From the Jurassic to the Goldilocks Zone | General Science Series Nonfiction

What do dinosaurs, teaspoons, and quantum physics have in common? These are just a few of the topics that this season’s books offer to students.

What do dinosaurs, teaspoons, and quantum physics have in common? These are just a few of the topics that this season’s books offer to students. Animals from the ancient past are compared and contrasted. Measurement, shapes, and basic science concepts are explained for the youngest readers. Other titles explore planets, space technology, and the search for extraterrestrial life. Publishers use easily understood diagrams, engaging photos, and a balance of text and images to capture and retain the attention of readers. Ideas for hands-on activities, suggested field trips, and even summer camp experiences extend the learning possibilities. Teachers and students alike will enjoy the journey into new discoveries.



Anderson, Josh. Armored Dinos. ISBN 9781503865211.
––––. Dino Relatives. ISBN 9781503865235.
––––. Duck-Billed Dinos. ISBN 9781503865228.
––––. Fierce Dinos. ISBN 9781503865242.
––––. Horned Dinos. ISBN 9781503865259.
––––. Huge Dinos. ISBN 9781503865266.
––––. Little Dinos. ISBN 9781503865273.
––––. Long-Necked Dinos. ISBN 9781503865280.
––––. Long-Tailed Dinos. ISBN 9781503865297.
––––. Plated Dinos. ISBN 9781503865303.
––––. Speedy Dinos. ISBN 9781503865310.
––––. Toothy Dinos. ISBN 9781503865327.
ea vol: 24p. (Dino Discovery). The Child’s World/Wonder. Jan. 2023. Tr. $31.36.
K-Gr 3 –This series introduces dinosaurs by groups such as armored, horned, etc. Readers may dive into their favorite type of dinos, or work their way through the complete series. Along with illustrations, there are bullet lists of fun facts, and text boxes and captions with extra details. A “What We Know” section covers when and where the creatures lived and were discovered, as well as graphs comparing their size to that of humans. Sidebars address topics for debate, such as whether pterosaurs had feathers. There is also a kid-pleaser showdown between two dinosaurs of the group, which focuses on speed, weakness, and best weapon or defense. Back matter includes a glossary, index, suggestions for books and websites to learn more, and a time line. The “Wonder More” encourages readers to think, talk, and write about what they have learned. VERDICT A good series to replace older titles or expand up-to-date collections.

Katz, Susan B. Color. ISBN 9781728475769.
––––. Light and Shadow. ISBN 9781728475776.
––––. Push and Pull. ISBN 9781728475783.
Miller, Marie-Therese. Simple Machines. ISBN 9781728475790.
––––. Sink or Float. ISBN 9781728475806.
––––. States of Matter. ISBN 9781728475813.
ea vol: 32p. (Sesame Street ® World of Science). Lerner. Jan. 2023. Tr. $27.99.
PreS-Gr 2 –Simple machines, colors, or states of matter are fun to learn about with Big Bird and Grover. Photos show a diverse range of children and adults exploring light and shadows or moving things with pushes or pulls. Cookie Monster might pop up to mention his favorite color or the Count might ask how many shadows a reader can create. The Sink and Float title invites readers to make predictions about various objects, then explains the results. Each book ends with “Science All Around,” which encourages youngsters to apply what they have learned, such as identifying the simple machine in a skateboard or slide. Back matter includes a glossary and further books to read. Young readers will love these titles that introduce basic science concepts and feature favorite Sesame Street characters in every spread. VERDICT A colorful and fun introduction to science basics for primary classrooms.

Lemke, Marie. Distance. ISBN 9781039696457.
––––. Length. ISBN 9781039696419.
––––. Temperature. ISBN 9781039696402.
––––. Time. ISBN 9781039696426.
––––. Volume. ISBN 9781039696433.
––––. Weight. ISBN 9781039696440.
ea vol: 24p. (Measuring Things). Crabtree/Roots. Jan. 2023. Tr. $27.93.
PreS-Gr 1 –These titles introduce the basics of measurement to very young readers. Easily understandable text explores time, temperature, and other quantifiable characteristics. Photos show various children using tools for tasks, such as a tape measure to find the length of a board and a stopwatch at the races. There are also comparisons between the imperial system and the metric system. Other pages explain how smaller units can combine into larger ones or how different types of tools are used for larger or smaller measurements, such as a ruler versus a yardstick. Each book offers suggestions to adults for before, during, and after reading, as well as a photo glossary combining the terms in bold from the text with thumbnail images from the illustrations. Back matter also includes a sight word list. VERDICT Clear images support simple explanations, making this a good series for primary grade math and science classes.

Nelson, Louise. Creatures of the Cretaceous. ISBN 9798885093637.
––––. Giants of the Jurassic. ISBN 9798885093644.
––––. Powers of the Pleistocene. ISBN 9798885093651.
––––. Terrors of the Triassic. ISBN 9798885093668.
ea vol: 24p. (That’s Not a Dino!). Bearport/Fusion. Jan. 2023. Tr. $26.99.
Gr 1-3 –This series guides readers through the distinction between dinosaurs and non-dinosaurs. The Pleistocene, Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods are featured in various titles. Each book discusses the time of the dinosaurs and the specific time span of the title, then spotlights four animals such as the Mosasaurus or Dimorphodon. “A Quick Look” shares three facts about the creatures, such as what they ate or what their names mean. Some images are illustrations; others are photographs of paleontologists, fossils, or descendants of ancient creatures. Information is broken into bite-size chunks, making it easy for readers to digest. A cartoon-style narrator offers comments, such as “T. rex probably ate Triceratops.” Vocabulary terms in bold are defined in the glossary, while pronunciation help is given parenthetically within the text. VERDICT This series will round out collections on prehistoric animals and offer new topics for dinosaur lovers.

Redshaw, Hermione. I Can Count! ISBN 9781534543485.
––––. I Can Measure! ISBN 9781534543522.
––––. I Know Patterns! ISBN 9781534543560.
––––. I Know Shapes! ISBN 9781534543607.
ea vol: 24p. (Math and Me). Greenhaven/KidHaven. Dec. 2022. Tr. $26.23.
PreS-Gr 1 –These books use very short sentences in outlined text boxes that seem to jump off the page. Each concept is introduced on one page and an example is given on the facing page. For instance, a statement about weight is followed by pictures of things that are light or heavy (complete with labels). Images include photos of various children as well as familiar items such as LEGO bricks, cupcakes, and backpacks. I Can Count! includes a number line on every page. The last page of each book offers readers a chance to apply what they have learned, such as by matching names to shapes or choosing which glass is the most full. VERDICT Short, simple text and familiar images make this an appealing series for young readers and wonderful to use in primary classroom math lessons.

Storm, Marysa. Earth. ISBN 9781623107727.
––––. Jupiter. ISBN 9781623107734.
––––. Mars. ISBN 9781623107741.
––––. Mercury. ISBN 9781623107758.
––––. Neptune. ISBN 9781623107765.
––––. Saturn. ISBN 9781623107772.
––––. Uranus. ISBN 9781623107789.
––––. Venus. ISBN 9781623107796.
ea vol: 24p. (Space Explorer). Black Rabbit/Bolt Jr. Jan. 2023. Tr. $34.25.
K-Gr 3 –Young readers will want to blast into space with these titles on the planets. Each book includes a description of the planet, a diagram illustrating its place in the solar system, and a history of its exploration. Text is limited to a few sentences per page, preventing readers from becoming overwhelmed. Fact circles pop up with additional details, and labels add information to eye-catching images on each spread. The size of each planet is compared to Earth, except for Mercury, which is compared to the Moon. A final spread of Bonus Facts closes out each title. Glossary terms are bolded, underlined, and defined in a text box on the page, as well as in the glossary. Books and websites for further exploration are recommended. VERDICT A visually appealing series that suits primary science units and elementary libraries.


Upper Elementary to Middle School

Golkar, Golriz. Unsolved Questions About the Universe. ISBN 9781669002680.
Kim, Carol. Unsolved Questions About Living Things. ISBN 9781669002444.
Turner, Myra Faye. Unsolved Questions About Earth. ISBN 9781669002529.
––––. Unsolved Questions About the Human Body. ISBN 9781669002604.
ea vol: 32p. (Unsolved Science). Capstone. Jan. 2023. Tr. $29.32.
Gr 4-6 –Science is all about answering questions, and this series looks at ongoing investigations. Each book introduces readers to its theme and includes a reminder of the scientific method. The text then covers what scientists have already learned as well as current explorations. Captioned images and text boxes add even more information about plate tectonics, black holes, or the panspermia theory. Sidebars take readers to hydrothermal vents and on the search for a Goldilocks planet. Back matter includes a glossary and suggested books and websites for more exploration. VERDICT A great way to add current inquiry topics to your collection and perfect for students who never run out of questions.

Markovics, Joyce. The International Space Station. ISBN 9781684507276.
––––. Satellites. ISBN 9781684507290.
––––. Space Junk. ISBN 9781684507283.
––––. Visiting Space. ISBN 9781684507269.
ea vol: 48p. (Tech Bytes - Exploring Space). Norwood House. Jan. 2023. Tr. $26.60.
Gr 4-6 –This season’s titles add six space-related topics to the series. Readers will explore black holes, the possibility of life on Mars, and amazing technology like the International Space Station. Each spread is balanced, with visuals to keep the eye entranced and text chunked for easy digestion of the information. Sidebars explore topics such as growing flowers in space or the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Text boxes call attention to extra details like the elements of a space elevator or spacesuit design. Captions on the images add even more information, while bolded terms ­appear in the glossary. The back matter includes suggestions for books, websites, and places to visit to learn more about each topic. ­VERDICT Excellent for lessons on engineering and design, or to update collections.

Mazzarella, Kerri. Earth. ISBN 9781638979722.
––––. Jupiter. ISBN 9781638979739.
––––. Mars. ISBN 9781638979746.
––––. Mercury. ISBN 9781638979760.
––––. Neptune. ISBN 9781638979753.
––––. Pluto and the Dwarf Planets. ISBN 9781638979807.
––––. Saturn. ISBN 9781638979777.
––––. Uranus. ISBN 9781638979784.
––––. Venus. ISBN 9781638979791.
ea vol: 24p. (Our Amazing Solar System). Seahorse/Stingray Hi/Lo. Jan. 2023. Tr. $25.85.
Gr 3-6 –Teacher tips for before, during, and after reading start off each book, along with tips for caregivers on helping students grow as readers. Descriptions include the planetary size, distance from the sun, and the presence of moons or rings. Readers will also learn about the rotation, orbit, and whether life could exist on each planet. Those interested in space exploration will enjoy details about which rovers or spacecraft have visited, or are scheduled to visit, each planet. Crisp images support the text, including a planetary lineup in every book. Diagrams compare the Grand Canyon to Valles Marineris or explore the layers of the planet’s structure. Back matter includes a glossary and several “After Reading Questions” to encourage contemplation of the information. VERDICT A visually appealing series for intermediate readers that also works well as hi/lo text for upper grade students.

O’Brien, Cynthia. Where in the World Can I … Design a Robot? ISBN 9780716652526.
––––. Where in the World Can I … Find a Dinosaur? ISBN 9780716652533.
––––. Where in the World Can I … See a Sea Monster? ISBN 9780716652540.
––––. Where in the World Can I … Talk to Animals? ISBN 9780716652557.
––––. Where in the World Can I … Train to Go to the Moon? ISBN 9780716652564.
––––. Where in the World Can I … Visit a Rainforest? ISBN 9780716652571.
ea vol: 48p. (Where in the World Can I...). World Book. Feb. 2023. Tr. $179.
Gr 3-5 –This series aims to grab the attention of even the most reluctant readers by beginning with an intriguing question. Once that hook is set, the text explores the title’s concept. Then readers are taken on a tour of various places where they could, for example, study animal communication or walk through a rainforest. Each location and the activities offered are described, along with any age restrictions for visitors. Photos highlight the parks, museums, and camps featured throughout each book. Challenging words are defined parenthetically within the text. Back matter includes a “Reading Focus” that draws attention to the text structure used in the title and a “Writing Focus” that leads students through an opinion piece with text-based evidence. VERDICT Intriguing topics and real-world connections make this a solid library purchase.


Upper Middle School to High School

The Math Behind Science, Society, and Technology. ISBN 9781684169375.
––––. Navigating Anxiety & Depression. ISBN 9781684169344.
––––. Quantum Concepts. ISBN 9781684169405.
––––. The Science of Identity. ISBN 9781725348950.
––––. The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. ISBN 9781684169498.
––––. Truth, Lies, and Technology: Real and Fake News in the Digital Age. ISBN 9781684169528.
ea vol: 160p. (Scientific American Explores Big Ideas). Rosen/Scientific American. Jan. 2023. Tr. $43.95.
Gr 9 Up –Each title in this series collects articles that relate to a common topic, whether it be mental health, quantum physics, or identity. Separate sections within the book group the articles by theme. For instance, articles on “Truth, Lies and Technology” might address historical perspectives, fake news, or improving media literacy. The variety of viewpoints presented is a strength of this series; each article has author information listed so readers can see the background and expertise of the writer(s) and their particular perspective on the issue, making the articles ­particularly useful for classroom discussion and debate. Articles vary from three to 15 pages in length and there are no ­illustrations. A glossary and list of sources for further information round out each volume. VERDICT A useful collection for research and exploring different aspects of the ­various topics.


Strong series this spring make connections between the reader and the topic. It may be something as simple as activities that apply the skills they’ve just read about in “Math and Me” (Greenhaven/KidHaven). ­Other series encourage readers to compare and contrast using the thrill of a face-off between favorites, as in “ Dino Discovery” (The Child’s World/Wonder). High-interest topics such as black holes and life on Mars will attract young patrons to “Tech Bytes - Exploring Space” (Norwood House), along with sidebars on spacesuit design and early animal astronauts. And youngsters are sure to enjoy the familiar characters in “Sesame Street ® World of Science” (Lerner) as they introduce simple machines or the color spectrum. Whatever the subject, successful series appeal to the curiosity and varied interests of their target audience.

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