The first one is called "The Slowest Book Ever" by April Pulley Sayre. I have to admit the title put me off a bit. Slow? Really? We live in a really fast paced time, why would I want to read about something slow? Because it's awesome, that's why! April put together an entire book of fascinating facts about plants, animals, rocks, and people that are all slow. The book is written in a very conversational style, so it's sort of like having a super interesting friend tell you about all these things. There are lots of graphical elements, kind of cartoony pictures that make the book move very fast. There's a terrific glossary in the back along with reference notes and a very thorough index. I keep thinking of people who might enjoy this one-like my best friend, my dad, I guess I'd better order several copies.
The second one is called "The Inventors of Lego Toys" by Erin Hagar. I know just by the title that my students will be interested in this one, because, really, who doesn't love Legos? We have a Lego club as part of our after school program and the kids really love it but I find adults love Legos too. Even somebody as old as I am has fond memories of playing with Legos. This book is all about Ole Kirk Christansen, who was a Danish carpenter. He also really loved making toys and it turned out that the toys made better money than the carpentry work. It talks about Ole Kirk's work ethic (it's better to make it right than to make it cheaply) as well as some of the terrible tragedies that befell him (his wife died leaving him to raise four boys alone and there were several devastating factory fires). His sons took over the family business and made it into the world wide company it is today. One of the things that's really great about this book is all the pictures and graphical elements. There are diagrams and text boxes and lots of headings. The text is interesting and keeps you turning the pages. AND it's about Legos. I think the kids are going to like this one a lot.
Here's a lovely little animated film that tells about the inventors of Legos.
The last one is another one my students are absolutely going to love. It's called "Masters of Disguise: Amazing Animal Tricksters" by Rebecca L. Johnson. It 10 chapters and each chapter is four pages long. The first two pages have a narrative story about about the animal and how it uses it's camouflage. The second two pages in the chapter tell about the science behind the camouflage and how scientists studied the animals. There are up close pictures of the animals (which you may or may not want to look to closely at. The first one is called an assassin bug and it uses the corpses of it's prey as camouflage. The eeeewww factor on that one alone is totally worth the book) as well as pictures of the scientists who study the animals. There is quite a bit of text on each page, so this one is going to be for bigger kids (upper elementary and middle school).