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Middle-of-the-School-Year Blues

Lee Littlewood on

"Rocket Science for Babies" by Chris Ferrie; Sourcebooks Jabberwocky; 24 pages; $9.99.

Though this new series' titles sound above and beyond what babies really need to learn, the books are cool and fun. Most educators think teaching children science and technology concepts early is crucial, and so, Jabberwocky created "Baby University," a board book series introducing math and science.

Physicist and mathematician Chris Ferrie thinks young children can say "hippopotamus, so why not teach them to say proton, neutron or electron?" The big, sturdy board books offer simple movements and concepts and graphics about black holes and gravitational pull and Newton's laws of motion. Parents will enjoy the tongue-in-cheek humor and mod illustrations. Others in the series are "Quantum Physics for Babies," "Newtonian Physics for Babies" and "General Relativity for Babies." Many more are soon to be released.

"If Sharks Disappeared" by Lily Williams; Roaring Brook Press; 36 pages; $17.99.

A timely picture book for summertime, Lily Williams introduces both sharks and overfishing in this plea to keep oceans healthy. Sharks have a bad lot in life; not only do many people find them scary and, thus, unimportant but their fins and meat are highly coveted. Williams explains the importance of sharks to oceans, how devastating it would be to lose these "tops of the food chain" animals and what would happen if they were to become extinct, which would eventually lead to the demise of even land animals.

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Though a dire topic, Williams manages to keep the pages colorful and the feel hopeful with a foldout poster-sized page with a healthy underwater scene. She ends with a reminder that we are all connected and need to work together so that "what once seemed so scary, isn't so scary after all," accompanied by depictions of smiling sharks swimming happily. A glossary explains terms such as "plankton" and "ecosystem" and "trophic cascade." There's a "How You Can Help Save Sharks" at the end, which gives young children empowering actions. Let's save sharks!


To find out more about Lee Littlewood, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



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