Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Book Review: Kids will enjoy 'How Things Work in the Yard'

“How Things Work in the Yard” 
(Big Apple Books, $14.99)
By Lisa Campbell Ernst
Grades 1-3

This summer when your wide-eyed inquisitive child looks up from the garden and asks you why a caterpillar doesn't stay a caterpillar or how a firefly can make its behind light up -- you'll have a fun and enlightening explanation.

"How Things Work In The Yard," by Lisa Campbell Ernst, is a nonfiction book that serves like a field guide for children who might be interested in knowing how things work in their own little world -- namely their back yard. Parents are often drawn to nonfiction books that are filled with amazing facts and elaborate illustrations, but they are frequently more than what a child wants to know. 

Ernst's book reminds me of something a teacher might create for a first- or third-grade field trip to the local farm or nursery. Her colorful illustrations, which liken to construction paper cutouts, provide a whimsical view of her topics while diagrams point out interesting and important facts that children might want to know first.
Everything from rocks and robins to dirt, dandelions, bubbles and the garden hose are featured in the pages of this small but durable little field guide. What's presented here will surely please a questioning child. And is that not the purpose of such a book -- to spark interest? Once a child is hungry for more, there are plenty of nonfiction books to satisfy his or her appetite even further.


The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day -- Albert Einstein

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