What's more fun than wondering?

I wonder what stars are made of.

I wonder what makes rivers flow.

I wonder what elephants dream.

Will these books tell you? They might, or maybe they’ll lead you to new wonderings of your own.

Yours with snorts,

S. Will Burr signature

Our Family Tree: An Evolution Story
By Peters, Lisa Westberg
Illustrator Stringer, Lauren

CCBC Choices - 2004
The roots of a family tree reach back millions of years to the beginning of life on earth. Open this family album and embark on an amazing journey to meet some old relatives—from both the land and the sea. Full color.

Cooperative Children's Book Center Review
"All of us are part of an old, old family. The roots of our family tree reach way back to the beginning of life on earth." Lisa Westberg Peters's poetic narrative begins with a description of "tiny round cells in the deep, dark sea" and follows the course of human evolution. An effective pattern of contrast and compare highlights differences and similarities of each stage in the evolutionary process to the way humans are today: "On the outside, we still had scales...On the inside, we had lungs to breathe oxygen, like we do now." The poetic text is grounded in science, with more detailed scientific information provided in a two-page section that follows the main narrative. A timeline is also included. Lauren Stringer's deep-hued palette gives a lush feel to the artwork for this singular volume.

©2004, All rights reserved, Cooperative Children's Book Center

You Can't Take a Balloon Into the Metropolitan Museum
By Weitzman, Jacqueline Preiss
Author Preiss Glasser, Robin

CCBC Choices - 1998
New York City and its famed Metropolitan Museum of Art provide the setting for a crazy collision of art and city life in an inventive picture book about a little girl's trip to the museum and the parallel journey of her runaway yellow balloon.

Cooperative Children's Book Center Review
A little girl with a yellow balloon goes with her grandmother to the museum for the afternoon. The balloon has to be left with a guard at the museum entrance. The balloon blows away while the two are inside viewing many exhibits, glimpses of which are shown to readers. The yellow sphere travels across Manhattan through Central Park, in and out of the Plaza Hotel, and to a Lincoln Center stage where the opera "Aida" is being performed. Hundreds of people of all ages and walks of life can be seen throughout these wordless scenarios. They look disarmingly like people in Manhattan on an ordinary afternoon. The guard chases the balloon. In a madcap dash an ever-growing line of balloon rescuers returns to the museum just as the child and her grandmother appear. The book's inside joke for observant children is the images on the paintings, sculptures, pottery, and period clothing seen on display by our grandma and granddaughter in the museum are similar to what can be seen on the streets of New York City. It's fun to discover the parallels, and it's also fun for older readers to identify the actual works of art to which some of the illustrations make reference. A list of the latter is at the end of this delightful 11 1/4" square, wordless book, which will serve in years to come as a chronicle of the late 1990s in the Big Apple. (Ages 3-8)  

Owl Moon
By Yolen, Jane
Illustrator Schoenherr, John

This timeless and beautiful classic—the winner of the 1988 Caldecott Medal—celebrates its 20th anniversary with this edition featuring letters from Yolen and Schoenherr and a stunning silvery cover.

Publisher Comments
"Owl Moon," the timeless and beautiful award-winning classic, is celebrating its twentieth year of charming and delighting children the world over. This touching story of a child and parent finding magic and adventure in a simple, snowy nighttime search for the great horned owl won the Caldecott Award in 1988. With letters from author Jane Yolen and artist John Schoenherr, and a stunning silvery cover, this celebratory edition is a treasure for longtime fans, and introduces a whole new generation to this beautiful book.

Anno's Counting Book
By Anno, Mitsumasa
Illustrator Anno, Mitsumasa

"An excellent introduction to number systems that is a beautiful wordless picture book as well... Over the course of a year (each picture represents a month and time of day) a little town grows up with viewers witnessing the building of bridges, streets, and railroads... Extraordinary lovely artwork. "—School Library Journal. ALA Notable Children's Book.

Publisher Comments
Every child is a natural mathematician, according to Mitsumasa Anno. Children start to count long before they learn their ABC's, for they are constantly comparing and classifying things and events they observe around them. As they try to bring sense and order into what they observe, they are actually performing basic mathematical feats.

In this book, Mitsumasa Anno, the creator of the brilliantly inventive Anno's Alphabet, invites young readers on another stimulating adventure of the imagination-this time into the world of numbers and counting. Gentle watercolor pictures show a landscape changing through the various times of day and the turning seasons, months and years, and the activities of the people and animals who come to live there. But the seemingly simple plan of the book is deceptive: look more carefully and you will see one-to-one correspondences; groups and sets; scales and tabulations; changes over time periods; and many other mathematical relationships as they occur in natural, everyday living. Just as our forebears developed our number system from observing the order of nature, the reader is subtly led to see and understand the real meaning of numbers.

Look at this book and look again. Each time you do so, you will find another application of a natural mathematical concept that you had not noticed before.

Me and My Place in Space
By Sweeney, Joan
Illustrator Cable, Annette

Following the successful model of "Me on the Map," the same young girl character uses simple language, her own childlike drawings, and diagrams to explain how the moon, sun, and the earth and the other planets are all part of our solar system, how the solar system is part of the universe, and where they all are in relation to each other. Full color.

Publisher Comments
Following the successful model of Me on the Map, the same young girl character uses simple language, her own childlike drawings, and diagrams to explain how the moon, sun, earth and the other planets are all a part of the our solar system, how that solar system is a part of the universe, and where they all are in relation to each other. Clear, colorful, detailed artwork, changing perspective, and a glossary help make space understandable to very young readers.