Can science be up close and personal for the elementary scientist? The answer is yes, it can! There are 24 total books in the "Look Once, Look Again!" science series divided into two areas, "Exploring Plants and Animals" and "Exploring Habitats." Each title is designed to excite young readers and stimulate their curiosity about science. Dynamic close up photographs coupled with a short question or comment draw the reader curiously into the subject. With a turn of the page, yet another excellent picture and a short commentary answer the question posed in the young reader's mind. On his website it states that Mr. Schwartz likes to spend much of his time finding unusual, whimsical ways to make math and science come alive for kids and teachers. It certainly shows here! I was greatly impressed with the quality and beauty of these books. They definitely have kid appeal!
I received for review 5 of the "Look Once, Look Again!" books. "Animal Noses" includes close ups of the noses (what else?) of a rattlesnake, a dog, a boy, a weevil, a luna moth, an elephant and a barred owl. At the end of the book there is a short picture quiz to see if you can recognize whose nose is who's? "At the Seashore" features a sea urchin, a herring gull, barnacles, a crab, a sea star, seaweed, and driftwood. Again, a picture quiz finishes off the book asking you to identify the pictures. "At the Farm" showcases some childhood favorites such as a sheep, a rooster, a mouse, a goat, a horse, a pig, and a duck. "In the Forest" highlights a chipmunk, a box turtle, ferns, a bull moose, a cercropia moth, an ermine, and a white birch. "Plant Blossoms" pictures an apple tree, cosmos, grass, dandelion (what child hasn't brought you a bouquet of these?), foxglove, white birch, and pussy willows.
The "Exploring Plants & Animals" series includes: Animal Fur & Feathers, Animal Mouths, Animal Noses, Animal Tails, Animal Skin & Scales, Animal Eyes, Animal Feet, Animal Ears, Plant Stem & Roots, Plant Fruits & Seeds, Plant Blossoms, and Plant Leaves. The "Exploring Habitats" study consists of the following titles: In the Meadow, In the Park, Among the Flowers, In the Garden, At the Seashore, In the Desert, At the Pond, Underfoot, At the Zoo, In the Forest, In a Tree, and At the Farm. Each set of 12 paperback books retails for $36.00. Books may also be purchased separately for $3.00 each. I have often seen books of this caliber to retail for $4.95 or $5.95. Two teacher's guides (one for each area) are available at $9.95 each.
In addition, Mr. Schwartz offers a "Life Cycles" series which I did not preview. It includes the following titles: Monarch Butterfly, Ladybug, Jumping Spider, Green Snake, Bean, Sunflower, Wood Frog, Chicken, Horse, Maple Tree, Green Snake, and Fighting Fish. It retails for the same amount as above.
I really enjoyed these books. They will stimulate a love for science in your child without much effort on your part. I did not examine the teacher's manual, but I am sure with it and the help of your public library you could easily turn any of the sets into a year of "creative" science study. Add a nature notebook and you are ready to do it Charlotte Mason style. Log on to www.davidschwartz.com today and make learning "fun" again!