Book Review: Bubble Homes and Fish Farts by Fiona Bayrock

The best in children’s literature, selected by Jim Whiting.

Fiona Bayrock

Fiona Bayrock writes about way cool science from her home in rural British Columbia, Canada. Her previous books, all quirky science for kids, are used in classrooms or available via Scholastic subscription.

Her work also appears regularly in children’s magazines such as Highlights for Children, YES Mag, KNOW, and Odyssey. Over the years, Fiona has chased questions through most of the “ologies,” talking to scientists around the world about all kinds of neat stuff, and then sharing what she finds with the most curious beings on the planet—kids. You can visit her at: http://www.fionabayrock.com.

Real-world science meets tongue-in-cheek humor in this nonfiction picture book about the amazing ways animals use bubbles. Sixteen spreads each highlight a different animal and its remarkable bubble behavior—from dolphins and humpback whales to frogs, bugs, and, yes, fish farts (scientists think herring use them to communicate. Go figure.).

Bubbles are for breathing, fishing, talking, riding, keeping warm, and even shooting hoops! Who knew animals used bubbles in so many ways? Lighthearted conversational text and full-bleed watercolor illustration will introduce young readers to the wonder of animals and their bubbly survival.

Special appeal to: children who love animals and nature

Bubble Homes and Fish Farts

Charlesbridge, February 1, 2009

Nonfiction picture book, ages 6-10

48 pages, $16.95

Illustrated by Carolyn Conahan (staff artist for Cricket Magazine)

A Junior Library Guild Premiere Selection

I think this is a book that will help grandparents bridge the generation gap. It’s a book about bubbles, so the farting is a very small part and scientifically explained (scientists think the fish do it to communicate, go figure!)—kids get their laugh, grandparents look cool (my grandma bought me a book with “fart” in the title!), but it doesn’t push things too far and become unacceptable to adults.

REVIEWS:

Kirkus:

“Bayrock’s love of “way cool science” bubbles over in this surprisingly substantial book. . . Lively expository prose. . . a volume that’s sure to rise to the top.”

Junior Library Guild:

“Bayrock’s writing is dynamic, with onomatopoeic language and kid-friendly comparisons to engage and inform.”

The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Literature:

“If most children think bubbles are for blowing or bubbles are for

bathing, Bayrock is here with a paradigm shift…

The Miss Rumphius Effect…by a Teacher of Teachers

“…an all-out fun-fest of animal bubbleology…well-researched,

thoroughly engaging…”

Links to full reviews:

http://www.fionabayrock.com/reviews.htm

http://jkrbooks.typepad.com/blog/2009/03/bubble-homes-and-fish-farts-fiona-bayrock.html

http://missrumphiuseffect.blogspot.com/2009/02/nonfiction-monday-bubble-homes-and-fish.html

For more information about Jim, please see www.jimwhiting.com. To inquire about availability of specific titles or to send a comment, write him at jimruns3@gmail.com.

 

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