Science Bloggers for Students DonorsChoose Challenge

Monday, September 07, 2009

Book Review: Puzzle of the Platypus

In fulfillment of my duties as a member of the Animal Behavior Society’s Outstanding Children’s Book Award committee I present one of the finalists for this year’s award.


Title: The Puzzle of the Platypus: And Other Explorations of Science in Action
Author: Jack Myers
Illustrator: John Rice
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press


It isn’t often that children get a chance to read fun stories about science and scientists. The scientific process can be hard to explain to students and it often they failed to comprehend how scientists follow their curiosity to solve problems and learn more about animals and nature. But I suppose it takes a scientist who appreciates the joys and challenge of science discovery to present these tales with wonder and creativity. Dr. Myers, a biologist and science writer, served as the science editor Highlights for Children Magazine writing numerous science stories for the periodical. This book is a collection of eleven of his most touching stories of animal behavior and science discovery. Each story is an account of current animal behavior research from science journals and text books translated into four-to-six page short articles with original illustrations for young readers. The introductory illustration for each story is a fun summary of the story with colorful accompanying illustrations that detail the work of the scientists. This book introduces readers to a variety of animals from around the world including hibernating polar bears, enigmatic platypuses, gregarious cliff swallows, clever crows, and deducing dolphins. For students who are warming to reading, this book offers short, yet engaging stories for active little minds who find it hard to read an entire book in one-sitting. Youth can revisit the book several times to enjoy the pictures, read the stories, and reflect on the scientific challenges and successes of each tale.
Ideal for students in grades 3-6 and great story-time book for younger students.

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