Monday, April 20, 2009

National Wildlife Week

For those of you unfamiliar with Sylvan Dell Publishing, they feature science and math through literature. Previous to be introduced to them through my friend Amanda, of A Patchwork of Books, I was not at all familiar with them. However, they have quickly become quite possibly, one of my favorite publishers. The books they publish are of tremendous quality, have great educational purposes. Science and math content, character education qualities, and life lessons are taught in virtually all of the books I have seen so far. In addition to all of this, Sylvan Dell also puts out Teaching Activities to be used with all of the books - and they're available to everyone (you don't even have to purchase the books, but can simply borrow from a local library and share with your children/students) on their website.

This week is National Wildlife Week, and because of their great focus on science and wildlife, all of the books that I have reviews for today are from Sylvan Dell Publishing - four older books and three from the Spring 2009 line. I hope you find them as enjoyable as I (and the students I shared them with) did.
In 1938 the National Wildlife Federation created National Wildlife Week, a celebration to alert the public to the needs of wildlife and NWF's efforts to preserve wildlife and their habitats. NWF educates students, families and adults about wildlife conservation issues and encourages them to be environmental stewards. -The Teacher's Calendar
4 mini-reviews from previous years!

Pierce, Terry.
Blackberry Banquet.
Sylvan Dell Publishing.

The lone blackberry bush in a forest doesn't remain lonely for long! Before you can say blackberry all of the forest wildlife is in on the snacking pleasures - a mouse, a bluebird, a squirrel, a fox, a deer. They're all sharing nicely and pretty much sticking to themselves, until a bear comes along! The bear sets off a string of dominoes...
Bear scares Deer! Deer frightens Fox! Fox shocks Squirrel! Squirrel bumps Bird! Bird muddles Mouse! Mouse flings berries!
And now, the lone blackberry bush is lonely again... and bare of all it's berries. Along with showing the relationship of how plants are the root of all food webs, this would be a good introduction about how animals feed off each other.

Check out the following resources from Sylvan Dell to make the most of this book as a learning experience:
Diehl, Jean Heilprin.
Loon Chase.
Sylvan Dell Publishing.

This book is very informative about loons, while at the same time telling a story that will keep the attention of children. A young boy and his mom are out kayaking to collect berries for a pie. Their dog paddles alongside the kayak... until he spots the endangered loons and decides they'd make for a good snack. However, we learn quickly that the loon has defense mechanisms of its own, though and is able to rescue itself... at least from this dog!

Check out the following resources from Sylvan Dell to make the most of this book as a learning experience:

Giogas, Valarie.
In My Backyard.
Sylvan Dell Publishing.

If you're trying to teach your little one numbers and one-to-one correspondence, this is the book for you... especially if they love the outdoors and wildlife! The book explores numbers through use of daily baby wildlife that one might find in their own backyard (especially if you live in the country)! Deer, squirrels, grasshoppers, skunks, and raccoon babies are just a few of the wildlife animals used in showing a relationship between numbers and quantity.

Check out the following resources from Sylvan Dell to make the most of this book as a learning experience:

Kurtz, Kevin.
A Day in the Salt Marsh.
Sylvan Dell Publishing.

This book would be perfect to use as a time-telling practice activity. Readers visit the the salt marsh every hour, on the hour, from 8:00am to 6:00pm one day, showing all of the different changes that take place through the day teaching children a lot about the salt marsh... you might want to introduce exactly what a salt marsh is before reading though!
It's eleven o'clock in the salt marsh;
the tide is getting high.
Over in the tidal creek,
a blue crab skitters by.

The blue crab isn't picky
and will eat 'most any dish.
It even eats sea cucumber
or a stinky piece of fish.
This book would work perfectly to have children use a small clock and show you the time as you read about it. A great reinforcement/assessment activity when teaching about telling time!

Check out the following resources from Sylvan Dell to make the most of this book as a learning experience:

And the newest titles from the Spring 2009 line-up!!! I had a chance to share one of these with some 1st graders... the book was a huge hit!

Ring, Susan.
Where Should Turtle Be?
Sylvan Dell Publishing.

Little turtle is finally free! He's hatched from his egg and is now determined to explore the world around him. However, his new-found freedom eventually results in turtle getting lost and because he's so little, he doesn't even know where he belongs! As turtle explores his surroundings, the wildlife around him makes suggestions as to what he is and where he belongs. He gives each a try, but eventually moves, finding it not for him. Eventually he figures out that he's a sea turtle.

I would think this story would open the door for discussion that one shouldn't give up in the world, as there's always a place for everyone, sometimes you just have to look a little harder to find out where you really belong!

Check out the following resources from Sylvan Dell to make the most of this book as a learning experience:
Love, Donna
Henry the Impatient Heron.
Sylvan Dell Publishing.

Henry is a very impatient heron, as the title might alert you to! He's unable to stand still... for anything! Everyone in is family is upset with him because of his inability to stop moving long enough. One day, after being separated from his family and coming to the realization that he has to figure out how to get food for himself (an impossible task for an impatient heron), Henry enlists the help of The King. The King teaches Henry what to do - to look like a stick. Under water, a heron's legs looks like a stick and everyone knows that fish aren't afraid of sticks but are definitely afraid of herons. In the end, Henry's hard work and efforts pay off and he's able to catch a large fish.

I had to opportunity to share this book with a group of 1st graders and they absolutely loved this... enough that they wanted to hear the story a second time! They loved the illustrations - the favorite in the class was when Henry's bill hit the bank when he was trying to catch a salamander. The kids also loved the page when Henry turned himself into a stick (one of them had actually guessed this was how he was going to catch a fish)!

The story teaches children that hard work and effort pays off in the long run. I could see myself using this story to teach children about patience, as that is an important aspect of everyday life that children need to have a concept of (any teacher or parent knows that children need to have patience as we can only do so much at a time)!

Check out the following resources from Sylvan Dell to make the most of this book as a learning experience:

Hutmacher, Kimberly.
Paws, Claws, Hands and Feet.
Sylvan Dell Publishing.

Along with Henry the Impatient Heron, I also had a chance to share this book with the same group of 1st graders. They enjoyed this book, but they still deemed Henry the Impatient Heron their favorite. However, this was by far my favorite! It was the realization drawn from the ending that made me love the book so much! I'm not going to give away the ending, but I am going to urge you to head out to the local library and borrow a copy or just click on the image and head to and order a copy for yourself today!

Two young children set off on an adventure with all kinds of wildlife - monkeys, spiders, lions, elephants and more! Waking, shaking, feel the beat, paws, claws, hands, and feet... The illustrations take readers to the habitat of each of these wildlife animals, and allows for readers' imaginations to go wild!

Check out the following resources from Sylvan Dell to make the most of this book as a learning experience:

If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to


style='clear: both;' Homeschool Friend said...

WOW! Books and Science are two of my most favorite things!!!

THANK YOU! You have no idea how excited I am! I had never heard of any of these books before!!!

Tahnk you!

style='clear: both;' Homeschool Friend said...

Hey Katie---Your post here is perfect for this Literature Round Up-

Just wanted to let you know in case you wanted to participate!

style='clear: both;'
Anonymous said...

Katie, thank you so much for your amazing reviews of all these Sylvan Dell titles. We are so proud of our 2009 books, as well as all the books that came before. We appreciate your support! It's great to know we have advocates out there! Keep spreading the word!

style='clear: both;' Unknown said...


My publicity coordinator at Sylvan Dell forwarded this blog post to me. Thank you for shining the spotlight on sylvan Dell today, and I am overjoyed to learn that
Paws, Claws, Hands and Feet is favorite of the bunch. It does an author's heart good to hear such news. Thank you!

Kimberly Hutmacher

style='clear: both;' BookChook said...

I've heard of Sylvan Dell(all good things!), but never actually reviewed any. I'm not sure we even get them in Australia, but I'll keep an eye open.

I enjoyed reading about these, Katie!