A Shell is Cozy, by Dianna Hutts Aston/Illustrated by Sylvia Long, (May 2023, Chronicle Books), $18.99, ISBN: 9781797212470
Enjoy a study on the world of shells in the newest entry in Aston and Long’s Nature Books series. Ink and watercolor illustrations bring the many types of shells to life; Aston moves between brief and meaningful observations – “A shell is cozy”; “A shell is everywhere”; “A shell is athletic” – and more informative explanations to explain her observations. Cursive font poses the initial observations; smaller, print text the explanations. Each shell is labeled, helping facilitate understanding and knowledge. Aston writes to educate and to delight, including facts like jazz musician Steve Turre using “the same shell instrument… as his Aztec ancestors did…”, or that sea scallops “clap” their shells to swim away from predators. A great addition to a long-standing, popular natural world series.
Create an activity pack with a seek and find sheet from Education.com, a set of seashell identification cards from Cara Ratner on TeachersPayTeachers, and this field journal from the American Museum of Natural History.
A Beetle is Shy, by Dianna Hutts Aston/Illustrated by Sylvia Long, (May 2023, Chronicle Books), $7.99, ISBN: 9781797215877
The softcover edition of the 2016 book, A Beetle is Shy, hits shelves this week and is a good choice for libraries that need a backup or whose budgets are facing some challenges. Here, Aston and Long introduce readers to the many types of beetles: their life cycles, their sizes, where and how they live. They touch on the beetle’s prehistoric origins, with a beautiful rendering of beetles preserved in amber, and discuss the many areas of the world where beetles are on the menu! The ink and watercolor art is breathtaking, with vibrant colors truly showing off beetle’s jewel-like appearances. Scripted verse observations, like “A beetle is tasty”; “A beetle is prehistoric”; “A beetle is a digger… a runner… a hopper… or a swimmer” lead to brief informational text to explain. A great addition to your nature, STEM, and insect collection.
Do you have bug fans, or want to do a program on insects? You can put together a fun learning activity pack with this Beetle Mania activity from Education.com, a beetle coloring sheet, also from Education.com, a Build a Stag Beetle activity from Teaching Resources by AJ, and a beetle lifecycle activity sheet from itsMamaMiller, both from TeachersPayTeachers. DK has a good Beetle Facts for Kids webpage, and NatGeo Kids has fact pages on both the stag beetle and the dung beetle.