fish Farts, kids might want more information about bubbles. So here it is again.