“STEM” fun reading

Two recent additions to our children’s collection have STEM-based themes.  One of these titles is a biography of that giant in the field of inventions–Ben Franklin.  The other is a retelling of the classic fairy tale “The Three Little Pigs.”

Just when you thought that the life and achievements of Ben Franklin had been completely covered in previous biographies, there comes “Ben Franklin’s Big Splash” by Barb Rosenstock and illustrated by S.D.Schindler.9781620914465_p0_v2_s192x300.jpg

It seemed that during the time of Ben Franklin swimming was looked upon as something very strange.  Most people, including sailors, couldn’t swim; swimming was considered unhealthy.  But Ben seized every opportunity to swim in the nearby Charles River.  As he swam, he wondered why fish were better swimmers than men.  After observing fish, he began to draw possible devices that would enable man to swim like fish.  He then constructed swim fins.  Although, they were somewhat helpful, he decided that he needed to improve on his invention.  They results were swim sandals.  Although Ben Franklin’s inventions were not the first, da Vinci and Borelli were ahead of him by 100 years, he was the first to test them in a body of water.

“Big Franklin’s Big Splash” is a fun biography filled with detailed drawings that bring to life Franklin’s exploits.  In addition, it reinforces the importance of the basic scientific method.  This is a book to read for fun, but it also could serve as a source of biographic information.  The author includes a biographic timeline and a bibliography.

Everyone knows the story of the “Three Little Pigs.”  But author, illustrator, and chair of the illustration program at Parsons in NYC, Steven Guarnaccia, has reconstructed the tale from an architectural point of view.

9780810989412_p0_v3_s192x300.jpgAfter leaving home, each of the pigs decides to built his own home. Of course, there is the wolf, huffing and puffing, but what makes this tale so much fun is the use of three different architectural styles by the three builders.  Added by informative endpapers, young readers can both enjoy the story and also learn about famous architects and their buildings.

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