The Kids Canadian Bug Book.
The Kids Canadian Plant Book.
Pamela Hickman. Illustrated by Heather Collins.
Toronto: Kids Can Press, 1996. 32pp, cloth, $14.95.
Grades 2 - 5 / Ages 7 - 10.
A seed is like a tiny picnic basket full of food that the plant uses when it starts to grow. Before a seed can sprout, or germinate, it must have water. In the winter the water in the ground is frozen and the seeds can't use it. In the spring the ice thaws and the seeds begin to sprout. They soak up water like sponges until they get so big they burst. A tiny root and a shoot poke out of each seed. They will grow into a new plant if they get enough food from the soil and enough water and sunlight.
-- from The Kids Canadian Plant Book.
THESE TWO BOOKS are in the same series as Kids Can's Kids Canadian Bird Book and Tree Book. They follow the same format and are the same size. Each has a table of contents and a brief index.
Heather Collins's colourful and appealing drawings complement the text, the print is large and easy to read, and the vocabulary is challenging but not beyond the reach of most children in the age group. The sections each deal with a different topic, like (in the Plant Book) pollination, surviving winter, and plant defences, or (in the Bug Book) insects at night, insect migration, giant moths, and so on.
Some sections have suggested activities and experiments to stimulate the child's interest (the text cautions the reader and tells them to "ask an adult to help," and at the beginning of the books there is a brief disclaimer of damages that might result from following the activities).
These books would be good material for teachers or parents to use to introduce children to nature study. Kids will especially like the encouragement found in the bug book to go out and collect creepy-crawlies of all sorts to examine and then release back into the wild.
Luella Sumner is the Chief Librarian of the Red Rock Public Library in Red Rock, Ontario, where she has worked for twenty years.
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