Daniel Kirk’s picture books have been engaging and enchanting my family since Chugga-Chugga-Choo-Choo, written by Kevin Lewis, became a staple in our home in 1999. Shortly thereafter, Kirk’s authored, illustrated & performed picture book about transportation of all kinds, GO!, went into heavy rotation and remains some of the only music for kids (along with They Might Be Giants) that I can tolerate. During story times as a bookseller, then as an elementary school librarian, his Library Mouse series was essential for entertaining and inspiring. Now, in what feels like a perfectly natural progression, siblings and science squirrels Newton and Curie are here for what I hope is a series of picture books that blend storytelling and STEAM as seamlessly as he presented themes of literacy, research skills and writing in Sam and Sarah, library mice.
At forty pages, Newton and Curie: The Science Squirrels is a bit longer than traditional picture books, which makes sense – there is a lot (but not too much) going on here. Like all good scientific journeys, Newton and Curie: The Science Squirrels starts with curiosity, a question and a desire to learn how the world works. Newton and his little sister Curie happen to hang out in a tree near a school, which both fills them with questions and, through observation, provides them with answers. Seeing kids on a playground swing and wondering why it swings back and forth, Newton gets some ideas as he hears a teacher talk about gravity, force and experiments. Scientific experimentation gives Kirk the perfect opportunity to show the real world execution of what the children in the classroom are being taught. Kirk also shows Newton and Curie experimenting, not getting the expected outcome and experimenting again. A final lesson in simple machines and some bravery on the part of Newton and Curie leads to a robin’s egg rescue and a happy ending – along with a new question from Curie, "I wonder how flying defies gravity?"
Back matter includes an author’s note where Kirk explains why he names his sibling squirrels Newton and Curie, a few paragraphs on "What to discover in this book," a glossary and a final page with resources for readers to learn more!
Just a few of the many books by Daniel Kirk:
May 5, 2021 at 01:06PM Tanya