Summer At The Zoo- a Rabbit Trail Guide

You may have noticed I have a new page up this week for my rabbit trail guides. Right now there is only one and it is called Summer At The Zoo. 

 Have you heard about rabbit trails? Not quite a unit study, not quite for unschooling, not even close to classical education- Rabbit trails in discussions can be fun and exciting, but they usually interfere with resolving the topic at hand. Rabbit Trails in informal learning can lead anywhere.

My guides give you and your kids trails to head down, where you end up and how long you stay up to you. In other words, it is a family based unit study of animals and Zoology comprised of three parts: Zoo visits, library books, and internet research. This “guide” is intended to be mostly fun with a splash of learning. I do plan on publishing several “meatier” unit studies in the future so if you enjoy this share it and spread the word. This one is perfect for a family to use together during the Summer (or anytime) that you visit the zoo.

I write and recommend books for children who live on Earth. If that doesn’t apply to your family, please drop me a line cause I’d like to talk with you! That’s my roundabout way of saying it’s secular. There are nine units included in the guide. None are required, and all are full of fun zoo time alongside engaging books at home. 

 I've listed the chapters below and a brief excerpt because If we learned one thing from the 1980s cartoon G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, it’s that knowing is half the battle. The other half is the battle, and that’s less fun. Knowing is good, though. 

Introduction- page 2

Etymology/Classification/Zoo Life- page 4

The Mountain Stronghold- page 7

Mysterious Africa- page 9

Rainforest/Jungle- page 11

Drylands (desert/prairie)- page 12

Australia- page 14

Above and Below the Sea- page 15

Pets and Farm Animals- page 17

CryptoZoology- page 18

Additional Links/Resources-including printables- page 21

 

Rainforest/Jungle

 

What’s the difference between Jungle and Rainforest?

 

A Jungle is a term people just use when sometimes they mean rainforest. A rainforest is an area that meets specific criteria. There are two types of rainforest biomes: temperate and tropical rainforests. Temperate rainforests are found along coasts in temperate regions. The largest temperate rainforests are on the Pacific coast of North America, stretching from Alaska to Oregon. Other temperate rainforests are found along the coast of Chile, the United Kingdom, Norway, Japan, New Zealand, and S. Australia. Tropical rainforests are found between 30°N and 30°S latitudes, covering 6 - 7% of the Earth’s land surface. Tropical rainforests can be found around the world: In Central and South America; in Western Africa, eastern Madagascar, and the Zaire basin; and in Indo-Malaysia along the west coast of India, Assam, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and Queensland, Australia. In this case, we are looking at Tropical rainforests and the unusual animals that live there.

These are some animals that would be fun to study:

Jaguar  Emerald Tree Boa  Clouded Leopard  Orangutan Fishing Cat  Prevost's Squirrel  Monarch Butterfly

Ideas to ponder:

What are some adaptations that these animals have needed to survive?

What can we do in our everyday lives to keep the rainforest intact?

After that, you'll get book suggestions divided by age from Pre-K to around 6th grade. 

 

 

Brobots And The Kaiju Kefuffle

I wish this were a bit longer. That said the Brobots are pretty hilarious. They had me at the title, anything with kerfuffle in it is sure to be funny.

This band of robot brothers can morph together into a giant robot warrior. They live in Brown (of course they do) and when a giant fire-breathing monster terrorizes their hometown, they come to the rescue. When their first idea doesn't work, the brothers learn the valuable lesson that bigger isn't always better. 


Created by J. Torres (Teen Titans Go!), I think it's a great intro to the graphic novel for younger kids. The panels are big, and it's easy to follow the story from one to the next. The font is large and although it is a complete story the reader won't be overwhelmed with too many words per page.

I could see this becoming a fan favorite among older kids and teens even though it for the 4-8-year-old set. Sean Dove did a fantastic job illustrating the story keeping the monsters just scary enough for the target audience.

Brobots and the Kaiju Kerfuffle by J Torres and Sean Dove is available now with Volume 2 scheduled for August 2017

 

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Jennifer Naughton

I'm a lifelong bibliophile who happens to love children's books and who should have become a librarian. Instead I horde books in case of apocalypse or the enactment of a Fahrenheit 451 type law. My five kids accept my addiction and have learned to accept books in odd places.

Finding Mighty

  This fast-paced mystery about parkour and diamond smuggling was a hit for me. I picked up the uncorrected proof version at ALA, so I'm not sure if the finished edition is the same, but I hope it is. The book setting of New York City is always welcome as well as the way this book features urban art as part of the plot. 

Myla (No one can pronounce her full name) and Peter are twelve-year-old neighbors who tell their story in alternating chapters. Myla buys a necklace with an Om (Sanskrit letter) on it at a street fair, and a creepy guy tries to retrieve it from her. Peter’s brother vanishes, and then their mother insists they move AGAIN. Parallel mysteries narrated by the two main characters intersect as the two meet and (slowly) learn to trust each other. 

It's not a spoiler to author Sheela Chari planted a few red herrings. I thought I had it all figured out a few times and I was wrong. This story has a highly satisfying ending and a facts and fiction section in case the reader wants some clarification on the finer points of the plot.

Finding Mighty May 30, 2017 

Jennifer Naughton

I'm a lifelong bibliophile who happens to love children's books and who should have become a librarian. Instead I horde books in case of apocalypse or the enactment of a Fahrenheit 451 type law. My five kids accept my addiction and have learned to accept books in odd places.

Weird but True! Know it All U.S. Presidents (Nat Geo Kids)

What's weird about US Presidents?  Plenty. Some more than others, of course.

Martin Van Buren helped popularize the phrase OK. His nickname was Old Kinderhook and so his crowds of supporters would chant OK and eventually it became known to mean all correct. 

Back when Zachary Taylor was President the receiver paid the postage and since Taylor didn't like spending money, he didn't always pick up his mail. He didn't find out that he was nominated President until a month after it happened.

As you can see, it's not necessarily "weird" facts, but little-known facts. I enjoyed reading the book and will keep it on our American History shelf. There is a 2-4 page spread on each President except Obama who gets six (He has read all the Harry Potter books aloud to his daughters!) and Trump who got one (detailing how he got his money from his Dad, lost it and earned it back).

This book is image heavy with lots of blurbs and sidebars, it makes it difficult to read through in one sitting, but I think would work well on your shelf to pull down and read alongside your American History study one President at a time.

 

Weird But True Know-It-All: U.S. Presidents Paperback – July 4, 2017

Comment

Jennifer Naughton

I'm a lifelong bibliophile who happens to love children's books and who should have become a librarian. Instead I horde books in case of apocalypse or the enactment of a Fahrenheit 451 type law. My five kids accept my addiction and have learned to accept books in odd places.