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We were sent 5 books from Sylvan Dell’s Fall 2013 elementary science releases.  I’m really loving how kids can learn from engaging books without me having to make a whole unit study out of it.  These books are perfect both ways, actually.

We received the following titles:

All these books were great in their own way!  I don’t know that they count as Charlotte Mason living books, per se, but I think they fit pretty well since they gently introduce a subject without being textbooky.  These are all illustrated fiction as well since I didn’t request the photographic books.  My kids are totally uninterested in those.  If yours ARE interested in books with photos, they are starting to branch more into those, so do check them out!

The Fort on Fourth Street is a story of building a fort in a ‘The House That Jack Built’ style.  It covers all 6 simple machines (wheel & axel, inclined plane, screw, lever, wedge & pulley).  Each page has 4 lines of rhyming verse and as it gets going it has the summary of the machines:

Grandpa’s saw cuts the wood,
Making each piece fit as it should.

And my wagon makes a squeaky sound,
When the wheels go round and round,

Pulled by the hands that use
The simple machines to build
The fort on fourth street.

Amazingly enough, my (almost) 6 year old girl loves this one best.  I think she really wants a fort :).  I would imagine that boys would REALLY like it.

The next favorite is A Day in the Deep.  After watching Wild Kratts & Finding Nemo, they are familiar with ocean animals and the strange ones that live down low.  This is another rhyming one.  I love that the ones that rhyme are really well done.  They really are a joy to read.  The illustrations are pretty dark because they go to the bottom of the ocean where it’s pretty dark and the critters down there are pretty weird so sensitive littles may not enjoy it.  Just a warning.

The  Perfect Pet was the other favored book from the Fall 2013 Sylvan Dell releases.  Another rhyming book (isn’t that something ;D), this one is a fun story of a child trying to decide what pet to get.  Of course it starts with the ludicrous and gets more normal.  And after thinking about the work a dog is, ends up at the plant store!  Love that twist (no pets here either). Ahem.  This book contains a light introduction to taxonomy (kingdom, phylum, class, etc.).  This was really a delightfully written story by Samantha Bell and a hit for her SD debut.

Dino Tracks is another rhyming story about how dinosaur tracks were/are discovered as well as things we can learn about dinosaurs by looking at them.  As much as they love Dinosaur Train, I thought this would interest them more than it did.  It does have very realist Dino illustrations as opposed to cartoony ones.  Maybe that’s why?

Anyway, Anybody Home? is a cute story about a possum looking for a home.  She asks all over the forest and we learn about babies and common critter homes.  In the end, she comes full circle back to the tree and a recently vacated home.  At the end in the learning pages, there is even a map of her travels, complete with compass rose & a grid to locate homes.

If you’ve never looked at the Sylvan Dell’s early educational science books, they are fabulous!  The end contains 3-6 pages of extra learning materials to dig deeper.  If your child is REALLY into it, they have downloadable worksheets for all subjects, but related to the subject matter.  I can’t wait to share 3 new books from their Spring 2014 lineup.

Stay tuned!

Interested in other titles?   Check out our other reviews:

Fall 2012, Part I
Fall 2012, Part 2
Spring 2013

Jen S.


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