August2017 Booklist 53 www.booklistonline.com
Rice Krispies treats) and green-tinged Booger Sticks and Slime Cocktail. Zombie-Gut Chili twists classic dinners with recipes for Maggot
Burgers and Monster-Skin Mac and Cheese. Each entry opens with
standard safety tips (get an adult’s help!) and a metric conversion chart
and closes with instructions on the cleanup process. There’s also a helpful reminder to sanitize props (e.g., the fake eyeball and plastic spider
“garnishes”) before placing them near the food. The gross-out factor
alone will have young chefs heading to the kitchen. —Maggie Reagan
LOOK SERIES. DK. PRES–GR. 2. ( 2 TITLES).
Look I’m a Cook. Ed. by Hélène Hilton. Illus. by Rachael Parfitt
Hunt. 2017. 48p. $12.99 (9781465459640). 641.5123.
Look I’m a Scientist. Ed. by Hélène Hilton. Illus. by Rachael Parfitt
Hunt. 2017. 48p. $12.99 (9781465459633). 507.8.
Boasting full-color photos, fun projects, and open-ended questions
that playfully encourage critical thinking, titles in the Look series
offer little ones great ideas for active learning. The projects in Look
I’m a Cook range in difficulty from a bowl of yogurt topped with
strawberries, mint, and honey to more challenging recipes, such as
baked meringues and homemade bread. Frequent “adult alerts” helpfully signal when kiddos will need adult help or supervision, and each
step is clearly illustrated with large photos. Although the projects in
Look I’m a Scientist aren’t always as clearly explained, the emphasis on
experimentation instead of mere demonstration is a welcome feature.
For instance, directions for a classic vinegar-and-baking-soda experiment encourage kids to try different amounts of each ingredient and
note how the results change. Each book opens with a discussion of
senses and how they help in perception, and inset boxes pose targeted questions about how the projects feel, sound, smell, and so on.
This focus on observation will help kids transcend simply following
directions and get them paying more attention to cause and effect.
In addition to its classroom applications, this series’ approachable
projects and lively illustrated layouts make it appealing for casual
readers, too. —Sarah Hunter
MATHEMATICS READERS: LEVEL 3 SERIES. TEACHER
CREATED MATERIALS. GR. 2–4. ( 20 TITLES).
Amazing Animals: Wild Whales; Addition and Subtraction. By
Melissa Pioch. 2017. 32p. illus. paper, $8.99 (9781480757950).
Fun and Games: Clockwork Carnival; Measuring Time. By Wendy
Conklin. 2017. 32p. illus. paper, $8.99 (9781480758056). 529.
The History of Victorian Innovations: Equivalent Fractions. By
Saskia Lacey. 2017. 32p. illus. paper, $8.99 (9781480758032). 338.
Travel Adventures: Carlsbad Caverns; Identifying Arithmetic
Patterns. By Dona Herweck Rice. 2017. 32p. illus. paper, $8.99
These books in the Mathematics Readers: Level 3 series are clearly
intended for classroom, rather than independent, use. Math questions appear in sidebars and in “Problem Solving” and “Math Talks”
pages at the end of each book. Reluctant math students may be inspired by the links to real-world situations as well as the nonfiction
story in each book. The books cover a variety of interesting topics in
both the natural and human-made world, though not all of the texts
and mathematical concepts are a natural match. Amazing Animals
succeeds best when the addition and subtraction problems focus on
tracking groups of whales, rather than just using them as props in
word problems. Fun and Games has the most successfully integrated
story; written in the second person, it invites students to calculate
time durations and make choices about various fun carnival activities. Some of the diagrams in The History of Victorian Innovations
relate easily to the text—simple architectural plans for a grand exhibit hall, for instance—but others feel more forced—such as oil
lamps filled to different levels. Travel Adventures stretches a bit to
situate patterns involving addition and multiplication within a visit
to these amazing caves full of stalagmites and stalactites. Appropriate
photos and historical images add interest to the text. Although not
perfect, these books would be good classroom tools for interdisciplinary learning. —Miriam Aronin
A TRUE BOOK: THE MOST ENDANGERED SERIES.
SCHOLASTIC/CHILDREN’S PRESS. GR. 3–5. ( 5 TITLES).
Big Cats. By Katie Marsico. 2017. 48p. illus. paper, $7.95
(9780531232774); lib. ed., $29 (9780531227268). 599.75.
Elephants. By Katie Marsico. 2017. 48p. illus. paper, $7.95
(9780531232781); lib. ed., $29 (9780531227275). 599.67.
Gorillas. By Katie Marsico. 2017. 48p. illus. paper, $7.95
(9780531232798); lib. ed., $29 (9780531227282). 599.884.
Rhinos. By Katie Marsico. 2017. 48p. illus. paper, $7.95
(9780531232804); lib. ed., $29 (9780531227299). 599.66.
Readers will meet some of the world’s most vulnerable animal species in the A True Book: The Most Endangered series, which takes
a conservationist stance in its discussion of these creatures and the
threats they face. Each four-chapter volume offers a succinct overview
of the animal’s key traits and habitat as well as the forces endangering
its survival and efforts being undertaken to protect it. Because it covers
so many different felines (seven), Big Cats suffers slightly from being
overly general (and from one misprinted statistic); however, readers
learn that fierce predators like lions, tigers, cougars, and jaguars are
frequently victims of poaching and habitat loss. Gorillas highlights
how the World Wildlife Fund assists local efforts to safeguard gorillas from poachers. Both Elephants and Rhinos draw attention to the
ivory trade, but Elephants also points to the elephant’s importance as a
keystone species, while Rhinos takes readers into South Africa’s Rhino
Orphanage. Crisp photos, maps, or charts appear alongside reader-friendly text, and several titles address the negative impact of poverty
and human conflict on animal populations, giving added scope to
the books. Finally, each closes with “The Big Debate,” which poses a
divisive issue related to its subject, and tips on getting involved with
conservation and awareness. A nice big-picture resource for young
researchers or animal advocates. —Julia Smith