Review: Science At Play (Five Mile Press)

Ah, gosh, sometime I wonder why I set myself up for these things! I’ve never written a review before and have often felt intimidated about the whole thing. I’ve made the blogsite though, so I’d better get started. Over the next few weeks I’ll be reviewing some of the books that I’ve been supplied with by publishers and authors alike. All of them will have some links to science…some more tenuous than others! Many of the books will be Trade picture books, which for those not up on publishing terms, essentially means that they are largely available through bookstores. However, I’ll also look at Educational books, which are those primarily developed for use in and marketed to schools.

Today I’m reviewing a small series of books, Science At Play, published by Five Mile Press. First published in 2009, they compise a set of four hardback story books wirtten by Meredith Costain and illustrated by Kate Curtis.

This is an early learning series which introduces children to simple scientific concepts. A simple text links a number of ideas around a central theme, with Molly, Max and their dog ‘Bear’ exploring their world through play.Each page contains a single, simple sentence with a double page spread illustration. It’s the sort of book that a child developing confidence with sentence structure could read for themselves or as part of a class activity. At the back of each book is a set of parent and teacher notes, with a simple experiment which could be completed in the classroom or at home.

Molly’s Rainbow: A rainy day at play, follwed by the sun coming out. Bear and Molly note the appearance and disappearance of a rainbow. Notes at the back discuss how white light from the sun is split as it passes through water droplets. A simple explanation of diffraction and how different colours of light are bent by different amounts.

Bear’s Bright Idea: Bear and Max are playing football at the park. It’s hot, then cold again. Exercise, sweating, goosebumps,wearing clothes and drinking are all discussed in terms of keeping the body temperature constant. Teacher/Parent notes discuss in more detail aspects such as dogs panting to keep cool and why the hairs stand up on our arms to trap heat. Contains an experiment where children can make their own simple thermometer.

Max’s Scooter: Max is learning to use a scooter and needs to apply forces to stop, start and change direction. A very simple discussion of Newton’s Laws, including friction in the teacher/parent notes. Suggested activity is making an obstacle course.

Tango’s Surprise: Max and Molly look at balancing forces as they balance on a see-saw. In this one, I find hte teacher’s notes are a little confusing..objects have mass but this isn’t explained. It’s the science teacher part of me,lol! The notes continue to talk about weitht in terms of balancing forces on the seesaw. Acitivity at the back suggests making a seesaw and making predictions for a number of objects to see which is the heaviest and which is the lightest.

These books would suit the 4-6 early reading age group and gives some fun ideas for the parent or teacher to foster a dialogue about some of the ideas raised.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Review: Science At Play (Five Mile Press)

  1. Hi Cat,
    Congrats on setting up your brand new website,
    These book reviews will be an invaluable resource for teachers looking for a science themed book for young children … Karen 🙂

  2. Cate Metz

    Many thanks Cat, very informative.
    Cate Metz.

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