Monday, November 22, 2010

NonFiction Monday: KidsCan Press

Ultimate Trains (Machines of the Future) Dewey  385
Ultimate Trains written by Peter McMahon, illustrated by Andy Mora. KidsCan Press, 2010 (review copy from publisher)

Peter McMahon sees trains as an important part of transportation's future.  Touting them as a greener alternative to airplanes and cars he tracing the history of trains from their horse drawn days, through steam engines, diesel and on to magnetic levitation designs.   The quest for power and speed is reviewed, accompanied by clean-line illustrations and diagrams by Andy Mora.  

Hands-on experiments to illustrate the concepts in the book include, "Steam Engine in a Salad Bowl," "Riding the Rails," "Make your Own Electromagnet," and "Making a Maglev Test Track." There are templates of tracks and trains to photocopy (please, don't cut up the library book.) All the experiments are very do-able  with parental help to acquire wires, copper tubing, nails, batteries and other sundry supplies.  The final project, "Make a Working Maglev Model" requires lumber and Lexan (polycarbonate) which is more challenging. Detailed plans and photos of the projects are available on the KidsCanpress website
This is the first book in  a Machines of the Future series.

Looking Closely in the Rain ForestDewey:  578.734

Looking Closely in the Rain Forest by Frank Serafini.  KidsCan Press, 2010  (review copy from publisher)

Frank Serafini's Looking Closely series includes habitats like the forest, the shore, the desert, the pond, and the garden in addition to the rain forest. 

Animals, flowers, plants, insects and birds are examined in close-up detail. Only part of the photo is exposed on one page as the reader is invited to guess what the page turn will reveal.  Intense red color with a feathery texture is unmasked to be a hibiscus flower.  A few facts about the subject accompany the full page+ photographs.  The vivid photographs are high resolution and close up.  Good white space and a well sized typeface invite all reading levels to learn more about the rain forest. 

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