Bubble Homes and Fish Farts by Fiona Bayrock illustrated by Carolyn Conahan

I saw this book on display at the library and it spoke to me. “Take me home, your kids will love me!” I paused for a moment and thought to myself, “Do I really need this book?” I recalled a dinner conversation (or should I say argument?) that we had once while my husband was out of town. It was all about farts and whether or not cows or horses do it (yes, they do) and whether or not lots of other animals do. We finally had to resort to good old internet sources (wikipedia, anyone?) to solve the argument because my two oldest boys were sure that they were each right and that I didn’t know what I was talking about. So, as they finished their dinner, I looked up farting on the internet. To make a long story short, we learned a lot about digestion that night.

Bubbles are very useful! In the animal kingdom they are used for fishing, keeping warm, breathing, sailing, running. . . it’s amazing how many different uses bubbles have. For Herring, FaRTs (Fast Repetitive Ticks) are just another way of communicating.

I enjoyed all the useful information in this book. Bubble Homes and Fish Farts would make a very fun classroom tool. Each page spread is focused on one animal and its use of bubbles so it could easily be read a page or two at a time over the length of a fun science unit. Fiona definitely knows how to write about one of her loves which is “way cool science”. You can find more out about her at www.fionabayrock.com and you can learn more about the great illustrations by Carolyn Conahan at http://www.carolyndigbyconahan.com.



Don’t Be Afraid Little Pip by Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman

Little Pip is an adorable penguin who yearns to fly. Children may well recognize themselves in her stubborn refusal to try swimming. A fun lyrical adventure about trying something new for the first time. Filled with beautiful illustrations that bring summer and swimming lessons to mind. You need to check this book out if you are planning swimming lessons for a reluctant swimmer. 

My son really enjoyed the lyrical poems that Little Pip’s mentors coached her with, which made this such a great read-aloud.  We had a nice little discussion afterwards about how sometimes we are afraid to try new things. Just like Pip was afraid to try swimming. Although Pip wasn’t afraid to try flying, but I think that was because flying was something more familiar to her- she’d seen birds flying around before, but it’s hard to see what goes on in the deep dark depths of the ocean unless you actually go down there. My little guy was sure Pip was afraid of octopuses and whales and sharks and that’s why she didn’t want to swim. That actually makes sense. Kids sure are smart!

How do you help your kids try new things?