Friday, August 12, 2011

Biology Review

This weekend I’m headed to a high school reunion, and the anticipation has got me thinking back to those years much more than usual.

What do you remember from high school? Hanging out with close friends? Hours each night spent on homework? The daily routine of classes, sports practice, dinner, hitting the books? The Mean Girls (or boys) who made your life miserable? Racking up hours spent practicing an instrument and going to lessons? Hogging your family’s sole phone line? Slogging through or goofing off at your part-time job?

(Personally: yes to just about all of those.)

What about these: biology? Chemistry? American literature? Spanish or French grammar? Civics? How to sew a big Stuff Bag?

For me, detailed information in those areas is often harder to recall. But one of the things I love about being an editor is that I get to refresh my memory in a wide range of subjects from season to season. Generally, in my research for a book, I relearn a lot of what I once knew on the topic, and I learn some new, interesting facts as well. Working on Millbrook’s Alice Ray and the Salem Witch Trials was a great review of a chapter in U.S. history that always always fascinated me. For the Lerner title Materials Science, I had (ahem) a bit more brand-new info to learn. 

Biology is one area where I can always use some review.  (The first things that come to mind from ninth-grade biology class are how intimidating my teacher was and how the room smelled of formaldehyde the entire week we dissected fetal pigs.)  Working on Lerner’s new fall set of Lightning Bolt Books – Animal Look-Alikes gave a nice balance of review and fascinating new knowledge, without the smell.

Animal Look-Alikes books compare and contrast two similar animals through bright, clear photos and engaging text geared toward second-grade readers. The distinctions in physical features, habitat, life cycle, diet, and behavior help students learn what makes every animal unique, as well as what ties animal groups together. Do YOU remember how to tell a dolphin from a porpoise or a bee from a wasp? These books will jog your memory—or finally clarify what the differences are!

 
Which has spade-shaped teeth: dolphin or porpoise?
Which has hair on its body: bee or wasp?
Whose spots are rose-shaped: leopard or cheetah?

Check out this series for more ways to tell these look-alikes apart!

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