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How Things Work

Have you ever wondered how a building stands or how a crab and sea anemone can work together? Ever thought about how gravity works, how wood and sticks are different from glass and plastic, or how a small seed can blossom into a huge tree? These and other wonders are explored in the books suggested here, just right to inspire and inform.

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

Built to Last

By: David Macaulay
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Three books, each a sophisticated examination at how structures were built — a cathedral, castle, and mosque — have been revised, refreshed with current information, and put in one volume. The author/illustrator's work is complex but will intrigue young readers especially if shared with an adult.

How a Seed Grows

By: Helene Jordan
Illustrated by: Loretta Krupinski
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

How a tiny seed can grow into an enormous plant (think acorn) is introduced through crisp text and effective illustrations. Suggested activities are easily doable (though adult help is required) and support concepts introduced.

How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships

By: Robin Page, Steve Jenkins
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Unlikely animals work together to the benefit of both as do more usual pairings such as dogs and people. How and why these relationships work is detailed in brief text and handsome collage illustration.

I Fall Down

By: Vicki Cobb
Illustrated by: Julia Gordon
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Activities suggested are easy and engaging for young children and an adult. This title from the Science Play series — intended for the youngest budding scientist — uses conversational language and uncluttered illustrations to encourage further observation and experimentation.

Imaginative Inventions

By: Charise Mericle Harper
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A lively, brief, rhyming look at various inventions and the people who created them weaves together with the author's speculation about what might have been behind the brainchild. Fact and fancy combine to motivate a new generation of inventors!

Oscar and the Snail: A Book About Things That We Use

By: Geoff Waring
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Oscar, a curious kitten, learns more about why sticks and twigs are used by birds and other materials are used differently. As with other books in the Start with Science series, Oscar's science explorations are just right for younger children and may launch further exploration.

Pop! A Book About Bubbles

By: Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Illustrated by: Margaret Miller
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Have you ever wondered why bubbles are round? And why they pop? These and other questions are asked and answered in accessible language and crisp, full color photographs. Many easy-to-do science activities are suggested (to be done with adult help).

So You Want to Be an Inventor?

By: Judith St. George
Illustrated by: David Small
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Ever wonder who invented the first dishwasher? How about Ben Franklin's inventions? Need and inspiration seem to be the basis of all inventions, a principle used to organize this fascinating glimpse of myriad inventions and the people who invented them.

Transformed: How Everyday Things Are Made

By: Bill Slavin
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Look at how everything from baseballs to ice cream to peanut better are made and manufactured — perfect for sharing between an adult and a curious, sophisticated child. A bit of history (and a touch of gross) is included in this fascinating look at everyday items.

Weird but True! 300 Outrageous Facts

By: National Geographic Kids
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Did you know that slugs have "3,000 teeth and 4 noses" or that in "elephants sometimes make purr-like sounds when content"? These and other factoids are presented in a highly designed format just right to amaze and to pique curiosity. An index allows easy access to the brief information.

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"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go." — Dr. Seuss