Nonfiction Monday: How Things Work in the Yard by Lisa Campbell Ernst
Some nonfiction thinks big, covering iconic figures from history, complex concepts, and the world’s greatest, best, and most amazing. With her picture book How Things Work in the Yard, Lisa Campbell Ernst (Round Like a Ball) balances the scale in the other direction by thinking small, shedding light on a world many children see every day. The result is easy on the eyes and informative – isn’t that the goal?
Dirt, butterflies, dandelions, birds – How Things Work in the Yard covers 20 things kids might encounter in their own yards. Each two page spread is devoted to a different topic, with the exception of a couple closely-related pairs (hose and sprinkler, for example) that share a spread. Short bursts of text keep things lively as diagrams point out important facts. The explanations of each topic are clear and simple. This will work well for most readers, but the truly detail-oriented child may need to seek out additional information.
The beautifully rich cut paper illustrations are a sight to see. Ernst’s take on things – even something as common as a dandelion – had me examining the page up close.
Everything is set against a graph paper background, lending a scientific tone.
Well suited for pleasure reading, kids with a thing for the natural world will be glad they picked this book up.
Review copy from publisher
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.
Filed under: Reviews
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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