Oh, summertime, when the kids are in my hair 24/7. At least my eldest child has neighborhood friends to play with: my two youngest, being shyer and on the autism spectrum, have a harder time finding safe things they want to do. Fortunately, Gail Gibbons has a wonderful solution to help parents entertain their kids while reinforcing scientific concepts and allowing kids and parents alike to explore the great outdoors.
Going over much of the same basic information that kids (at least in my home state of Maryland) learn in their elementary education, both the Monarch Butterfly and From Seed To Plant workbooks serve to discuss insect and plant life cycles in an engaging manner that appeals to the artist in every kid. They also sneakily include exercises to work on skills that may need strengthening, whether in handwriting or in math. The books are written in a lively manner that doesn’t talk down to the reader, with every page or two-page spread having some new activity that, while targeted at children, are also interesting for anyone older with a lay interest in science.
Joseph having a slightly more pronounced green thumb than Theo, I gave him the From Seed To Plant Workbook, while handing the Monarch Butterfly book to his brother. Both children immediately enjoyed going through the books, which are brightly illustrated but leave plenty of room for coloring. Theo and I actually quite liked the feel of colored pencils on the not-too-smooth texture of his workbook’s paper. In fact, much of the simple coloring blends in smoothly with the art throughout, done in Ms Gibbons’ trademark style.
And while these books are targeted at kids in kindergarten and first grade, they’re also good for slightly older and/or reluctant readers, as my twins are. Joseph and Theo enjoy going over stuff they’ve already learned and finding new and interesting aspects on subjects that are familiar to them. They do prefer going over these in my company — if left to themselves, they’ll definitely run off to do something that doesn’t involve reading books — but it’s a nice way to spend a little quiet, educational time together.
Speaking of educational, these are excellent tools for homeschooling, hewing as closely as they do to US Core Curriculum standards. Precocious, inquisitive preschoolers may also enjoy learning from these, tho I’m personally impressed that they expect kindergarteners to cover all this stuff already! That said, I’m looking forward to completing the books with my kids and signing off on the certificates in the back, which are a nice touch for kids who like to work for rewards. Highly recommended for any children in the 5-8 age range with an interest in biology.
Gail Gibbons’ From Seed To Plant Workbook and Monarch Butterfly Workbook by Gail Gibbons were published January 11 2022 by Holiday House and are available from all good booksellers, including