Great Bears

 

Great bears! Teddy bears, famous bears, bears in the sky, bear stories, bear science, and the peculiar history of Gummi Bears. AND a recipe for Bear Cupcakes.

TEDDY BEARS

 imgres In Susan Meyers’s Bear in the Air (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2010), Bear bounces out his owner’s stroller and is grabbed by a dog who dashes off with him down the beach. Bear has a lot of adventures, including a dive with a seal and a flight with a pelican, before he finally makes it back home. A sweet story with charming flapper-era illustrations. For ages 2-5.
 imgres-1 Jez Alborough’s Where’s My Teddy? (Candlewick, 1994) is a comedy of mistaken identities. Eddie, braving the woods at night to search for Freddie, his lost teddy bear, instead comes upon a real bear’s enormous teddy. (“How did you get to be this size?” he wonders.) At the same time, in another part of the forest, the upset bear has found Freddie, and believes it to be his own teddy, now shrunk dismayingly small. (It all sorts itself out nicely in the end.) For ages 3-7.
 imgres-2 Jimmy Kennedy’s picture book The Teddy Bears’ Picnic (Aladdin, 2000) is an illustrated version of the catchy 1907 song. (“If you go down in the woods today/You’re sure of a big surprise…”) For ages 3-7.
Listen to the song The Teddy Bear’s Picnic (Or download it for 99 cents).
 imgres-3 The star of Don Freeman’s Corduroy (Puffin, 1976) is an endearing teddy bear in green overalls who has lost a button. Once all the shoppers have left his department store at night, off he goes in search of it, having misadventures with escalators and lamps along the way. Eventually, still button-less, he’s nabbed and returned to his shelf by the night watchman – but the story ends happily when a little girl loves him, buys him, takes him home, and sews on a new button. There’s a sequel: A Pocket for Corduroy. For ages 3-8.
 imgres-4 In Bernard Waber’s Ira Sleeps Over (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1975), Ira is thrilled to be spending the night at his friend Reggie’s house, until his sister raises the question of Ira’s teddy bear. What will Reggie think of Ira when he finds out that he sleeps with a teddy bear? And that it’s named Tah Tah? However, it turns out that Ira’s not the only kid with a teddy bear. A delightful read for ages 4-8.
 imgres-5 In David McPhail’s The Teddy Bear (Square Fish, 2005), a little boy mistakenly leaves his beloved teddy bear behind in a restaurant. The bear is tossed in the trash and rescued by a homeless man, who comes to love him. Sometime later the little boy – the original owner – spots his bear, where the homeless man has left it propped on a park bench. At first he’s thrilled to have his bear back, but then – when he sees the homeless man’s distress – he gives him back the bear. A discussion promoter for ages 4-8.
 imgres-6 In A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh, first published in 1926, the pudgy and lovable Bear of Very Little Brain was based on the teddy bear belonging to Milne’s son Christopher Robin. There are a lot of Disney Pooh books on the market; don’t fall for them. Get an edition with the original Ernest H. Shepard illustrations. Also see the sequel, The House on Pooh Corner. For ages 5 and up.
 images Open Culture has a rare 1929 recording of A.A. Milne reading a chapter of Winnie-the-Pooh (“In Which Pooh and Piglet Go Hunting and Nearly Catch a Woozle”).
 imgres-8 See the original Pooh at Treasures of the New York Public Library, along with Kanga, Eeyore, Piglet, and Tigger.
 imgres-9 Michael Bond’s A Bear Called Paddington (HarperCollins, 2002), originally published in 1958, introduces the adorable but disaster-prone Paddington, first encountered by the Brown family in Paddington station, wearing a label around his neck reading “Please Look After This Bear.” He comes from Darkest Peru (sent to England by his Aunt Lucy who is now in a Home for Retired Bears); he wears a strange squashy hat; and he’s very fond of marmalade. Many sequels. For ages 5-9.
See the official Paddington Bear website for games and activities, information on the author and illustrators, Paddington postcards, and synopses of all the books.
 imgres-10 By Daisy Corning Stone Spedden, Polar the Titanic Bear (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2001) is a story of family life in the Edwardian era culminating in the voyage of the ill-fated Titanic, all told from the point of view of a little boy’s stuffed bear. The book was written in 1913; the author and her family were Titanic survivors. Illustrated with paintings and photographs. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-11 In Tomi Ungerer’s Otto: The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear (Phaidon Press, 2010), Otto is a bear who lives through hard times. His original owner is David, a Jewish boy growing up in Germany just before World War II. When David and family are taken away by the military, David passes Otto on to his best friend Oskar. When Oskar’s town is bombed, Otto is found on the battlefield, where an American soldier picks him up just in time to block a bullet. After the war, Otto goes home with the soldier to America, only to be stolen by a gang of delinquents. He’s rescued by an antiques dealer, where he’s eventually noticed in the dealer’s shop window by a visiting German – Oskar. The story of Oskar and Otto makes the newspapers, where it’s read by David. At the end of the book, the three friends are reunited. A difficult subject made accessible by a very gallant bear. For ages 8 and up.
 imgres-12 Frank Murphy’s The Legend of the Teddy Bear (Sleeping Bear Press, 2000) is the story of Theodore Roosevelt’s famous refusal to shoot a trapped bear – which so captivated the American public that stuffed bears thereafter were called “teddy bears.” For ages 5-10.
 imgres-13 Seymour Eaton’s The Roosevelt Bears – respectively Teddy-B and Teddy-G – were the original “teddy bears,” first appearing in newspaper cartoons and books in the early 1900s.
From the Smithsonian, see The History of the Teddy Bear.

BEAR STORIES

 imgres-14 In Bill Martin, Jr.’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (Henry Holt and Co., 1996), a rhythmic repetitive text is paired with gorgeous paper-collage illustrations of colorful animals (brown bear, red bird, purple cat, green frog, blue horse) by Eric Carle. For ages 2-5.
 imgres-15 In Bonny Becker’s delightful A Visitor for Bear (Candlewick, 2012) – with wonderful and witty illustrations by Kady Denton – Bear doesn’t like company. His door even boasts an enormous sign: NO VISITORS ALLOWED. Then the persistent Mouse shows up, and eventually Bear discovers the error of his ways. Sequels include A Birthday for Bear and Bedtime for Bear. For ages 3-7.
 imgres-16 In Robert McCloskey’s Blueberries for Sal (Viking Juvenile, 1948), Sal and a bear cub have both gone with their mothers to the same Maine blueberry patch for blueberries – and suddenly there’s a dreadful mix-up. A classic for ages 3-7.
From New Hampshire Public Television, Blueberries for Sal is a video version of the book. Included is a teacher’s guide with suggested discussion questions and activities.
 images-2 The main character of Else Holmelund Minarik’s Little Bear (HarperTrophy, 1978) is a furry and imaginative charmer: this, the first of the Little Bear books, has four short stories in which Little Bear variously plays in the snow, makes birthday soup, flies to the moon, and makes a special wish. Several sequels. For ages 3-7.
 imgres-17 There are many many improving titles in Jan and Stan Berenstain’s Berenstain Bears series (Random House), in which Brother and Sister Bear learn about the evils of junk food, greediness, too much television, and teasing, discover the importance of telling the truth, doing chores, and minding their manners, and cope with the doctor, the dentist, bad dreams, and bad habits. I am not fond of these – doofy Papa Bear and moralizing Mama Bear are a little much for me – but a lot of kids apparently are. For ages 3-7.
 imgres-18 In Philip C. Stead’s Bear Has a Story to Tell (Roaring Brook Press, 2012), Bear wants to tell a story before curling up in his den to hibernate, but his friends – Mouse, Duck, Frog, and Mole – are all too busy preparing for winter to listen. Patient Bear lends them all a helping paw – and then, winter over, the friends regroup and Bear prepares to tell his story again. Unfortunately, he can’t remember what he was going to say – though it turns out that all he needs is a little prompting from his pals. For ages 4-7.
 images-3 In Jon Klassen’s poker-faced I Want My Hat Back (Candlewick, 2011), a bear has lost his hat and proceeds to question a long list of woodland creatures, all of whom deny knowledge of the hat, including the rabbit, who is obviously wearing it. Then realization dawns. (“WAIT! I HAVE SEEN MY HAT!”) For ages 4-8.
 imgres-24 James Marshall’s version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Puffin, 1998) treats the traditional tale with wit and pizzazz. His Goldilocks is both naughty (“What a sweet child,” remarks a newcomer to town. “That’s what you think!” retorts another.) and clueless (confronted with brown fur in the bear’s house, she concludes “They must have kitties!”). For ages 4-8.
From New Hampshire Public Television, see a video version of James Marshall’s Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
 imgres-25 In Gennady Spirin’s Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Two Lions, 2009), a simple traditional text is paired with gorgeous Renaissance backgrounds and costumes. For ages 4-8.
For even more Goldilocks versions, of which there are many (not all with bears), see Fairy Tales.
 imgres-26 Daniel Pinkwater’s Larry is a polar bear with style. He likes blueberry muffins and ballet, enjoys his job as a lifeguard, and lives in a hotel. Some of the Larry books are (rrr) out of print, but can be obtained inexpensively from used-book stores – and for free from public libraries. Titles include At the Hotel Larry, Sleepover Larry, Dancing Larry, and Ice-Cream Larry. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-27 For fans of Larry, also check out Pinkwater’s Irving and Muktuk, who are Bad Bears. Havoc follows in their wake. Titles include Irving and Muktuk: Two Bad Bears, Bad Bear Detectives, Bad Bears in the Big City, and Bad Bears and a Bunny. Like all Pinkwater books, clever and hilarious.
 images-4 By Erik Brooks, Polar Opposites (Two Lions, 2010) is the story of Alex, a polar bear who lives in the Arctic, and Zina, a penguin who lives in the Antarctic. They’re not at all alike – Alex is big and Zina is small, Alex is loud and Zina is quiet – but when they meet at the equator, it’s clear that the disparate pair are best friends.  For ages 4-8.
From the Crafty Crow, fun accompaniments for Polar Opposites are the Penguin and Polar Bear Crafts, which include a handprint polar bear, a polar bear mask, penguin bean bags, and more.
 imgres-29 In Lauren Child’s I Am Going to Save a Panda (Grosset & Dunlap, 2010) – starring the perpetually entertaining Charlie and Lola – it’s Save the Animals Week and Lola and friend Lotta are bent on raising money to save a panda bear. Then Lola comes down with chicken pox. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-30 Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book – originally published in 1894 and now available in many editions – is a collection of wonderful short stories, many of them about Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves in the Indian jungle, who – with the help of Baloo the Bear and Bagheera the panther – battles the tiger Shere Khan. (The collection also includes the story of “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi,” the little mongoose who fights cobras.) For ages 6 and up.
 imgres-31 In the Disney film version of The Jungle Book (1967), Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther try to convince young Mowgli (the “man-cub”) to return to his own kind in order to keep him safe from Shere Khan, the tiger. Baloo sings “Bear Necessities.”
 imgres-32 In Alice Dagliesh’s The Bears on Hemlock Mountain (Aladdin, 1992) – originally written in 1952 and based on an old Pennsylvania tale – young Jonathan is sent on a journey over Hemlock Mountain on an errand for his mother. Everybody has told him that there are no bears – NO BEARS – on Hemlock Mountain, but it turns out that everybody was dead wrong. Luckily Jonathan is equipped with a large iron pot. For ages 6-9.
 imgres-19 In Stephan Pastis’s hilarious comic novel Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made (Candlewick, 2013), eleven-year-old Timmy is the hapless CEO of the best detective agency in the world (Total Failure, Inc.) – in company with Total, his business partner, a large and lazy polar bear with a habit of eating trash. A hoot for ages 8 and up.
 imgres-20 Among the most fascinating and powerful characters in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy are the great armored bears of the far North. Titles in the trilogy are The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. A challenging and wonderful read for ages 10 and up.
In the film version of The Golden Compass (2007), Iorek Byrnison, everyone’s favorite armored bear, is voiced by Ian McKellen. Rated PG-13.
 imgres-21 Ben Mikaelsen’s Touching Spirit Bear (HarperTeen, 2005) is the story of teenage delinquent Cole Matthews who faces a prison sentence for severely beating a classmate. Due to the intervention of a Tlingit parole officer, however, Cole opts for Native American Circle Justice – in lieu of jail, he’ll spend a year on his own on a remote Alaskan island. There he encounters (almost fatally) a great white bear and learns to come to terms with himself and his troubles. For ages 12 and up.
 imgres-22 In Will Hobbs’s Never Say Die (HarperCollins, 2013), Nick – a 15-year-old half-Inuit boy – accompanies his older brother Ryan, a nature photographer, on a trip to the Arctic. After their raft is lost in a log jam, the trip turns into a harrying struggle to survive. The brothers are traveling through grizzly country, and there’s an especially dangerous grolar – a hybrid grizzly-polar bear – on the prowl. Adventure, danger, and a strong climate change message for ages 11 and up.
 imgres-23 Download or print the full text of William Faulkner’s short story The Bear (1942). For teenagers and adults.
“The Bear” appears in Faulker’s short story collection Go Down, Moses (Vintage Press, 1991).

BEARS IN THE SKY

 imgres-33 The constellation we know as the Big Dipper is really an asterism – a subset of a larger constellation known as Ursa Major, or the Great Bear. Learn all about it in Franklyn Branley’s The Big Dipper (HarperCollins, 1991), one of the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series. Readers learn the names of all the stars in the Dipper, discover how the Dipper is oriented in the sky in different seasons, and find out how to locate the North Star. For ages 4-7.
 imgres-35 By Jacqueline Mitton, Zoo in the Sky: A Book of Animal Constellations (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2006) – illustrated with fantastical paintings on which the shape of the constellation is outlined in shiny stars – covers, among others, the Great and Little Bears. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-36 Joseph Bruchac’s The Earth Under Sky Bear’s Feet (Puffin, 1998) is a collection of 12 poems based on a range of native American peoples describing what the Sky Bear – the Big Dipper – sees as she circles the Earth each night. Illustrated with lovely paintings by Thomas Locker. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-34 From EarthSky, Big and Little Dippers has excellent reader-friendly explanations, illustrated with diagrams and photographs. Find out the names of the Big Dipper stars and how far they are from Earth, read the legends of the Bears, and more.

REAL BEARS

 imgres-37 Florence Minor’s If You Were a Panda Bear – with wonderful illustrations by Wendell Minor – introduces young readers to the major species of bears (panda, sloth bear, polar bear, American black bear, and more) by means of a charming rhyming text. Added at the end are lists of Bear Fun Facts and resources. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-38 By Gail Gibbons, Grizzly Bears (Holiday House, 2003) introduces kids to grizzlies through large appealing pictures and a straightforward text. Included are info on grizzly size, speed, behavior, and habitat. A helpful note at the end explains what to do if you’re ever threatened by a grizzly. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-39 Sylvia Dolson’s Bear-ology (PixyJack Press, 2009) is an illustrated compendium of “Fascinating Bear Facts, Tales, and Trivia.” Included: information on bear myths, ancestral bears, bears’ relationships with humans, symbolic bears, and accounts of famous bears. For ages 12 and up.
 imgres-40 Bernd Brunner’s Bears: A Brief History (Yale University Press, 2009)  is a book for the serious bear student: nearly 300 pages of information on the history, literature, and science of bears. For teenagers and adults.
 images-5 In the film The Bear (1988), directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, a young orphaned bear cub is adopted by an adult male and together they manage to fend off hunters.  A bear’s-eye view of the world. Rated PG. (There’s a brief bear mating scene.)
 imgres-41 National Geographic’s Black Bear has background information, photographs and videos, an audio clip of a growl, a distribution map, fast facts, and links to other species of bears.
 images-6 From Animal Planet, Bears is a collection of videos, images, interesting articles, and quizzes. “Bears Throughout the Year,” for example, traces bear activities month by month from January to December. Visitors can also find out how to track a bear, learn why pandas don’t hibernate, and take the Ultimate Polar Bear Quiz.
  Facts About Bears has information about each of the eight species of bears and a catchy list of interesting bear facts. (For example, koala bears are not bears; and the bear’s closest living relatives are pinnipeds – that is, walruses, seals, and sea lions.)
  The West Virginia State Animal is the black bear. Check it out at State Symbols USA.
 imgres-42 Only YOU can prevent wildfire. Check out the Smokey Bear website for the story of the famous Smokey Bear, Smokey imagery over the years, and information about wildfires and wildfire prevention. Included at the site are an interactive game for kids, teacher’s resources, and printable activity books.
  Make a Smokey the Bear Finger Puppet.
  From Teddy Bears to Berserkers is an interesting article on language and bears. (Also see Part 2.)
 imgres-46 Which is the best bear? Check out this annotated and photo-illustrated list of Bear Species of the World, in Order of Quality. (See if you agree.)
 imgres-43 Polar bears have transparent fur! Learn all about it (and more) at Everyday Mysteries.
  By geneticist Ricki Lewis, Polar Bear Genome Reflects Climate Change discusses how – with warming temperatures and diminishing ice – polar and brown bear ranges are coming closer together, producing new polar/brown bear hybrids.
  Polar bears turning brown? This just might be the next result of climate change. Read about it here.
  All polar bears trace their genetic lineage to a single female ancestor – a brown bear from Ireland. Read about it here.
 imgres-44 Wolves helping bears? The reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park seems to be a plus for bears. Read about it here.
 images-7 Bears don’t hibernate the same way that other hibernating animals do. Check out The Secrets of Bear Hibernation for an explanation and a video of a hibernating bear.
  For more on bear hibernation studies, see Bears Hibernate (and Soon You Could Too).
  For a more detailed account of bear hibernation (for older kids; the language is snarky and there’s discussion of bear sex), see The Great ‘Do Bears Hibernate’ Debate.
 imgres-45 What If There’s Bears? All right; I just love this. Home repair tips, with possibility of bears.

GUMMI BEARS (WITH SCIENCE)

 imgres-47 Gummi bears were invented in Germany and have been around since the 1920s. Read about them at The History of Gummi Candy.
  How to Make Gummy Bears has illustrated instructions for making gummy bears (etc.) of your own.
 images-8 At the Science for Kids website, Gummy Bear Science has an illustrated account of a simple experiment studying the effect of different liquids on gummy bears, with sample lab worksheets and graphs.
  At Gummi Bear Science, check out this series of videos that explain a range of science concepts through gummy bears. See bears sonicated, frozen in liquid nitrogen, and digested. There’s also a particularly cool experiment on determining the density of a gummy bear.

 BEAR POEMS AND SONGS

 imgres-48 A.A. Milne’s Furry Bear appears in the poetry collection Now We Are Six, originally published in 1927.
 imgres-49 In Ogden Nash’s The Adventures of Isabel, Isabel first meets an enormous bear. (But Isabel, Isabel, doesn’t care.)
Bear Poetry is a lesson plan for ages 6-12, covering several different forms of bear-themed poetry (acrostics, limericks, haiku, free verse, diamante, cinquains, and rhymes).
For teenagers and up, see Robert Frost’s poem The Bear.
 images-9 Just in case you’ve forgotten the words to “The Bear Came Over the Mountain” or “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, Turn Around,” see these Preschool Bear Songs.
 imgres-50 By Seamus Kennedy, Waltzing with Bears is a You Tube rendition of the folksong with a background of bears. (“There’s nothing on earth Uncle Walter won’t do/So he can go waltzing, wa-wa-wa-waltzing/Waltzing with bears!”)

BEARS AND MATH

 imgres-51 By Barbara Barbieri McGrath, Teddy Bear Counting (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2010) is the first of the McGrath Math series, picture books that use colorful teddy bears to teach introductory math concepts. Other titles in the series include Teddy Bear Math and Teddy Bear Patterns. For ages 4-7.
 imgres-52 Pair the books with a set of Baby Bear Counters. (102 bears in six different colors; about $13.)
 imgres-53 Learn a bit of geometry and make a cool bear face with this Circles Bear craft from First Palette.
 imgres-54 In Stuart J. Murphy’s The Grizzly Gazette (HarperCollins, 2002) – a MathStart book – the campers at Camp Grizzly are electing a mascot; winner gets to wear the camp’s famous grizzly bear costume. Each day the Grizzly Gazette polls the 100 campers and publishes graphs showing the percentage of votes that go to each candidate. For ages 6-9.

BEAR ARTS AND CRAFTS

 teddy_bear4-300x225 Teddy Bear Craft for Kids has a template and instructions for a simple stuffed bear that kids ages 6 and up can make for themselves.
 image Teddy Bears and Other Bears Too has a selection of bear-themed projects and activities, among them making teddy-bear bird food and a cinnamon-dough teddy bear ornament.
 bears-200 Great Felt Bears. The site has instructions and templates.
 bear dolls 010 Make a calico Bear Doll.
 step11 Make a Sock Teddy Bear. The site has illustrated instructions for making a perfectly adorable bear from a striped sock.
 imgres-55 For the committed teddy-bear-maker, Abigail Patner Glassenberg’s Stuffed Animals (Lark Crafts, 2013) has detailed instructions and templates for 16 different projects, among them a classic teddy bear. For teenagers and adults.
Meg Leach’s Knitted Finger Puppets (Martingale & Co., 2008) has patterns and instructions for 34 different puppets, among them Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
 Teddy-Bear-Cupcakes-3595-103043 Chocolate Teddy Bear Cupcakes. This recipe makes eight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ancient Egypt

 

All about ancient Egypt, including books, activities, lesson plans, some great art, the great game of Senet, instructions for making a mummy, and a hieroglyphic typewriter.

HISTORY

 imgres Henry Barker’s Egyptian Gods and Goddesses (Penguin Young Readers, 1999) – in beginning-reader big print with a simple text – covers a scattering of Egyptian gods and goddesses (Horus, Re, Thoth, Osiris, Isis, Anubis), Egyptian death customs, and the significance of mummies and pyramids. For age 5-7.
 imgres-1 Cobblestone Publishing’s If I Were a Kid in Ancient Egypt (Cricket Books, 2007) directly addresses the reader: “Your house is probably made of mud bricks…You probably believe in many gods…” Illustrations are colorful drawings and photographs; additional information is provided in detailed fact boxes. For ages 6-11.
 imgres-3 By Crispin Boyer, the National Geographic Kids Everything Ancient Egypt (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2012), gorgeously illustrated with color photographs, covers the Nile River and the land of Egypt, pharaohs, pyramids and the afterlife, Egyptian mythology, and daily life in ancient Egypt. Included is a “Fun with Ancient Egypt” section with hands-on activities. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-4 George Hart’s Ancient Egypt (Dorling Kindersley, 2008) in the Eyewitness Series is informational, interesting, and pure eye candy, crammed with terrific drawings and color photographs of artifacts and monuments. Most of the info is conveyed in picture captions. In the same series, also see James Putnam’s Pyramid and Mummy. For ages 8 and up.
 imgres-5 Kristin Butcher’s Pharaohs and Foot Soldiers (Annick Press, 2009) – illustrated with bright, clever, little cartoon figures – covers “One Hundred Ancient Egyptian Jobs You Might Have Desired or Dreaded.” Each chapter covers a different class of jobs (Army Jobs, Monumental Jobs, Temple Jobs, Artisan Jobs) – that is, everything from fan bearer and pharaoh to farmer, chariot maker, manicurist, and magician. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-6 Elizabeth Payne’s The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt (Random House Books for Young Readers, 1981) is excellent – informative history presented in the form of compelling stories. The book begins with the discovery of the Rosetta Stone by Napoleon’s soldiers; then moves back in time to the first Egyptians, the stories of Cheops and the building of the Great Pyramid, the female pharaoh Hatshepsut, the warrior pharaoh Thutmose III, the criminal pharaoh Akhetaton (husband of Nefertiti), and more. Highly recommended. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-7 Lila Perl’s 100+-page Mummies, Tombs, and Treasure (Clarion Books, 1987) – illustrated with maps, drawings, and great black-and-white photographs – is a detailed and well-done overview of Egyptian religious beliefs and death rituals. Chapter titles include “Why the Egyptians Made Mummies,” “How a Mummy Was Made,” and “The Mummy’s Treasure and the Tomb Robbers.”  For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-8 Eric H. Cline’s The Ancient Egyptian World (Oxford University Press, 2005) in the World in Ancient Times series is a superbly researched and designed introduction to ancient Egypt, covering prehistory to the Greco-Roman period. Chapter titles include “Stairway to Heaven: The Old Kingdom,” “Thank You, Rosetta Stone: Hieroglyphs,” and “Home Builders: The Pyramid Age.” For ages 11 and up.

EGYPTOLOGY

 imgres-9 By Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld, The Curse of King Tut’s Mummy (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2007) is the story of Howard Carter and the discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb in the form of a simple chapter book for readers ages 6-8.
 imgres-10 Judy Donolly’s Tut’s Mummy: Lost…and Found (Random House Books for Young Readers, 1998), a Step Into Reading book, is a simple account of Howard Carter’s discovery of the spectacular tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamen, illustrated with photographs. For ages 6-8.
 imgres-11 Joyce Tyldesley’s Tutankhamen: The Search for an Egyptian King (Basic Books, 2012) is an engaging and in-depth account of Tutankhamen’s life, death, and tomb discovery for teenagers and adults.
National Geographic’s King Tut is a terrific account of the treasures found in King Tut’s tomb and the modern-day forensics applied to the king’s mummy, with photographs and video footage.
For more on Tutankhamen, see KINGS AND QUEENS, below.
 imgres-12 Jessie Hartland’s How the Sphinx Got to the Museum (Blue Apple Books, 2010) begins with the building of the female pharaoh Hatshepsut’s Sphinx, then leaps ahead 3000 years to its discovery by archaeologists, and then to its (effortful) transport and installation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Starred reviews. For ages 6-9.
 imgres-13 By Emily Sands (and Dugald Steer), Egyptology (Candlewick, 2004) purports to be the journal of Miss Emily Sands, who set off up on an expedition up the Nile in 1926 in search of the tomb of Osiris, and then vanished forever. Her journal, however, survived, crammed with observations, sketches, photos, fold-out maps, postcards, and informational booklets. A gorgeous book with a gilded and jeweled cover for ages 8 and up.
 imgres-14 In Claudia Logan’s The 5000-Year-Old Puzzle (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2002) – with great illustrations by Melissa Sweet – the year is 1924 and young Will Hunt and his family have joined an expedition headed by prominent Egyptologist George Reisner. The cleverly designed story is told through panel cartoons, postcards, diary entries, and the minutes of the King Tut Club. For ages 8-11.
 imgres-17 By David Weitzman, Pharaoh’s Boat (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009) is the story of the building of the Pharaoh Cheops’s boat – with beautiful illustrations, reminiscent of David Macaulay, but in color. The story of the ancient shipwrights is paired with that of the modern archaeologist who unearthed and restored the boat 4000 years later. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-15 Brian Fagan’s The Rape of the Nile (Basic Books, 2004) tells the tale of “Tomb Robbers, Tourists and Archaeologists in Egypt,” from the ancient historian Herodotus and the early Theban tomb robbers through mummy traders, the flamboyant Giovanni Belzoni (circus strongman and amateur Egyptologist), and recent discoveries, such as the tomb of the sons of Ramses and the sunken city of Alexandria. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-16 The Egyptologists is a large collection of brief biographies of Eyptologists, with links to expanded information on the more prominent, such as Howard Carter, Flinders Petrie, and Giovanni Belzoni.
Want to become an Egyptologist? Find out how at Egyptologist: The Real Poop or at Becoming an Egyptologist from the Theban Mapping Project.

ONLINE/ON SCREEN

 imgres-2 Mark Millmore’s Discovering Ancient Egypt website is crammed with information, interactive activities, videos, and photographs. Topics covered include Hieroglyphs, Pyramids & Temples, Kings & Queens, and Mummification. The site also features a hieroglyphic typewriter, quizzes, and extensive recommended book lists.
 imgres-18 At NOVA’s Mysteries of the Nile website, visitors can tour ancient Egypt online, walk around the Sphinx, crawl through the Great Pyramid, and learn what it takes to raise an obelisk (and try it, at least virtually). Included is a selection of lesson plans.
 imgres-20 The Life of the Ancient Egyptians is an excellent online text, illustrated with paintings and photos of artifacts and monuments, and covering all aspects of ancient Egyptian daily life, from farming and hunting to hairstyles, dance, and parties.
 images PBS’s Egypt’s Golden Empire is a three-part series on the Egyptian New Kingdom (“The Warrior Pharaohs,” “Pharaohs of the Sun,” and “The Last Great Pharaoh”). The website has a series of eight accompanying lesson plans paired with interactive features and video clips. Lesson titles include Hieroglyphs and Communication, Tombs and the Afterlife, The Queens of Ancient Egypt, and The Science and Technology of Ancient Egypt.
 imgres-21 Archaeologist John Romer’s Ancient Lives is a superb four-part DVD series on ancient Egypt. Not just ancient lives, these are the lives of real people. Very highly recommended.
 imgres-23 On the NeoK12 website, Ancient Egypt is a collection of short educational online videos, among them “History of Egypt” (2 parts), “Secrets of the Pyramids” (2 parts), and “Engineering an Empire” (10 parts).
 imgres-22 Professor Bob Brier’s 48-part History of Ancient Egypt is a thoroughly fascinating lecture series from The Great Courses, covering Egypt from prehistory to Cleopatra (the last Ptolemy), with side trips to discuss obelisks, Egyptian medicine, and mummies. Brier is a catchy and dynamic lecturer; the course is intended for teenagers and adults, but should appeal to younger kids as well. Get the DVD version; you’ll want the visuals. Full price is expensive, but all Great Courses are periodically put on sale. (On sale: about $130.)

ANCIENT EGYPTIAN MYTHS AND LEGENDS

 imgres-19 Shirley Climo’s The Egyptian Cinderella (HarperCollins, 1992) is the story of the slave girl Rhodopsis whose rose-colored slipper is stolen by a falcon and dropped in the lap of the pharaoh – who takes it as a sign that he should marry the one that the slipper fits. For ages 4-8.
For more Cinderella resources, see FAIRY TALES.
 imgres-24 By Marcia Williams – one of my all-time favorite author/illustrators – Ancient Egypt: Tales of Gods and Pharaohs (Candlewick, 2011) is a re-telling of nine ancient Egyptian tales, illustrated with wonderful (and cleverly funny) comic-strip-style drawings. For ages 6-9.
 imgres-25 Dianne Hofmeyr’s The Star-Bearer (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2012) is a beautifully illustrated creation tale from Egypt, beginning with the birth of the creator, Atum, from a lotus bud. Atum then brings into being Shu, the god of air, and Tefnut, the goddess of rain, whose children – Geb, god of earth, and Nut, goddess of the sky – must be separated so that creation can continue. Geb and Nut are devastated. For ages 6-10.
 imgres-26 Roger Lancelyn Green’s classic Tales of Ancient Egypt (Puffin, 2011) is a collection of 20 traditional stories, beginning with “Ra and His Children,” and continuing through “The Great Queen Hatshepsut,” “The Book of Thoth,” “The Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor,” “The Treasure Thief,” and “The Girl With the Rose-red Slippers.” For ages 8-12.

ANCIENT EGYPTIAN FICTION

 imgres-27 In Tomie de Paola’s Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile (Puffin, 1996), Bill, a little green crocodile, and Pete, a bird (and Bill’s toothbrush), head down the Nile with the rest of the crocodiles in Mrs. Ibis’s class, learning Egyptian history and seeing the sights along the way. Humor and adventure for ages 4-8.
 imgres-28 In Deborah Nash’s Riddle of the Nile (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2006), illustrated with bright blocky collages, Baby Crocodile plans to become king of the Nile, but first must solve a riddle – which involves a tour of ancient and modern Egypt, with advice given by everything from the Great Sphinx to a frog. Included are instructions for making and playing a Pyramid Fortune Game. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-29 By Andrew Clements, Temple Cat (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001) is the story of an ancient Egyptian temple cat, worshipped as a god by the priests – but who, despite all the pampering, longs for freedom and life as an ordinary cat. Finally he runs away and ends up living in a fisherman’s hut by the sea, loved by the fisherman’s children. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-30 In Fred Marcellino’s I, Crocodile (HarperCollins, 2002) – narrated by the crocodile – he’s been shipped from Egypt to France by Napoleon. (“What a cruel and abrupt departure from my mudbank.”) For ages 5-9.
 imgres-31 In Mary Pope Osborne’s Mummies in the Morning (Random House Books for Young Readers, 1993) – third in the immensely popular Magic Treehouse series – Jack and Annie travel back in time to ancient Egypt. For ages 6-9.
Mummies in the Morning is a lesson plan to accompany the book. Kids locate Egypt on the map, convert a short book report into hieroglyphs, make paper, and more.
 imgres-32 In John Scieszka’s Tut, Tut (Puffin, 2004) – one of the zany Time Warp Trio series – Sam, Joe, and Fred, via magical book, are transported to ancient Egypt, where they promptly run afoul of the evil priest Hasmat. For ages 6-10.
 imgres-33 In Herge’s Cigars of the Pharaoh (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 1976) – one of the popular Tintin series – Tintin and dog Snowy are on a cruise to Egypt where they meet Professor Sophocles Sarcophagus, join his expedition, and discover a pharaoh’s tomb filled with dead Egyptologists and cigars. Soon all are embroiled in exciting international intrigue. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-34 Eloise Jarvis McGraw’s Newbery Honor book, The Golden Goblet (Puffin, 1986), is an exciting mystery set in ancient Egypt. After 12-year-old Ranofer’s goldsmith father dies, his abusive half-brother, Gebu, takes over the family workshop and treats Ranofer like a slave. Gebu, it turns out, is also robbing the pharaoh’s tomb. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-35 The main character of Eloise Jarvis McGraw’s Mara, Daughter of the Nile (Puffin, 1985) is a bright and beautiful young slave girl (with a passion for reading) who becomes embroiled in palace intrigue in the days of the female pharaoh Hatshepsut. There’s some loose play with history here, but it’s a great story anyway. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-36 Who doesn’t love an imaginary world? In Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s The Egypt Game (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2009), April, Melanie, and Melanie’s little brother Marshall invent an elaborate fantasy game in which they re-create ancient Egypt. Soon, however, strange and worrisome things begin to happen. Including murder. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-37 In Rick Riordan’s The Red Pyramid (Hyperion Books for Children, 2011) – the first book of the Kane Chronicles series – Carter and Sadie Kane’s Egyptologist father takes them on a private tour of the British Museum where he causes an explosion, reduces the Rosetta Stone to rubble, and wakes the sleeping gods of Egypt, who are definitely not friendly. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-38 Theodosia, main character of R.L. LaFevers’s Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008) is a feisty eleven-year-old whose father is curator of London’s Museum of Legends and Antiquities, filled with artifacts sent home by her mother, an archaeologist in Egypt. In this and subsequent books, Theo uses old Egyptian magic to ward off the curses that surround these ancient items – in this volume, an amulet capable of releasing the Serpents of Chaos and destroying the British Empire. The first of a series, with subsequent titles including Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris, Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus, and Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh. Starred reviews. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-39 Julius Lester’s Pharaoh’s Daughter (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009) is the story of Moses (Mosis) who appears as a conflicted teenager, torn between two cultures and influenced by very different women, among them his birth sister Almah and Meryetamun, the pharaoh’s daughter, who plucked him out of the bulrushes. A complex and interesting read for ages 12 and up.
 imgres-40 Elizabeth Peters’s Crocodile on the Sandbank (Grand Central Publishing, 2013) is the first of an extensive mystery series set in the late 19th century starring feisty Egyptologist Amelia Peabody. (The author knows her stuff; she herself has a doctorate in Egyptology.) Among the subsequent titles are The Curse of the PharaohsThe Mummy Case, and Lion in the Valley. Fun and exciting reads for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-41 By Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, Voices from the Other World: Ancient Egyptian Tales (Anchor Books, 2004) is a collection of five short stories set in ancient Egypt – though the themes (power struggles, morality) are timeless. For teenagers and adults.

POETRY

 imgres-42 By Kay Winters, Voices of Ancient Egypt (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2009) is an illustrated collection of poems in the voices of 13 different everyday ancient Egyptians, among them a birdnetter, a marshman, a farmer, a weaver, and a dancer. (There’s nice potential for a writing project here.) For ages 9-12.

PYRAMIDS

 imgres-23 Philip Steele’s I Wonder Why Pyramids Were Built (Kingfisher, 2011) is written in a question-and-answer format that makes for a fun interactive read. As well as why were pyramids built, readers find out why paper is called paper, why women wore cones on their heads, and what Egyptians called cats. And more. For ages 7-11.
 imgres-44 Jacqueline Morley’s You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Pyramid Builder (Franklin Watts, 2013) – one of the extensive You Wouldn’t Want to Be series – describes the lives of the pyramid builders with a humorous (but informational) twist. For ages 8-11.
 imgres-45 David Macaulay’s award-winning Pyramid (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1982) is a masterful account of the building of a pyramid, illustrated with wonderful detailed black-and-white drawings. A sure hit with future engineers.  For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-23 Edsitement’s Egypt’s Pyramids: Monuments with a Message is a three-part lesson plan (Messages in Stone, Scale of the Structures, and That’s an Artifact?) with links to relevant images from museums and photographs of monuments and printable student worksheets.
In Building the Pyramids: No Light Task, kids experiment with simple machines and research the construction of step pyramids and the pyramids of Giza. You’ll need a homemade ramp and a spring scale.

HIEROGLYPHS

 imgres-46 In Jill Paton Walsh’s richly illustrated Pepi and the Secret Names (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2009), Pepi – by virtue of his knowledge of the secret names of animals – helps his father, a painter, decorate the walls of the pharaoh’s tomb. Included is a hieroglyphic chart (write your own messages in hieroglyphs). For ages 6-9.
 imgres-47 James Rumford’s Seeker of Knowledge: The Man Who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphs (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003) is a picture-book biography of Jean-Francois Champollion, illustrated with lovely watercolor paintings. The margins are peppered with hieroglyphs and their explanations. (“There is a sharp-eyed ibis bird in the word ‘discover.’”) For ages 7-10.
 imgres-48 Joyce Milton’s Hieroglyphs (Grosset & Dunlap, 2000) is a colorfully illustrated introduction with included hieroglyph alphabet chart and stencil. For ages 7-11.
 imgres-49 From the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Catharine Roehrig’s Fun with Hieroglyphs (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2008) has an explanatory booklet and 24 hieroglyphic stamps (plus ink pad) for creating your own ancient Egyptian messages. For ages 7 and up.
 imgres-51 Peter Der Manuelian’s Hieroglyphs from A to Z (Pomegranate, 2010) is a rhyming introduction to Egyptian hieroglyphs with an included stencil. For ages 8 and up.
 imgres-50 To accompany the book, see the Hieroglyphs from A to Z Memory Game, in which players match 26 pairs of cards (one an English letter picture card – “L is for Lion” – the other its equivalent hieroglyph). For ages 3 and up.
 imgres-52 James Cross Giblin’s award-winning The Riddle of the Rosetta Stone (HarperCollins, 1993) is a fascinating and reader-friendly account of the famous Stone, its discovery, translation, and importance. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-53 From Arty Factory, Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs has a bright-colored hieroglyphic alphabet, a make-your-own cartouche project, and interactive quizzes on Egyptian gods, hieroglyphs, and crowns.
The Hieroglyphic Alphabet is a printable alphabet with pronunciation guide and simple black-line drawings.
 imgres-54 Try a Hieroglyphic Typewriter.

MUMMIES

 imgres-55 Aliki’s Mummies Made in Egypt (HarperCollins, 1985) is a picture-book account of ancient Egyptian religious beliefs and the mummification process, illustrated with delightful detailed little drawings. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-56 Sandra Markle’s Outside and Inside Mummies (Scholastic, 2006) – illustrated with fabulous (if somewhat creepy) color photographs – discusses how mummies are made, the modern technologies used by forensic archaeologists to study mummies, and what their research reveals. Fascinating for ages 8 and up.
 imgres-57 NOVA’s The Mummy Who Would Be King explores whether a neglected mummy found on a museum shelf might be the remains of long-lost King Ramses I. Included at the website are a gallery of mummies, an audio slide show on the mummification process, resource lists, a program transcript, and a seven-page teacher’s guide with activities.
 imgres-58 From the San Francisco Exploratium, Make a Mummy is a hands-on project in which kids mummify a fish using baking soda.
 imgres-59 The Brooklyn Museum’s Mummy Chamber site includes a video of a mummy undergoing a CAT scan and an explanation of the results.
 imgres-60 Chicken Mummies has complete instructions for mummifying a chicken. (If you’re not into chicken, try Apple Mummies.)
imgres From the Kids Activities blog, Let’s Mummify Barbie has instructions for sending Barbie into the afterlife, complete with death mask, sarcophagus, and canopic jars.
 imgres-61 Mummy Maker is a click-and-drag online game in which players prepare the body of the pharaoh for burial. If you run into trouble, you can get clues from Miuty, a sacred cat.
 imgres-62 SimMummy is an elaborate hands-on mummification simulation in which kids create a royal mummy (with a potato and an orange), make canopic jars and amulets, design a copy of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, design a Senet game (for the mummy’s afterlife entertainment), and make a sarcophagus and funeral mask.

KINGS AND QUEENS

 imgres-63 Robert Sabuda’s magnificently illustrated picture book, Tutankhamen’s Gift (Aladdin, 1997) is the story of the boy who became pharaoh at the age of ten and spent much of his short reign repairing the temples destroyed by his older brother. The artwork – on handmade papyrus – is extraordinary. For ages 6-9.
 imgres-64 Demi’s exquisitely illustrated Tutankhamun (Two Lions, 2009) is the story of the life and times of the young pharaoh, ending with the discovery of his tomb by Howard Carter. Included are a map and an illustrated family tree. For ages 8 and up.
 imgres-65 Catherine M. Andronik’s picture-book biography Hatshepsut, His Majesty, Herself (Atheneum, 2001) is the story of Egypt’s only successful female pharaoh, who routinely wore a false beard and referred to herself as “he.” Infuriatingly, it’s out of print – check used-book stores and the public library. For ages 7-10.
 imgres-66 By Diane Stanley, with marvelous illustrations by Peter Vennema, Cleopatra (HarperCollins, 1997) is an absorbing biography of the brilliant young queen who charmed Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. For ages 7-11.
 imgres-72 In the Royal Diaries series, Kristiana Gregory’s Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile, 57 BC (Scholastic, 1999) is Cleopatra’s story as told through the diary that she (supposedly) kept between the ages of 12 and 14. Endnotes explain what happened in later years. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-68 Shakespeare’s play Antony and Cleopatra – the tragedy that ends with suicide by asp – is available in many editions; the entire text is online here.
 imgres-69 Adrian Goldsworthy’s Antony and Cleopatra (Yale University Press, 2010) is a dual biography, putting the famous lovers in political and historical context. The true story, beginning with the fact that Cleopatra was not Egyptian, but Greek. For older teenagers and adults.
 imgres-70 The film Cleopatra (1963) stars Elizabeth Taylor in the title role, with Richard Burton as Mark Antony and Rex Harrison as Julius Caesar.Reasonably historical and spectacular to look at. Rated G, which may be stretching it a bit.
From Smithsonian magazine, Who Was Cleopatra? discusses mythology, propaganda, Liz Taylor, and the real Queen of the Nile.
 imgres-71 Peter A. Clayton’s detailed The Chronicle of the Pharaohs (Thames & Hudson, 2006) is a heavily illustrated reign-by-reign account of all the pharaohs and dynasties of ancient Egypt in chronological order. In the same series, see Joyce Tyldesley’s The Chronicle of the Queens of Egypt.

THE NILE

 imgres-73 In Laurie Krebs’s We’re Sailing Down the Nile (Barefoot Books, 2008), written in cheerful rhyming couplets, a group of kids sails down the Nile River, taking in all the wonderful sights along the way, among them pyramids, temples, and the Sphinx. An Egyptian travelogue for ages 4-8.
 imgres-74 Allan Fowler’s The Nile River (Children’s Press, 2000) is a simple photo-illustrated introduction to the world’s longest river for ages 4-7. (Find out what a delta is.)
 imgres-75 The River Nile website details the location and importance of the Nile, covers its different parts (Cataracts, Blue Nile, White Nile), and discusses geology and hydrology of the river, with many great maps and images.
 imgres-76 Tim Jeal’s Explorers of the Nile (Yale University Press, 2012) is the story of the mid-19th-century quest for what was then “the planet’s most elusive secret” – the source of the Nile River. (Alexander the Great was curious about it; the Emperor Nero sent a couple of centurions in search of it; and a common Roman proverb – referring to something difficult to perform – was “It would be easier to find the source of the Nile.”) Six major expeditions set out in search of it in the mid-1800s, including one led by Dr. David Livingstone (subsequently pursued by Henry Stanley). For teenagers and adults.

LESSON PLANS

 images-1 Scholastic’s Egypt is an online theme unit in five parts: Learning About Ancient Egypt, Hieroglyphs, The Pyramids, Gods and Goddesses, and Mummies. For each, the site has teaching and activity suggestions and a list of helpful websites.
 images-1 Ancient Egypt: Lesson Plans for Teachers has a nice selection of activities, categorized under art, language arts, math and science, mummies, and social studies. For example, kids make canopic jars, a personal pyramid, an Egyptian equation quilt, and a metric timeline.
 images-1 Mr. Donn’s Ancient Egypt for Teachers has a long list of well-chosen lesson plans along with activities, games, puzzles, and stories. Fun to explore.
 images-1 From the NEA, Studying Ancient Egypt has lesson plans, background information, and activities categorized by age group (grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12).
 images-1 From the Seattle Art Museum, Egypt: Gift of the Nile is a printable 70+-page illustrated teacher’s guide with detailed instructions, photographs of museum artifacts, student worksheets, background information, and story excerpts. Among the lesson titles are Talking Monuments, Scribe School, Gift of the Nile: Gardens and Culture, and Go Ask Your Mummy.
 images-1 Herstory: Women in Ancient Egypt has a pair of ancient-Egypt-themed writing projects. Kids are challenged to write an ancient Egyptian soap opera (“In the Shadow of the Sphinx”) and a letter from an Egyptian queen transmitting her life story to future generations.

HANDS-ON PROJECTS AND ACTIVITIES

 imgres-77 Designed by Tom Tierney, Ancient Egyptian Costumes Paper Dolls (Dover Publications, 1997) has sixteen typical ancient Egyptian outfits, divided between male and female.
 imgres-78 In Linda Honan’s Spend the Day in Ancient Egypt (John Wiley & Sons, 1999), subtitled “Projects and Activities That Bring the Past to Life,” readers follow a pair of Egyptian kids through the day from getting dressed in the morning to meeting pyramid builders, visiting the temple, participating in a hunt, attending a royal jubilee, and feasting on the banks of the Nile. Sample projects include making an ankh amulet and a scarab, learning to count with Egyptian numbers and measure with a cubit stick, making a Senet board and a string of rhythm beads, and many more. For ages 8-12.
See more on SENET below.
 imgres-79 By Beth Blair and Jennifer A. Ericsson, The Everything Kids’ Mummies, Pharaohs, and Pyramids Puzzle and Activity Book (Adams Media, 2008) combines reader-friendly information with dozens of paper-and-pencil puzzles: Egyptian-themed crosswords, mazes, word scrambles, math challenges, and more. Also included: instructions for mummy-style Halloween costumes and patterns for Egyptian god and goddess puppets. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-80 In Nick Page’s Amazing Academy: Mummies and Egyptology (Make Believe Ideas, 2011), kids head out to the School of Mummies and Egyptology, under the tutelage of such professors as Lady Henrietta Carthorse, Bella Zoni, and Roger (a mummy). The book is divided into four sections – Gods and Pharaohs, Pyramids and Exploration, Mummification, and Decoding the Past – each with information and hands-on activities. Also included is special membership card that gives access to the “Amazing Academy Top Secret website.” Visit Amazing Academy for more info; click on Mummies and Egyptology for a downloadable book of puzzles and hands-on activities, among them building a pyramid, carving the Sphinx, experimenting with salts, and designing a wall painting. For ages 8 and up.
 imgres-81 Carmella Van Vleet’s Great Egypt Projects You Can Build Yourself (Nomad Press, 2006) combines an interesting informational text (peppered with catchy fact boxes) with creative hands-on projects – for example, kids make papyrus paper, sandals, a cartouche, and a pyramid. Included are a timeline, map, and resource list. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-82 Andrew Haslam’s 64-page Ancient Egypt (Cooper Square Publishing, 2000) in the Make It Work! Series is a thoroughly hands-on approach to history. Historical information is paired with better-than-average crafts: for example, kids make Egyptian costumes, a model reed boat, a harp, a Senet game, a mummy mask, and more. Illustrated with color photographs. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-89 Marian Broida’s Ancient Egyptians and Their Neighbors (Chicago Review Press, 1999) is an informational activity book covering the civilizations of the ancient Egyptians, Hittites, Nubians, and Mesopotamians. For each civilization, readers learn about history and geography, architecture, clothing, writing, work, food, and religion. Included are maps, a detailed timeline, resource lists, and many projects. For example, kids made an Egyptian bead necklace and a Mesopotamian cylinder seal, bake a batch of fig cakes, build a pyramid, and try writing like a Hittite. For ages 9 and up.
The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago has a series of great activity-based Ancient Egypt lesson plans. For example, kids make a dimensional map of Egypt, bake Egyptian-style bread, paint an Egyptian-style mural, and make a hippo toy.

ART

 imgres-84 By Julie Appel, Touch the Art: Tickle Tut’s Toes (Sterling Publishing, 2009) is one of a series of interactive art board books. Here, kids can pat King Tut’s shiny coffin, stroke mummy wrappings, and feel the scratchy stones of the pyramids. The text consists of simple rhyming couplets. For ages 3-7.
 imgres-85 Ralph Masiello’s Ancient Egypt Drawing Book (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2008) has easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions for drawing such ancient Egyptian icons as the Great Pyramid of Giza, the jackal god Anubis, and Queen Nefertiti. For ages 7-10.
 imgres-86 From Bellerophon Books, A Coloring Book of Ancient Egypt has black-line ready-to-color drawings of 3000-years-worth of art, with brief descriptive captions. For ages 8 and up.
From the Boise Art Museum, the Egyptian Lesson Plans are a collection of great art projects, among them Draw Like an Egyptian, Egyptian Jewelry, Papyrus Paper Making, and Egyptian Tiles.
Dick Blick has a lesson plan for making cool Egyptian-Inspired Jewelry.
 imgres-87 Ancient Egyptian Profile is a portrait project from Crayola.
Egyptian Masks is a terrific (and challenging) project for kids in grades 8-12 in which they create 3-D masks from plaster casting material and paint them Egyptian-style.
 SONY DSC Dress like an Egyptian! From Danielle’s Place, Egyptian Crafts and Learning Activities for Children has instructions and patterns for making an Egyptian costume, headband, bracelet, and collar.
 salt_dough_cartouche Ancient Egyptian Crafts from Activity Village include salt-dough amulets and cartouches, a cat statue, a pharaoh’s headdress, a collar necklace, and more.
 imgres-88 Crayola’s Egyptian Papyrus Paper is a craft project in which kids make “papyrus” from strips of brown bags soaked in water and glue.
 mpharo1 From DLTK’s Crafts, this impressive Egyptian Pharaoh Mask is made using papier-mache, poster board, and a plastic face mask.
From Carol Henderson’s A Book in Time, see instructions for making a King Tut Death Mask using papier-mache and a plastic milk carton.
 imgres-2 The Art of Ancient Egypt is a free downloadable 180-page book for teachers from the Metropolitan Museum, featuring maps and a detailed timeline, background information on Egyptian history and art, images, lesson plans, and activities.
Boundless is a company devoted to providing open and innovative educational materials online for college students (and others).  Ancient Egyptian Art in their Art History section is an interactive text covering Egyptian art from the Early Dynastic Period through the period after Alexander the Great with images, cross-references, and quizzes.

SENET: The Ancient Egyptian Board Game

See the Boise Art Museum’s Egyptian Lesson Plans for instructions for playing Senet and a printable Senet board.
 images-3 YouTube’s Senet Game has a history of the game (accompanied by ancient Egyptian paintings of Senet players) and complete playing instructions.
Play Senet on your iPhone.
 imgres-91 This wooden Senet game is gorgeous; includes wooden pawns, throwing sticks, and an instruction sheet. The board has a pull-out draw for storing pieces. About $40.

MATH

 images-4 Count like an Egyptian. This colorful printable worksheet demonstrates the Egyptian counting system. Included is are worksheets with Egyptian hieroglyphs for kids to convert into modern numbers and vice versa.
 images-5 From Claudia Zaslavsky’s Multicultural Math: Hands-On Activities From Around the World (Scholastic, 1996), Symbols for Numbers is a multifaceted lesson in which kids learn to count like ancient Egyptians, ancient Chinese, and Mayans.
 imgres-92 The Ancient Egyptian Number System explains Egyptian math in more detail – (Could ancient Egyptians multiply and divide? Calculate square roots?) – and has an image of the Rhind Papyrus, one of the world’s oldest mathematical texts. Also see Egyptian Mathematics.

 

For related resources, also see AWESOME ARCHAEOLOGY.

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Awesome Archaeology

 

Bones, stones, gold doubloons, mummies, and a chance to grub around in the dirt…what’s not to like about archaeology?

 

BOOKS: All About Archaeology

 imgres In Kate Duke’s Archaeologists Dig for Clues (HarperCollins, 1996), one of the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series, three kids and their pets accompany Sophie, an archaeologist, on a dig, asking questions every step of the way. A nice introduction to archaeology for ages 4-8.
 imgres-1 Mark Dubrowski and Cathy East Dubrowski’s Ice Mummy (Random House Books for Young Readers, 1998) in the “Step into Reading” series is the story of the 5000-year-old man found frozen in Alpine ice by a pair of hikers in 1991. Dubbed Otzi, this is Europe’s oldest natural human mummy. For ages 5-9.
 images-1 For older readers, see National Geographic’s Last Hours of the Iceman and NOVA’s Ice Mummies.
 imgres-2 Also for young archaeologists in the “Step Into Reading” series, see Edith Kunhardt Davis’s Pompeii…Buried Alive (1987), Judy Donnelly’s Tut’s Mummy: Lost…and Found (1988), and Mark Dubrowski’s Discovery in the Cave (2010).
 imgres-4 Jane O’Connor’s Hidden Army (Grosset & Dunlap, 2011) is the story of ancient China’s fabulous army of 7000 life-sized clay soldiers, discovered by farmers in 1974. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-5 Anne Millard’s A Street Through Time (Dorling Kindersley, 1996) is a series of wonderful panoramic drawings of the same riverside European location in fourteen different time periods, from 10,000 BCE – a Stone-Age hunters’ camp – to modern times. (An additional feature for readers: find the Where’s-Waldo-type hidden time traveler.) Archaeology in a nutshell, for all ages.
 imgres-6 Philip Steele’s A City Through Time (Dorling Kindersley, 2013) might better be called Cities Through Time – the idea is the same, but, unlike Anne Millard’s Street, these are clearly different cities. Readers progress from a Greek colony in 550 BCE to a Roman city, a medieval city (with detailed castle), a 19th-century industrial port, and finally a modern metropolis (with cutaway view of skyscraper). Included are annotated timelines with historical info. For ages 7-12.
 images Peter Kent’s City Across Time (Kingfisher, 2010) tracks an imaginary European city from the Stone Age to the present, with detailed drawings of what’s going on both above and below ground. As time moves on, today’s buildings and people become tomorrow’s rubble and bones. For ages 7-11.
 imgres-7 By Fran Hawk, The Story of the H.L. Hunley and Queenie’s Coin (Sleeping Bear Press, 2011) is the story of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, sunk during the Civil War, and recovered by marine archaeologists in 2000. For ages 7-12.
The Friends of the Hunley website has histories of the submarine and its crews, maps, photos of artifacts, a Hunley simulator, lesson plans and activities (K-college), and more.
 imgres-8 In the Eyewitness series, Archeology (Dorling Kindersley, 2000) is organized as a series of double-page spreads, covering such topics as “Preservation and decay,” “Looking at the landscape,” “All kinds of documents,” and “Buildings of the past.” Gorgeously illustrated with photographs of archaeological artifacts. For ages 8 and up.
 imgres-9 Other Eyewitness books of potential interest to young archaeologists include Ancient China (2005), North American Indian (2005), Mesopotamia (2007), Ancient Greece (2007), Ancient Rome (2008), Ancient Egypt (2008), and Aztec, Inca, and Maya (2011). (Check out a reasonably complete list here.) For ages 8 and up.
  imgres-10 Susan E. Goodman’s Stones, Bones, and Petroglyphs (Atheneum, 1998) is a photo-illustrated overview of southwestern archaeology and the ancient Anasazi (or Puebloans) for ages 8-12.
 imgres-11 By Peter Lourie, The Lost World of the Anasazi: Exploring the Mysteries of Chaco Canyon (Boyds Mills Press, 2007) is a photo-illustrated account of the ancient Pueblo people of the American southwest, their mysterious disappearance in the 13th century, and the clues left behind at Chaco Canyon. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-12 Anthony Aveni’s Buried Beneath Us: Discovering the Ancient Cities of the Americas (Roaring Brook Press, 2013) begins with the discovery – by startled electrical workers – of the fabulous Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, beneath the streets of Mexico City. An information-packed and interesting read for ages 9-12.
 imgres-13 James Deem’s Bodies From the Ash: Life and Death in Ancient Pompeii (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2005) is an enthralling account of what was once one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire, destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. The book describes what happened in the wake of the eruption and how archaeologists rediscovered the city. Illustrated with many photographs of excavations, artifacts, bones, and plaster molds of victims. Starred reviews. For ages 9-13.
 imgres-14 Also by Deem in the same format, see Bodies from the Ice (HMH, 2008) and Bodies from the Bog (HMH, 2003).
 imgres-15 Ilene Cooper’s The Dead Sea Scrolls (HarperCollins, 1997) is the story of what has been called the “greatest archaeological discovery of the twentieth century:” a collection of over 900 ancient texts, discovered in the Qumran Cave on the shore of Israel’s Dead Sea.  Cooper discusses the history and significance of the scrolls, and how they were found and reconstructed by archaeologists. For ages 10 and up.
 imgres-16 Digital Dead Sea Scrolls has images of the scrolls online with historical background information.
 imgres-17 The National Geographic Investigates Ancient Civilizations series is a collection of 64-page books on the archaeology and history of ancient cultures worldwide, each with maps, timelines, interviews with researchers, and gorgeous color photographs. Titles include Ancient Maya, Ancient Pueblo, Ancient China, Ancient Africa, Ancient Celts, and more. For ages 10 and up.
 imgres-18 Marc Aronson’s If Stones Could Speak (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2010) is an award-winning account of the archaeology of Stonehenge, demonstrating how archaeologists work to solve ancient puzzles.  A recent hypothesis is that Stonehenge was a memorial to honor the dead, with a sister complex made of wood for the living. A fascinating read, illustrated with color photographs, for ages 10 and up.
From Smithsonian magazine, New Light on Stonehenge discusses the site’s history and summarizes recent research.
 imgres-19 David Macaulay’s Ship (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1993) begins with a crew of underwater archaeologists recovering a sunken 15th-century ship from a reef near the Bahamas, then leaps back in time to follow the building of the ship and its eventual demise. Fictitious, but historically accurate; illustrated with terrific detailed architectural drawings. For ages 10 and up.
 images-2 Similar and equally wonderful books by Macaulay include Pyramid (HMH, 1982), Castle (HMH, 1982), Cathedral (Sandpiper, 1981), Mill (HMH, 1989), Mosque (HMH, 2008), and City (HMH, 1983) – this last “A Story of Roman Planning and Construction.”
 imgres-20 By Simon Adams, Archaeology Detectives (Barron’s Educational Series, 2009) is the story of great archaeologists and archaeological discoveries worldwide, illustrated with color photographs. Among the sites featured are India’s Mohenjo-Daro, the tomb of Tutankhamun, China’s terracotta warriors, Pompeii, and the palace of Knossos. For ages 10 and up.
 imgres-21 Annual Editions: Archaeology (McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2012) is one of the extensive Annual Editions series, each of which is a collection of reader-friendly articles from popular magazines, newspapers, and books related to a specific topic. The Archaeology volume, for example, contains 38 articles on a wide range of archaeological topics, among them “All the King’s Sons” from the New Yorker, “Lost City of the Maya” from Smithsonian, “Uncovering America’s Pyramid Builders” from Discover, and “Lost Cities of the Amazon” from Scientific American. An excellent resource for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-27 By Johannes Loubser, Archaeology the Comic (Altamira Press, 2003) is an introductory archaeology text in the form of a graphic novel. The book follows the adventures of Squizee, a teenager and would-be archaeologist, and her mentor, a museum archaeologist named Dr. Holmes. Various chapters cover excavation techniques, dating methods, artifact cataloging and analysis, and a host of archaeological studies and controversies. A nice presentation for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-23 C.W. Ceram’s archaeological classic, Gods, Graves, and Scholars (Bantam, 1976), is an information-filled tale of adventure, romance, history, and science. The book is divided into four main sections: “The Book of the Statues,” which covers Pompeii, Troy, Mycenae, and Crete; “The Book of the Pyramids” (Egypt); “The Book of the Towers” (Assyria, Babylonia, and Sumeria); and “The Book of the Temples” (Aztecs, Mayas, and Toltecs). Chapters have such irresistible titles as “Evans: Crete and the Minotaur,” “Champollion: Treason and Hieroglyphics,” and “Layard: A Dilettante Outwits a Pasha.” A great read for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-24 Michael Wood’s books – chatty and addictive mixes of archaeology and history – include In Search of the Dark Ages (BBC Books, 2007), In Search of the Trojan War (University of California Press, 1998), In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great (University of California Press, 2001), and In Search of England (University of California Press, 2001). Wood’s titles have all (or almost all) been made into excellent film documentaries, available on DVD.
  images-3 James Deetz’s In Small Things Forgotten (Anchor Books, 1996) surveys the archaeology of early American life as revealed through such small and often-forgotten artifacts as doors and porches, chairs, grave markers, and pottery shards. A classic for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-25 Ivor Noel Hume’s Martin’s Hundred (University of Virginia Press, 1991) is a fascinating account of the excavation of Martin’s Hundred, a 17th-century English settlement in Virginia. Hume, for many years director of archaeological research at Colonial Williamsburg, is a terrific writer and the author of many excellent books on archaeology. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-26 Brian Fagan’s Time Detectives (Simon & Schuster, 1996) is a detailed account of how modern archaeologists use technology. (“Today archaeologists can identify Chinese silk from a single fabric strand, conjure up ancient landscapes from handfuls of tiny seeds and pollen grains, and use carbon isotopes to reconstruct prehistoric diets.”) The science behind the archaeology for teenagers and adults.

INDIANA JONES AND CO.

 images-4 Isabel Soto – dauntless archaeologist and world explorer – is the star of a series of graphic novels published by Capstone Press’s Graphic Library. Titles, variously by Terry Collins and Agnieszka Biskup, include Egypt’s Mysterious Pyramids, Uncovering Mummies, Escape from Pompeii, The Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellers, and Exploring Titanic. (Isabel also occasionally goes farther afield, as in Tracking Bigfoot and Searching for UFOs.) For ages 8 and up.
 imgres-28 In Caroline Ludovici’s The Obsidian Mask (Infinity Publishing, 2011), Natasha and Alex join their archaeologist mother at a dig near Medinabad, where the researchers have just unearthed an obsidian mask, once owned by an ancient Mesopotamian warrior queen. The story begins in 3000 BCE, then leaps to the (adventure-crammed) present day. The first of a trilogy for ages 10 and up.
 imgres-29 In David Macaulay’s Motel of the Mysteries (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1979), the year is 4022 and archaeologist Howard Carson is excavating what he believes to be a sacred burial chamber, lying just past a crumbling DO NOT DISTURB sign hung on an ancient doorknob. A clever spoof for ages 12 and up.
 imgres-30 Elizabeth Peters’s Crocodiles on the Sandbank (Grand Central Publishing, 2013) is the first of an extensive mystery series set in the late 19th century and starring feisty Egyptologist Amelia Peabody. (The author knows her stuff; she herself has a doctorate in Egyptology.) Among the subsequent titles are The Curse of the Pharaohs, The Mummy Case, and Lion in the Valley. Fun and exciting reads for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-31 Several of Agatha Christie’s mysteries have archaeological themes. (Christie’s husband, Max Mallowan, was an archaeologist.) See Inspired by Archaeology for information and book descriptions. Christie’s Murder in Mesopotamia, for example, is set on an archaeological dig in Ur.
 images-5 “Dr. Indiana Jones is worse at recovering precious items than a magpie stuffed with explosives.” 8 Famous Fictional Archaeologists Who Suck at Their Job is a snarky overview of archaeologists in the movies for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-32 Michael Crichton’s Timeline (Ballantine Books, 2003) is a fast-paced thriller that pairs archaeologists, excavations of 14th-century French castles, the Hundred Years’ War, and a time machine. For teenagers and adults.
 images-6 Future archaeology. In outer space. Check out this list of 10 Space Archaeology Novels You Must Read.

MAGAZINES

 imgres-33 Dig, Cobblestone Publishing’s terrific archaeology and history magazine for kids, is packed with informational articles, illustrations, news, and activities. Sample issue titles include “Dogs: In the Beginning They Were Wolves,” “America’s First Cities,” “Amazing Earth Paintings,” and “Digging in the Valley of the Kings.” An annual subscription (nine issues) costs about $30; individual back issues are available for $6.95 apiece. For ages 9-14.
 imgres-42 Calliope, Cobblestone’s 52-page magazine of “World History for Young People,” also often features archaeological or ancient civilization themes. Sample issue titles include “The Aztecs,” “The Assyrians,” “The Babylonians,” and “Buried by Vesuvius.” An annual subscription (nine issues) costs about $30; individual back issues are available for $6.95 apiece. For ages 9-14.
 imgres-35 Archaeology magazine, published bimonthly by the Archaeological Institute of America, is aimed at adults and has a fairly sophisticated text, but the pictures – all in color – are great for persons of all ages. Each issue includes several feature articles about archaeological discoveries worldwide. An annual subscription costs about $15.

ARCHAEOLOGY ONLINE AND ON SCREEN

 images-7 In the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Maya Adventure, kids explore prominent Mayan archaeological sites.
 ruins-chaco-canyon In Annenberg Learner’s Collapse: Why Do Civilizations Fall?, students explore the fall of four major civilizations – the Maya, Mesopotamia, Chaco Canyon, and the west African kingdoms of Mali and Songhai. Included are interactive activities and an extensive resource list.
 imgres-36 In the PBS series Time Team America, archaeologists race to excavate historic sites around the nation. Visitors to the website can watch full episodes and access lots of helpful supplementary information.
 imgres-37 The idea for Time Team America came from the BBC’s reality TV series Time Team. For example, check out Time Team: Unearthing the Roman Invasion, a 12-part archaeological adventure on DVD.
 imgres-38 The History Channel’s Digging for Truth series, starring Josh Bernstein, deals with unsolved historical and archaeological mysteries, and each episode – after site visits, interviews with researchers, and investigation – ends with a working hypothesis. Titles include “Hunt for the Lost Ark,” “Secrets of the Nazca Lines,” “Mystery of the Anasazi,” “The Real Temple of Doom,” and “Roanoke: The Lost Colony.” Available on DVD or as Amazon Instant Videos.
 imgres-39 From PBS, the Secrets of the Dead series is an exciting mix of forensic science, archaeology, and history. Episode titles include Bones of the Buddha, Ultimate Tut, Caveman Cold Case, and Blackbeard’s Lost Ship. (View online or available on DVD.) Click on “Educators” at the website for lesson plans to accompany the episodes, aimed at middle- and high-school-level students.
 imgres-40 NOVA’s five-part Secrets of Lost Empires series includes “Medieval Siege,” “Pharaoh’s Obelisk,” “Easter Island,” “Roman Bath,” and “China Bridge.” The website has online teacher’s guides, background information, and creative activities.
 imgres-41 NOVA’s Mystery of the First Americans explores the discovery and controversy surrounding the 9000-year-old skeleton of Kennewick Man. The website has a teacher’s guide, supplementary information, and “The Dating Game,” an interactive explanation of radiocarbon dating.
Romancing the Stones is an interesting article from the European Journal of Archaeology on “Archaeology in Popular Cinema.” (There are problems.)
 images-8 Dig-It Games, founded by a professional archaeologist/middle-school teacher, makes archaeology-themed video games for kids, designed to promote puzzle- and problem-solving skills (and some history learning). Titles so far include Roman Town and Mayan Mysteries. For Mac, PC, and mobile devices.

ARCHAEOLOGISTS AND TREASURE HUNTERS

 imgres-43 Mike Venezia’s Mary Leakey: Archaeologist Who Really Dug Her Work (Children’s Press, 2009) is a delightful introductory biography of one of the foremost contributors to the history of human evolution, illustrated with photographs and clever little cartoons. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-44 By Laura Amy Schlitz, The Hero Schliemann: The Dreamer Who Dug for Troy (Candlewick, 2013) is a great 80-page biography of the problematic amateur archaeologist who found the ancient city of Troy. For ages 9-13.
 imgres-45 Paul Bahn’s The Great Archaeologists (Southwater, 2009) is a 96-page composite biography of 47 famous archaeologists, illustrated with color photographs.
 imgres-46 Vandal, thief – or undeservedly neglected archaeologist? Ivor Noel Hume’s Belzoni: The Giant Archaeologists Love to Hate (University of Virginia Press, 2011) is the biography of the early 19th-century Italian circus strongman Giovanni Belzoni who became one of the first Egyptologists. (Certainly he was the largest – 6’6” tall – and the most flamboyant). For teenagers and adults.
 images-9 The Great Belzoni is a great 50-minute film version of Belzoni’s life.
Who Owns Archaeological Artifacts? Just because you dug it up, doesn’t mean you get to take it home. Read all about it.
 imgres-47 Sharon Waxman’s Loot: The Battle Over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World (Times Books, 2009) pairs trips to famous museums with visits to the countries where some of their most famous exhibits originated, dealing with the thorny question of who owns what. (Should the Elgin marbles go back to Greece?) An interesting topic for teenagers and adults.

ALMOST LIKE BEING THERE

 imgres-48 Stefania Perring’s Then & Now (Macmillan General Reference, 1991) is a collection of photographs of twenty famous ancient sites as they appear today paired with overlays of an artist’s reconstruction of what each site looked like originally. Included are the Parthenon, Machu Picchu, Pompeii, Angkor Wat, the Minoan palace of Knossos, and more. For all ages.
 imgres-49 Odyssey Online is a beautifully designed museum site in which visitors can explore the Near East, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Africa, and the ancient Americas. Learn about people, mythology, daily life, death and burial, writing, and archaeology; click on artifacts to discover their histories; access maps; and find lists of books and helpful websites. A terrific resource.
 imgres-50 National Geographic’s Archaeology site has a gorgeous slide show on the history and practice of archaeology. See Machu Picchu, the Sphinx, Minoan art, Pompeii, and much more.
 imgres-51 Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur is an account of Leonard Woolley’s excavation of the ancient Sumerian city of Ur with a slide show of some of the fabulous artifacts found there.
 images-10 Teotihuacan: City of the Gods is an online photographic tour of the famous Mexican first-century religious center, featuring Pyramids of the Sun and Moon.
 imgres-52 The Anasazi Heritage Center website has an artifact gallery, an overview of Anasazi archaeological sites, and detailed info on the history and culture of the Anasazi.
 imgres-53 The Ancient City of Athens is a photo archive of ancient Greek buildings and archaeological sites. Check out the Acropolis.
 imgres-54 In this interactive game at Montreal’s Pointe-a-Calliere Museum website, visitors can become virtual archaeologists, digging through history to Montreal’s Stone Age past. (In English or French.) (Click on “Explore.”)
 hsc00a At Smith College’s Museum of Ancient Inventions, visitors click on color photographs of (many) artifacts to learn all about them. For example, check out a Sumerian lyre, a cuneiform cylinder seal, and an Aztec calendar wheel.

PROJECTS, PUZZLES, LESSON PLANS, AND ACTIVITIES

 imgres-55 Richard Panchyk’s Archaeology for Kids (Chicago Review Press, 2001) is a survey of archaeology, variously covering how archaeology works, human evolution, the Ice Age and the Neolithic, the first civilizations, ancient Greece and Rome, the New World, and historical archaeology. Included are maps and diagrams, photos, a timeline, and a helpful bibliography. There are also 25 hands-on projects, among them calculating height from a footprint mold, analyzing soil, practicing dendrochronology by counting tree rings, playing a seriation game (with photos of old cars), and making an ancient-Greek-style oil lamp. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-56 John White’s Hands-On Archaeology (Prufrock Press, 2006), an informational collection of “Hands-On Activities for Kids,” has a wealth of projects based on site research, excavation, field records, artifact preparation and cataloging, and more. Included are a lengthy appendix of teacher resources and reproducible forms and worksheets. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-57 By Steve Daniels and Nicholas David, The Archaeology Workbook (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982) is a collection of thirteen detailed fictional archaeological puzzles intended to accompany an introductory college archaeology course.  Challenging for older teenagers and adults with some archaeology background.
 imgres-59 From the University of Minnesota, Archaeological Methods has detailed background information, illustrations, instructions, and activities for introducing preschoolers and early-elementary-level kids to archaeology. Kids discover “What Bones Can Tell Us” (in detail; find out all about pelvic bones and skulls and assemble skeleton puzzles), and practice stratigraphy with chocolate pudding, gummy worms, and Oreos.
 imgres-58 From teacher Mr. Donn’s website, Archaeology for Kids is packed with kid-friendly information (What is an archaeologist? How do archaeologists find sites to explore?), along with short biographies of famous archaeologists, games, quizzes, and interactive activities.
 imgres-60 What to do with pottery shards? In Archeology Game, kids decorate clay flower pots, smash them (gently; you don’t want smithereens) in a paper bag, and then re-assemble them with glue, archaeologist-style.
 images-11 For kids, the Colonial Williamsburg Archaeological Research page has general information about archaeology, a couple of archaeology-based hands-on activities, and a gallery of children’s artifacts.
 imgres-61 Archaeology and Mysteries Activities has projects, puzzles, and simulations for young archaeologists of a wide range of ages. Titles include The Great Cheese Mystery, The Mystery of Tollund Man, and Discovering Richard III.
 imgres-62 From the Guardian Teacher Network, Archaeology Teaching Resources is a collection of free downloadable lesson plans and projects. Sample titles are “How to mummify an orange,” “How to make and excavate fake poo,” “Investigating historic buildings,” and “The Roman box.”
 imgres-63 The Archaeological Institute of America has a great series of AIA Lesson Plans, variously for grades K-12, with complete instructions. Sample titles are Aztec Codex, Greek Vase Painting, Layer Cake Archaeology, and Shoebox Dig.
 imgres-64 From the Smithsonian, Decoding the Past is an illustrated, printable, three-lesson introduction to archaeology in which kids learn to identify and interpret artifacts, and date soil layers. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-66 Dirt Detective in an animated interactive game in which kids learn about archaeological techniques with the help of a mole in an Indian-Jones-style hat.
 imgres-67 From the BBC, Archaeology is an information-packed and reader-friendly site, covering various subtypes of archaeology (including battlefield, aerial, and marine), archaeological techniques, artifacts, reconstructions, and excavations. Work through it all and test your knowledge with interactive quizzes.
 imgres-68 The Investigate Archaeology Files are a collection of free downloadable lessons and projects, among them Greek Writing, Make a Roman Sandal, Crop Marks, Historic Poo, Rot or Not, and Maths in a Monastery.
 images-12 The Society for American Archaeology has lesson plans, simulated archaeological dig projects, online archaeological adventures, and more for a range of ages. (Click on “For the Public.”) For example, Archaeologyland is a collection of hands-on archaeology-based activities for ages 5 and up, in which kids replicate pottery designs, make a pot puzzle, create petroglyphs, make a cordage bracelet, and more.
 imgres-69 Interact – a division of Social Studies School Service – publishes simulations that encourage kids to learn by doing. Click on “World History” to find simulations of interest to young archaeologists, among them Dig, in which participants divide into two groups, invent a civilization, and then fabricate artifacts and create a “dig” for the opposing team to excavate. Diggers then attempt to re-create the civilization of the opposite team from the archaeological evidence. For ages 12 and up.

COOL KITS AND GAMES

 imgres-70 With the Archaeology Pyramid Dig kit, kids use hammer, brush, chisel, and sponge to excavate a model pyramid containing a sarcophagus (with mummy) and an assortment of canopic urns. Included is an illustrated informational manual with additional activities. About $20. For ages 8 and up.
 imgres-71 For the outdoor archaeologist, the Coleman Kids Archaeologist Kit has the basic tools of the trade – magnifying glass, sifter/trowel, tweezers, brush, and notebook – all packaged in a handy bag with pockets and a shoulder strap. About $24. For ages 6-10.
 imgres-65 Use the Archaeology Adventure Dig Activity Kit from Nature Watch to set up a complete (simulated) native American dig site, equipped with pottery shards, arrowheads, beads, and animal bones. The kit includes a good-sized screen for sifting and sorting findings and a detailed instructor’s guide. (Extra dig components can be ordered for larger group digs.) About $70. Can be used for a wide range of ages.
 imgres-72 In Archaeology: The Card Game, players take on the role of archaeologists – well, treasure hunters – competing to complete collections of pots, parchments, and artifacts to sell to museums (while combatting thieves and sandstorms). For 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up.
 imgres-73 From LEGO, archaeology-themed games – which players first build with Lego blocks, then play – include Ramses Pyramid, Ramses Return, and Minotaurus. Each comes with blocks and instructions, microfigures, and a buildable Lego die. For ages 8 and up.

REAL DIGS AND CITIZEN SCIENCE

 imgres-74 Finally, for those eager to get out in the field, armed with trowel, teaspoon, and paintbrush, and dig, the Archaeological Institute of America publishes the Archaeological Fieldwork Opportunities Bulletin (AFOB), a detailed list of digs, field schools, and programs with positions for volunteers or students. (The bad part: You don’t get to keep anything you find. The good part: It’s the finding that’s the most fun.)
 images-13 From the USDA Forest Service, Passport in Time is a long list of volunteer archaeological fieldwork and historical preservation opportunities at Forest Service-sponsored sites around the United States. (Cool family vacation.)
imgres Ancient Lives is a citizen science project in which participants help decode ancient Greek papyri. An online tutorial shows you what to do.

Also see ANCIENT EGYPT.

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Geology ROCKS!

 

Rocks! See below for books, projects, experiments, arts and crafts, and much more. Celebrate National Fossil Day, make eggshell geodes, take a nature walk with alphabet rocks, grow gorgeous crystals, play the ancient Asian game of Five Stones, and build your own catapult.

And don’t miss Earth Science Week, which is celebrated each year in October. Check out the website (see below) for ideas, activities, research projects, a photo gallery, and a state-by-state list of Earth Science organizations.

About Rocks and Minerals

 images By Dianna Hutts Aston, A Rock is Lively (Chronicle Books, 2012) is a beautifully designed and illustrated introduction to the world of rocks, feature by feature, in the same format as Aston’s previous nature picture books, among them An Egg is Quiet and A Seed is Sleepy. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-7 Steve Tomacek’s Rocks and Minerals (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2010) in the Jump Into Science series is a colorful introduction to rocks covering the formation of the planet, the building blocks of rocks, and uses of rocks. Included is a project for making a rock of your own (using sand, pebbles, and white glue). For ages 4-8.
Also in the Jump Into Science series, see Tomacek’s Dirt (2007), which includes a soil stratification project, and Ellen Prager’s Sand (2006).
 imgres-1 Natalie M. Rosinsky’s Rocks: Hard, Soft, Smooth, and Rough (Picture Window Books, 2002) is a simple introduction to igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. Included are a rock identification chart and an explanation of the Mohs Hardness Scale. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-2 The Mohs Hardness Scale was invented in 1812 by German mineralogist Frederich Mohs. This website explains the scale (in ten easy steps, from talc to diamond) and shows how a number of common items (fingernails, a penny) fall into place.
 imgres-3 In Joanna Cole’s The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth (Scholastic, 1989), the incomparable Ms. Frizzle – in hard hat and rock-patterned jumpsuit – takes her class on a journey to the center of the earth. (They return to the surface via volcanic eruption.) Information about rock layers and rocks is delivered through cartoon bubbles and hand-lettered student reports. For ages 6-11.
 imgres-4 Melissa Stewart’s Extreme Rocks and Minerals (HarperCollins, 2007) combines gorgeous color photos with a reader-friendly question-and-answer format. Sample questions: “What is a mineral?” “What is a rock?” “How do you identify sedimentary rocks?” “How are rocks recycled?” Included are links to relevant Smithsonian websites. For ages 6-11.
 imgres-5 Jacqui Bailey’s The Rock Factory (Picture Window Books, 2007) tells the story of the rock cycle through the adventures of one rock, born in the depths of a volcano. For ages 7-10.
 imgres-6 By Simon Basher and Dan Green, Rocks and Minerals (Kingfisher, 2009) covers the three rock types, ores, minerals, gems, and fossils in a fact-filled breezy text, giving each feature a first-person voice. Clay, for example, states, “I’m the type of mushy goo that can suck rain boots off your feet. My main ingredients are tiny particles that you can’t see unless you use an electron microscope.” Shale announces, “My experiences in becoming a rock have been brutal.” Illustrated with great little cartoon icons. One of an extensive science series, all good. For ages 8 and up.
 imgres Steve Tomacek’s reader-friendly National Geographic Kids: Everything Rocks and Minerals variously covers different types of rocks, uses of rocks (arrowheads, coal, the Taj Mahal), the rock cycle, gemstones, and rock collecting. Illustrated with gorgeous color photographs. An appealing read for ages 8-12.
 imgres-8 Mark Kurlansky’s The Story of Salt (Putnam Juvenile Books, 2006) is a picture-book history covering all aspects of salt. Fascinating for ages 8-12. (For teenagers and adults, see Kurlansky’s much longer Salt: A World History (Penguin Books, 2003).)
 imgres-9 Salt is the only mineral we eat. Learn more about sea salt, salt beds, salt domes, and more at About Salt. Included is a link to a site with instructions for making your own salt crystals.
 imgres-10 In the Eyewitness series, Rocks & Minerals (Dorling Kindersley, 2008) by R.F. Symes covers rock formation, weathering and erosion, the three basic kinds of rocks, fossils, gemstones, minerals, and precious metals, with separate sections devoted to limestone caves, rocks as tools, coal, rocks from space, and rock collecting. Each topic has a double-page spread, illustrated with spectacular photos and diagrams. The bulk of the text is in picture captions. For ages 8 and up.
 imgres-11 By Rebecca Lawton, Diana Lawton, and Susan Panttaja, Discover Nature in the Rocks (Stackpole Books, 1997) is a family-friendly 200+-page survey of general geology, covering minerals, rocks, volcanoes, sediment, fossils, erosion, water, continents and tectonic plates, earthquakes, and rocks in space. Each chapter includes several activities (model sedimentary layers in a glass jar, bake a batch of volcano tarts, make a Pangaea puzzle), an interesting selection of further “Things to Think About,” and helpful book and video lists.
 imgres-12 By famed nonfiction writer John McPhee, Annals of the Former World (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000) is a fascinating geologic overview of the United States, based on a series of cross-country trips McPhee took in company with various geologists. Portions of the trip were published as separate earlier books (Basin and Range, In Suspect Terrain, Rising From the Plains, Assembling California); Annals of the Former World includes them all, plus. Highly recommended for interested teenagers and adults.
 imgres-13 The Roadside Geology series (Mountain Press) has a volume for each state, detailing geological history and key features. Fun to keep in the car.
 images-1 Minerals in Our Environment is a cool poster showing the rooms of a house with numbered objects whose (often surprising) mineral composition is listed in the margins. The bathroom mirror, for example, contains feldspar, silica, and silver; living-room carpets contain limestone and selenium.
 images-2 At OneGeology, kids click on a cute little character to learn about geology, maps, rocks and minerals, fossils and dinosaurs, earthquakes, volcanoes, worldwide geology, energy, water, and earth processes. Each character’s page has kid-friendly information, interactive diagrams, video clips, photos, and a short quiz.
 images-3 Rock Hound Kids (“Helping Kids to Love Geology”) has a mineral photo gallery, interactive graphics on geology basics, an online rock game (“Who Am I?”), and resource lists for parents and teachers.
 images-4 The Smithsonian’s Department of Mineral Sciences has a wealth of resources, among them the incredible Dynamic Earth map (track earthquakes, volcanoes, impact craters, and plate boundaries) and the Global Volcanism Program (“10,000 years of volcanic activity at your fingertips”). Visitors can also check out (wonderful) ongoing exhibits, and learn about the Hope Diamond and the search for Antarctic meteorites.
 images-5 Bob’s Rock Shop is an online zine for rockhounds, with dozens of interesting articles. Click on the Table of Contents to find Rocks in the News, of which there’s much more than you might think. There’s also a page on rock and fossil stamps, info on rock-collecting hikes, rock and mineral identification guides, and an extensive bookstore.
 images-6 Got a question about rocks, minerals, volcanoes, earthquakes, mountains, maps, rivers, or any other geological topic? Go to Ask-a-Geologist.

Hands-On Rocks

 imgres-16 By Anthony D. Fredericks, Under One Rock (Dawn Publications, 2001) is a rhyming picture-book account of the ecosystems (“Bugs, Slugs, and Other Ughs”) to be found under rocks. An appendix of Field Notes provides more information on the creatures most likely to be found. Pair this one with an outdoor rock-turning expedition. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-17 Cindy Blobaum’s Geology Rocks! (Williamson Publishing, 1999), subtitled “50 Hands-On Activities to Explore the Earth,” is a witty and informational collection covering everything from rock types to earthquakes and the structure of the planet. For example, try mining with a chocolate chip cookie, make a sand sculpture, play a rock version of Tic-Tac-Toe. Illustrated with a mix of cartoon drawings and photographs. For ages 7-12.
 imgres-18 By Cynthia Light Brown, Explore Rocks and Minerals (Nomad Press, 2010) is a collection of 25 projects, activities, and experiments for rock lovers. Various chapters cover the structure of the earth, minerals and crystals, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks, fossils, and rock collecting. Included are fact boxes and “Words 2 Know” lists. For example, kids make pumice (meringue) cookies, grow crystals and stalactites, make fossils, and more. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-27 From the Lawrence Hall of Science GEMS (Great Explorations in Math and Science) program, see Stories in Stone, a creative 8-lesson, 164-page earth science unit for grades 4-8. (To accompany it, you’ll need a sample rock and mineral collection; sources are listed. Also see below.) Working with samples, kids differentiate between rocks and minerals, classify both, identify “mystery rocks,” experiment with crystals, and make clay models to study the rock cycle and plate tectonics.
 freedownload23 From TOPScience, Rocks and Minerals is an 88-page, activity-based study unit for grades 6-12 (or younger), variously covering types of rocks, Mohs hardness scale, rock identification, the rock cycle, and more. The TOPScience units are impressively clever, with detailed teaching tips, background information, and instructions for building your own sophisticated scientific equipment out of practically nothing. Highly recommended.
 imgres-20 USGS Educational Resources has wonderful lesson plans, activity instructions, and downloadable teacher’s guides and student booklets on a wide range of environmental and earth science topics for grades K-6 and 7-12. Geology resource sub-categories include Geomagnetism, Astronomy and Astrogeology, Plate Tectonics, Geologic Maps, Rocks and Minerals, Fossils and Caves, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and more.
 images-3 Geology for Kids has interactive games, videos, lists of fun facts, and lesson plans. Kids can experiment online with rocks, minerals, and soils. Make quicksand and a vinegar volcano.
 imgres-21 Sponsored by the American Geosciences Institute, Earth Science Week has a long (long) alphabetized list of activities, categorized by grade level and based on the National Science Education Standards. Sample project titles: A Model of Three Faults, Chocolate Rock Cycle, Earthquake Machine, Geologic Age, Mud Fossils, and Rock Around the World.
 images-7 From Grand Canyon National Park, Geology Lesson Plans is a printable collection of informational activities with detailed instructions. Titles include “What’s Inside the Earth?” “Plate Tectonics,” “Which Rock Am I?” “Grand Canyon Geologic Timeline,” and “Fossilization Game.”
 imgres-22 Earth Learning Idea posts a new earth-related teaching idea or project every week.
 images-8 From National Geographic, Quiz Your Noodle is an interactive multiple-choice quiz on geology.
 imgres-23 Discover with Dr. Cool science kits are terrific resources for young rock lovers. Among these: the Mine for Gems and Mine for Fossils kits, which come with digging tool, brush, and ten high-quality specimens embedded in a digging block; the Learn How to Pan for Gold kit, which has a prospector’s pan, mining tools, and two bags of “pay dirt” which contain – in lieu of actual gold – pyrite nuggets; and the Glow Rocks kit, which has a portable UV lamp, six fluorescent rock specimens, and an adventure guide. Very cool.
 imgres-24 The Microslide Viewer is a truly terrific little apparatus – it looks a bit like a microscope (though is cheap, lightweight, washable, and pretty much indestructible) and can be used to view strips of photomicrographs (microslides), collections of eight or more photographs taken through microscopes at various degrees of magnification. There are dozens of microslide sets, among them “Rocks and Rock-Forming Minerals,” “Fossils,” and “Mineral Characteristics and Identification,” each a fascinating series of thin sections. (See granite, really close-up.) Viewers cost about $10; microslide sets about $6. Highly recommended. Available from a number of science suppliers; I had the best and most cost-effective luck at Amazon.com.
 Playful-Ways-to-Teach-Young-Kids-About-Rocks 30 Playful Ways to Teach Young Kids About Rocks is a great collection of rock activities for the very young, including a make-your-own-rock activity, a percussion rock band project, a letter R craft (with rocks), and more.
imgres-28 This Planet Really Rocks  has great activities for rock-lovers. Tackle a Famous Rock Scavenger Hunt, make eggshell geodes, bake sedimentary rock snacks, make a paper model of granite, and more.
 imgres-25 Home Science Tools carries a range of materials for geology fans, including rock and mineral collections, an earth cross-section model, soil test lab kits, gold panning gravel, and volcano kits.
 imgres-25 MiniMe Geology is a source for rock cycle, rock, and mineral kits, starter rock collections, individual rock and mineral samples, and geology equipment for rock hounds. Also at the site are a series of fascinating geology articles on a wide range of topics and an illustrated and annotated list of birthstones.
 imgres-26 Geology.com is a terrific source for information about geology and earth science, along with books, field guides, maps, and geology equipment (everything from rock hammers to gold pans). Click on Teacher Resources for an excellent collection of resources and activities, among them a plate tectonics animation, rock and mineral identification helps, information on buying and using a rock tumbler, and Adaptive Earth Science Activities, an 80-page printable booklet of geology and earth science projects, among them “Parking Lot Gravel,” “Spelunking,” “Rock Riddles,” “Mighty Metamorphic Power Rocks,” and “Modeling Geologic Columns with Sand Art.” For each are included a materials list, step-by-step instructions, and follow-up questions.
 imgres-26 From the Geological Society of America, Resources for K-12 Earth Science Educators is a long list of lesson plans and hands-on projects for elementary, intermediate, and secondary students, categorized by topic – among these “Earthquakes and Volcanoes,” “Geology and Geologic Time,” “Paleontology and Evolution,” “Plate Tectonics,” and “Rocks, Minerals, and Mining.”
 images-1 Polish rocks! Home Science Tools has a nice assortment of rock tumblers, grit, and ready-to-polish rocks.
 images-9 Break your own geodes! (Put them in a sock and smack them with a hammer to reveal an inner cavity filled with crystals.) Available from several sources; a box of ten, each 1-2 inches in diameter, is available here. About $10.
 imgres-29 For the dramatic geologist, Geology ROCKS! (Bad Wolf Press) is a 25-minute musical for elementary-level kids. The plot: Professor Rock has disappeared and his students head out on a quest to find him, with the dubious help of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. En route they encounter volcanoes and other geological features, and learn about the rock cycle. Script, teacher’s guide, and musical CD cost $39.95.
 imgres-30 Five Stones is a game believed to have originated in ancient Asia. It’s like jacks, with a twist. All you need to play is hand-eye coordination and five small stones. Another reason to collect pebbles.

 Planet Earth, or Third Rock From the Sun

 images-10 Gail Gibbons’s Planet Earth/Inside Out (HarperCollins, 1997) is a brightly colored picture-book survey of geology, covering the formation and structure of the earth, volcanoes, earthquakes, and the three major types of rocks. A simple straightforward introduction for ages 5-8.
 imgres-19 Seymour Simon’s Volcanoes (HarperCollins, 1996) covers the origin of volcanoes and famous volcanoes worldwide with beautiful color photographs and diagrams. For ages 6-10.
In the same format, see Seymour Simon’s Earthquakes (HarperCollins, 2006).
 imgres-31 By Matthys Levy and Mario Salvadori, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Tsunamis (Chicago Review Press, 2009) explains the science behind earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunami waves, with helpful black-and-white illustrations, diagrams, and many projects, demonstrations, and experiments. For example, kids simulate the behavior of tectonic plates using a hardboiled egg, build a model seismograph, and demonstrate ground shocks with a Slinky. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-32 By Dinah Zikes, The Earth Science Book (John Wiley & Sons, 1993) is an informational activity book in seven chapters, variously covering the Earth, Matter, the Lithosphere (rocks), the Hydrosphere, the Atmosphere, Life, and Our Changing Earth. Included are clear explanations, many black-and-white illustrations and diagrams, fact boxes, and “Famous Faces” with brief biographies of important scientists. For ages 7-11.
 images-11 Geology Labs Online are free web-based activities targeted at students in middle school and up. Each lab – Virtual Earthquake, Virtual Dating, and Virtual River – has images, demonstrations, tutorials, and a series of tasks that involve observation, measurement, and data analysis. (Finish and you get a cool congratulatory certificate.)

Special Rocks

 imgres-33 Leslie McGuirk’s photo-illustrated If Rocks Could Sing (Tricycle Press, 2011) is a “Discovered Alphabet” in rocks, all found on the beach near the author’s home. B, for example, is for Bird, and features both a rock shaped like the letter B and a bird-shaped rock in a nest. What a great idea for a family rock-hunting project. For ages 3 and up.
 Alphabet-Rocks- Take a Nature Walk with Alphabet Rocks. In this fun activity, kids paint the letters of the alphabet on rocks, then take a hike and distribute their rocks in appropriate locations outdoors. (F next to a flower; G in the grass?)
imgres-37 Byrd Baylor’s wonderful picture book Everybody Needs a Rock (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2011) tells readers just how to choose their own very special rock. For ages 4 and up.
 imgres-34 Peggy Christian’s If You Find a Rock (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008) – illustrated with lovely color-tinted photographs by Barbara Hirsch Lember – is a celebration of all the possibilities to be found in rocks: skipping stones, chalk rocks for drawing on sidewalks, mossy rocks for resting on beside a trail, wishing rocks, and more. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-35 In Lucille Clifton’s The Lucky Stone (Yearling, 1986), Tee loves her great-grandmother’s stories of the family lucky stone (“a warm stone, shiny black as nighttime”) that has brought good luck to its owners for over a hundred years – first helping Mandy, a runaway slave, find her way to freedom. For ages 6-9.
 imgres-38 Fairy stones or fairy crosses – actually crystals of staurolite – are found in the Smoky Mountains of Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia. Said to bring good luck to their owners. (Charles Lindbergh – a.k.a. Lucky Lindy – carried one.) Read about them here – or go hunt for your own at Virginia’s Fairy Stone Park.
image Rocks! They make great souvenirs. Check out some of the collectibles in the Smithsonian’s Souvenirs exhibit, among them pieces of Plymouth Rock, the Bastille, and the Berlin Wall, and a stone from Joan of Arc’s dungeon.

Rock Collecting

 imgres-42 By Roma Gans, Let’s Go Rock Collecting (HarperCollins, 1997) in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series covers rock formation, types of rocks, uses of rocks (Roman roads, Egyptian pyramids), and rock collecting. (“The oldest things you can collect are rocks.”) For ages 4-8.
 imgres-39 Carol Otis Hurst’s Rocks in His Head (Greenwillow Books, 2001) is the picture-book story of her father, an avid rock collector, who – after losing his job during the Great Depression – used his passion for rocks to win a job as Curator of Mineralogy at a science museum. It’s a great story of following a dream, even though people around him always mocked him, saying that he had rocks in his head. (To which he replied, “Maybe I have.”) For ages 4-8.
 imgres-40 In Gail Langer Karwoski’s Julie the Rockhound (Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2007), Julie finds a piece of quartz – and immediately becomes fascinated with rocks and minerals. Included are helpful instructions for hopeful rock collectors. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-41 The title character of Anna Browning’s Tanner Turbeyfill and the Moon Rocks (Diamond DMT Publishing, 2013) needs only one thing to make his rock collection complete: moon rocks! So off he goes to the moon. Facts about the moon and moon rocks are presented through Tanner’s Moon Journal. For ages 5-8.

Geological Time, or the Long, Long, Long History of Rocks

 imgres-36 In Judi Kurjian’s In My Own Backyard (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2000), a child looks out a bedroom window and wonders who lived here before – and suddenly is plunged into a trip backwards through time, sequentially viewing colonists, native Americans, glaciers and woolly mammoths, dinosaurs and swamps. Included is a timeline. For ages 3-8.
 images-12 Virginia Lee Burton’s updated Life Story (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009) – originally published in 1962 – is the story of life on Earth in four acts, from the creation of the solar system to the present day. A great resource for all ages.
 imgres-43 The star of Meredith Hooper’s The Pebble in My Pocket (Viking Juvenile Books, 1996) is a pebble that originated in a volcano 480 million years ago. The book follows the pebble through geologic time, step by step, to the present day, when it’s found on the ground by a young girl. Included is a timeline. For ages 8-11.
 imgres-44 Bruce Hiscock’s picture book The Big Rock (Aladdin, 1999) is the multi-million-year story of a granite boulder in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. Read it and you’ll never take rocks for granted again. We read it on a picnic on a big rock in the woods and our kids were awed. (“This rock saw dinosaurs!”) For ages 5-10.
 imgres-45 From the University of California Museum of Paleontology, learn all about the Geologic Time Scale.
 imgres-46 Camels Often Sit Down Carefully…Check out this useful mnemonic for memorizing the geological periods in descending order of age.

Fossils

 imgres-47 Aliki’s Fossils Tell of Long Ago (HarperCollins, 1990) is a charmingly illustrated introduction to fossils in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series for ages 4-8.
 imgres-48 Laurence Anholt’s Stone Girl, Bone Girl (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2006) is a picture-book of Mary Anning, who at the age of 12 discovered the skeleton of an ichthyosaur in a cliff near her seaside home in England and went on to become a famous fossil hunter. (One story holds that she was the inspiration behind the traditional tongue-twister “She sells seashells by the seashore.”) For ages 6-9.
 imgres-49 Laura Evert’s Rocks, Fossils, and Arrowheads (Cooper Square Publishing, 2001) in the Take-Along Guide series in an informational survey of rocks, minerals, fossils, arrowheads, and artifacts, with illustrations of key samples, suggestions on where to find, and assorted interesting facts. Also included are pages for field notes and project ideas (make rock candy, create your own fossil, design a friendship necklace). For ages 6-9.
  From Smithsonian magazine, read about The World’s Largest Fossil Wilderness.
 imgres-50 Fossils Rock is a wide-ranging site all about fossils with many examples, extreme fossil facts, coloring pages, puzzles, suggestions for starting a geology club, and a detailed series of lessons on the Clock of Eras, an investigation of geologic time. Included are a printable Clock and a recipe for geologic layer cake.
  imgres-51 From the National Park Service, National Fossil Day (in 2013, falls on October 16) has an Art & Photo Contest, general information, and a Kid’s Page with games, activities, a “Meet a Paleontologist” feature, a list of state fossils, and more. The multidisciplinary activities – there’s a long list – includes the downloadable Paleontologist’s Path (available for grades 1-3, 4-6, and 7-12), which includes activity sheets, game cards, paper fossils, and a fossil identification packet.
 images-14 From USGS. Fossils, Rocks, and Time is a unit on ordering fossils, the geologic time scale, rock layers, and fossil succession, illustrated with period photos and diagrams.
 imgres-53 David Attenborough’s Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives is a wonderful four-part series on fossils and life on prehistoric Earth. Available on DVD.
 imgres-52 Educational Fossils has several different fossil kits for sale; one of the most popular contains 12 fossils (among them a trilobite, an ammonite, and a sample of dinosaur bone) with descriptive cards and a geologic time chart. $18.

Jewels and Gems

 imgres-54 The Gems: Nature’s Jewels series (Gareth Stevens Publishing) by Eric Ethan is a collection of short picture books, each devoted to a different gem. Titles include Diamonds, Emeralds, Rubies, Turquoise, Opals, and Sapphires. For ages 8 and up.
 imgres-55 In the Eyewitness series, Crystal & Gem (Dorling Kindersley, 2007) by R.F. Symes and R.R. Harding covers crystal structure, color, identification, uses, and lore and legends, with individual sections devoted to quartz, diamond, corundum, beryl, and opal. Illustrated with spectacular photographs and diagrams. For ages 8 and up.
 imgres-56 Victoria Finlay’s Jewels: A Secret History (Ballantine Books, 2006) is a fascinating and information-crammed history of gems, variously covering the stories behind amber, jet, pearl, opal, peridot, sapphire, ruby, emerald, and diamond. An absorbing read for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-59 The Mineral & Gemstone Kingdom is a comprehensive online guide to minerals and gemstones. Click on a name for a wealth of information, illustrated with photographs.
 images-13 Check out the Smithsonian’s fabulous Gem Gallery.  Click on a thumbnail for a photograph and explanation. In alphabetical order from afghanite and agate to zircon and zoisite.
 imgres-57 From the Burke Museum, learn about the Science and Legends Behind Birthstones.
 imgres-58 Crystal-growing kits are available from many science suppliers, among them Edmund Scientifics and Discover This.

Rocks and Math

 imgres-60 Stuart J. Murphy’s Dave’s Down-to-Earth Rock Shop (HarperCollins, 2000) in the MathStart series is all about sorting and classification. Josh and Amy have started collecting rocks and need to put their finds in some sort of order. They get help from their neighborhood rock shop, whose window first displays rocks sorted by size and color, then by rock type and Mohs’ scale of hardness. For ages 5-8.
 images-15 Mancala or the African Stone Game – traditionally played with stones and pits dug in the ground – is one of the oldest strategy games in the world. This website has instructions and suggestions for homemade playing boards. (Try an egg carton, plus pebbles or dried beans.)
Play Mancala online.
 gameboard Sticks and Stones is a lesson plan based on the traditional Apache game of throw sticks. Kids make decorated throw sticks and a stone playing board; then collect data and determine the probability of various outcomes. Fun and clever.
 rstones Roman Board Games has game descriptions and images of playing boards and stone counters for such games as Calculi (Roman checkers) and Tabula (a version of backgammon).
 imgres-61 The ancient Asian game of Go was traditionally played with black and white stones. Learn its history and find out how to play here.

Geology and Poetry

 imgres-62 By Lisa Westberg Peters, Earthshake: Poems From the Ground Up (Greenwillow, 2003) is a beautifully illustrated collection of 22 geology-based poems. Titles include “Instructions for the Earth’s Dishwasher,” “Wyoming Layer Cake,” “Obituary for a Clam,” and “Recipe for Granite.” For ages 6-12.
 imgres-63 By Robert Browning, Among the Rocks.
 imgres-64 By Ken Nesbitt, A Rock Makes An Excellent Puppy.
 imgres-65 Between a Rock and a Bard – a joint celebration of National Poetry Day and Earth Science Week – discusses geology and poetry, with examples.
 imgres-65 From the Geological Society, Poetry and Geology has online talks and and a selection of geology-related poems.
 imgres-65 The Sciences Sing a Lullabye. Love this poem. (“Geology says: it will be all right.”)

Famous Rocks

 imgres-66 Jean L.S. Patrick’s Who Carved the Mountain? The Story of Mount Rushmore (Mount Rushmore History Association, 2005) is a fact-filled picture-book account of the making of the famous national monument featuring the sculpted faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. Included is a timeline and bibliography. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-67 From the National Park Service, Mount Rushmore has information about the history of the carving. (Over 90% of it was done with dynamite.)
 imgres-68 Jean Fritz’s witty Who’s That Stepping on Plymouth Rock? (Puffin, 1998) is a history of the famous rock that became a national landmark – even though the Pilgrims almost certainly didn’t land upon it. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-69 John McPhee’s Travels of the Rock is a more detailed history of Plymouth Rock that originally appeared in the New Yorker magazine. A great read for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-70 Rocks Around the World is an annotated photo gallery of famous rocks, each with a challenge question. (Click to see the answer.) Among the famous: Mount Rushmore, Independence Rock, Plymouth Rock, Ayer’s Rock, Stonehenge, and the Taj Mahal.
 imgres-71 Check out these photographs of 10 Famous Balancing Rocks worldwide.
 imgres-72 Learn about the Blarney Stone.
 imgres-73 Check out the Stone of Scone.
 imgres-74 History of Gibraltar is an illustrated history of the famously solid Rock of Gibraltar from prehistory to the present.
 imgres-75 What’s your state rock? (Vermont, it turns out, is geologically loaded: we have a state gem, three state rocks, a state mineral, and a state fossil. You?)

Rock Art, Ancient and New

 imgres-76 By Emily Arnold McCully, The Secret Cave (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2010) is the exciting picture-book story of how four young French boys discovered the Lascaux cave paintings. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-77 In Raymond Briggs’s Ug: Boy Genius of the Stone Age (Knopf, 2002), the Stone Age is all stone: Ug and his parents sleep in stone beds under stone blankets, and Ug, to his great discomfort, is even made to wear stone pants. As boy genius, however, Ug has ideas ahead of his time. (“Why can’t trousers be made of something else? Something softer?”) Eventually he invents the wheel and cooking, only to have both rejected by his parents, who don’t know how to cope with him. (“He’ll end up painting animals on the walls!” his mother cries in despair.) Which, in a final scene, Ug, now a grown man, does. The book, drawn in blocky panel cartoons, is funny, clever, and ultimately poignant; what looks like a joke soon becomes a parable about the difficulties inherent in trying to change the world for the better. For ages 7-11.
 imgres-78 Justen Denzel’s Boy of the Painted Cave (Puffin, 1996), set in France during the Stone Age, is the story of an orphaned 14-year-old boy who wants to be a cave painter – but is forbidden by the tribal leader. Cast from the tribe, he befriends a wild dog, is mentored by an aged painter named Graybear, and eventually comes into his own. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-79 Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams is a spectacular documentary on an expedition into France’s Chauvet caves to view artwork dating back 30,000 years. 90 minutes long, rated G. Available on DVD.
 imgres-80 Geri Schrab’s Weaving the Past with the Present is a coloring book of ancient North American petroglyphs and pictographs. About $7.
 images-16 Petroglyph Photos has a collection of great color photographs of petroglyphs from sites worldwide, including the American Southwest, Hawaii, India, Mexico, and Norway.
 imgres-81 In Linda Kranz’s rock-illustrated picture book Only One You (Cooper Square Publishing, 2006), Adri’s parents decide to pass down useful wisdom to their son (look for new friends, enjoy the simple things, don’t follow the crowd). The illustrations are brightly painted pebbles designed to look like fish. (Make some of your own.) For ages 4 and up.
 imgres-82 Linda Kranz’s photo-illustrated Let’s Rock (Cooper Square Publishing, 2003) is a collection of rock-painting projects with step-by-step instructions. For ages 6-12.
imgres-83 Natural Rock Art is a kit for creating painted pet rocks for ages 5 and up. About $10.
 rock_crafts_main_xl Martha Stewart’s Rock Crafts (“endless possibilities”) has suggestions for rock dominoes, rock bookends, rock refrigerator magnets, and helpful hints for making a lot of rock animals.
 ss_101930742_w Pebble Plaque is a project in which kids collect a batch of wonderful stones, then combine them with salt dough. The result is awesome.
 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA From Artists Helping Children, Rock Crafts for Kids has a long list of projects. Make a paperweight, a crystal rock garden, homemade stepping stones, a pebble mosaic, and a rock necklace.
 512Uq5e7qXL._SY450_ The Sculpture House Stone Carving Kit is targeted at beginners: included are carving tools, chunks of alabaster and soapstone, and an instruction booklet. About $28.
  Or check out this Soapstone Animal Carving Kit, with which kids ages 7 and up can make a stone bear and coyote. About $11.

 Rocks as Weapons

 images-17 The sling – the weapon that David used to down Goliath – is a truly ancient rock-throwing weapon. Read about its history here.
  Make your own sling! Making and Using the Venerable Hand Sling has historical background information and instructions.
 images-18 How to Make a Catapult for Kids has illustrated instructions for making several, categorized by distance, durability, ease of construction, easy of finding materials, and wow factor.
 imgres-84 Make a Marshmallow Catapult. You’ll need pencils and a cardboard box.
  Design and Make a Catapult is a fun challenge targeted at grades 3-6. The site has instructions, trigger questions, and background information on elasticity. For older kids, see the Physics Catapult Competition.
 images-19 Edmund Scientifics is a source for a variety of trebuchet and catapult kits, ranging from the large and expensive to the small and cheap.
 imgres-85 Tabletop Catapult: Build Your Own Siege Engine is a kit for building an historically accurate catapult. Included is a copy of William Gurstelle’s 192-page The Art of the Catapult.  About $29.
 imgres-86 William Gurstelle’s The Art of the Catapult: Build Greek Ballistae, Roman Onagers, English Trebuchets, and More Ancient Artillery (Chicago Review Press, 2004) is a collection of 10 working catapult projects with a lot of cool scientific and historical background information (and great emphasis on adult supervision and safety). For ages 11 and up.
 imgres-87 Curt Gabrielson’s Stomp Rockets, Catapults, and Kaleidoscopes (Chicago Review Press, 2008) is subtitled “30+ Amazing Science Projects You Can Build for Less that $1” – always a happy thought. The projects are categorized under Electricity and Magnetism; Sound, Light, and Perception; Mechanics; Fluids and Aerodynamics; Biology; and Chemistry. Each comes with a parts list, instructions, and a scientific explanation. (The catapult looks terrific.) For ages 9 and up, with help.
 imgres-88 Maxine Anderson’s Amazing Leonardo da Vinci Inventions You Can Build Yourself (Nomad Press, 2006) covers the life and times of Leonardo with 30 varied projects. For example, readers make plastic, walk-on-water shoes, a camera obscura, a helical air screw, invisible ink, and a catapult.

 Fictional Rocks and Magic Rocks

 imgres-89 In David McKee’s The Hill and the Rock (Andersen Press, 2011), Mr. and Mrs. Quest live on top of a hill with a wonderful view – except from the kitchen window, which is blocked by an enormous rock. Finally, frustrated, they roll the rock down the hill – with the result that the hill deflates like a balloon, goes flat, and then sinks to form a valley, leaving the Quests at the bottom of a hole. Luckily the rock rolls back down the slope and settles in front of the kitchen window again, the hill inflates, and all is restored to normal. For ages 3-6.
 imgres In Marcus Pfister’s, Milo and the Magical Stones (NorthSouth, 2010), Milo, a little mouse who lives in a cold cave on an island, finds a magical glowing stone that provides both light and heat. All the other (cold) mice promptly want stones of their own – though Balthazar, a particularly wise mouse, warns that if something is taken away from the island, something must be returned. The book then splits in two: there’s both a happy ending and a sad ending, depending. Basically, it’s a morality tale about environmental responsibility. For ages 3-7.
 images-20 By Sara Azizi, The Knight, the Princess, and the Magic Rock (Wisdom Tales, 2012) is a picture-book re-telling of the traditional Persian tale about Bijan, a brave knight, who falls in love with Manijeh, princess of an enemy kingdom, and ends up imprisoned in a pit covered by a magic rock. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-92 In Caryn Yacowitz’s The Jade Stone (Pelican Publishing, 2005), a retelling of a traditional tale, the Great Emperor of China gives a stone carver a perfect piece of green-and-white jade and demands that it be made into a dragon – but the carver, a true artist, knows that this is not what the stone wants to be. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-1 In Arnold Lobel’s Mouse Soup (HarperCollins, 2011), a dimwitted weasel catches a mouse with the intention of turning him into soup. Luckily the mouse turns the tables by means of four stories, among them the tale of “Two Large Stones.”  Delightful for ages 4-8.
 imgres-2 In Marcia Brown’s Caldecott-winning Stone Soup (Aladdin, 1997), originally published in 1947, three soldiers trudging home from the war come to a little French village, where the peasants rush to hide their food – until the clever soldiers begin to prepare a batch of Stone Soup. Soon everyone comes forward to offer ingredients, and in no time there’s a wonderful feast and a town party. For ages 4-8.
  For a video version of Marcia Brown’s Stone Soup, see the Caldecott Literature Series: Stone Soup. Alternative video versions can be found at Speakaboos: Stone Soup or at Vimeo: Stone Soup.
  For many more Stone Soup books and resources, see BEAUTIFUL SOUP.
 imgres-95 By Marc Harshman and Bonnie Collins, Rocks in My Pockets (Quarrier Press, 2002) is the story of the Woods family who live on a high mountain where the winds are so wild that they must carry rocks in their pockets to keep from being blown away. They also play games with the rocks, tell stories with rocks, and heat their beds with rocks. Then visitors from the city admire the Woods’s rocks and buy some to take home – which starts a positive run on rocks. For ages 4-9.
 imgres-97 In Chris Van Allsburg’s The Wretched Stone (Houghton Mifflin, 1991), told through a ship captain’s log, the crew has brought on board a mysterious glowing stone found on a desert island. They become obsessed with the stone, which has terrible effects; soon all have been transformed into apes. They’re saved by a near-shipwreck that sends the stone to the bottom of the sea. An object lesson about the perils of too much TV for ages 5-9.
 imgres-98 In William Steig’s Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (Aladdin, 2006), Sylvester, a young donkey, collects pebbles “of unusual shape and color.” One rainy Saturday he finds a magic pebble, capable of granting wishes – but on the way home to tell his parents the news, he encounters a lion, panics, and saves himself by wishing to be turned into a rock. The problem: he’s dropped the pebble and can’t wish himself back again. For ages 5-8.
  Watch a video version of Sylvester and the Magic Pebble here.
  The Teaching Children Philosophy website has guidelines and discussion questions to accompany Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.
 imgres-99 Eric Kimmel’s Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock (Holiday House, 1990) is a West African folktale featuring Anansi, the trickster spider, who finds a moss-covered rock that magically puts animals to sleep. He comes up with a nefarious scheme in which he leads animals to the rock, puts them to sleep, and then steals their stores of food – until shy little Bush Deer puts a spoke in his wheel. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-1 Gary Schmidt’s 32-page The Great Stone Face (Eerdman’s Books for Young Readers, 2005) is a re-telling of the classic Nathaniel Hawthorne tale in which a prophecy holds that someone will be born who looks just like New Hampshire’s Great Stone Face – the rock formation commonly called the Old Man of the Mountains – and he will be “the noblest person of his time.” For ages 7-11.
 imgres Read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Great Stone Face online here.
 imgres-2 The Great Stone Face – a.k.a. the Old Man of the Mountains – is no more; once a series of granite ledges on Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, the Great Stone Face broke away and fell in 2003. Read about its history here.
 imgres-3 Rebecca Rupp’s The Waterstone (Candlewick, 2005) features a quartet of tiny characters – Tad and Birdie of the Fisher Tribe, Ditany of the Hunters, and Will of the Diggers – who are on a quest to regain the fabled Waterstone from a powerful and evil nixie who is withholding the world’s water. This one got a STARRED REVIEW from Kirkus! For ages 9-12.
 imgres-4 Is there anyone in the world who hasn’t read Harry Potter? In Book One of J.K. Rowling’s ubiquitous series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (or, in England, Philosopher’s Stone) (Scholastic, 1999), Harry and his Hogwarts pals attempt to prevent the evil Lord Voldemort from stealing the fabled sorcerer’s stone. For ages 9 and up.
  Read about The Philosopher’s Stone  - in alchemy a substance supposedly capable of turning base metals into gold.
 imgres-5 T.H. White’s The Sword in the Stone (Philomel, 1993) is the first part of his much longer King Arthur saga, The Once and Future King. This is a stand-alone family read, the story of Sir Ector’s ward, young Wart, and his astonishing education by the old wizard, Merlin, culminating with his pulling the sword from the stone and revealing himself as King Arthur. Wonderful for ages 9 and up.
 imgres-6 Paula Fox’s The Stone-Faced Boy (Front Street, 2005) is the story of Gus, middle child in a large and noisy family, who hides his emotions behind an expressionless face. The only person who understands seems to be his great-aunt Hattie – who gives him a geode, a rock filled with beautiful crystals inside. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-3 Grow Magic Rocks! This kit comes with a tank, ingredients, instructions, and (depending on the version) a figurine of a shipwreck, shark, pirate treasure chest, or octopus. Rapidly grows a forest of dramatic crystals. Recommended for ages 10 and up without supervision; all ages with. Kits cost about $10.
  Make Your Own Magic Rocks explains how to make your own chemical crystal garden (though adds dampingly that most of the colorants “require access to a general chemistry lab”).
  From Science Buddies, see Guide to Purchasing Chemicals, which has explanations, a common-names list, and suppliers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MOO! All About Cows

 

Check out these lists for typing cows, flying cows, purple cows, and pirate cows; find out what cows have to do with whales; and learn all about sacred cows, Mrs. O’Leary’s cow, and the cow that jumped over the moon. (There was even a lunar space probe named Cow.)

COOL FICTIONAL COWS

 imgres By Woody Jackson, A Cow’s Alfalfa-Bet (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2003) is a Holstein-cow-themed alphabet book illustrated with gorgeous watercolors. (A is for Alfalfa, B for Barn, C for Corn.) For ages 3 and up.
 imgres-1 Phyllis Gershator’s Moo, Moo Brown Cow! Have You Any Milk? (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2011) is a clever extension of the familiar nursery rhyme “Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool?” – explaining that wool makes a blanket for a little boy’s bed. The rhyme moves on to “Honk, honk, gray goose, have you any down?” (for the pillow), then to bees, hen, and cow, who furnish a bedtime snack. The book ends with animals and boy asleep. A lovely bedtime pick for ages 2-5.
 imgres-2 In Andy Cutbill’s The Cow That Laid an Egg (HarperCollins, 2008), Marjorie is depressed because she’s just an ordinary cow, and can’t ride a bicycle or do handstands like the other cows. Then – after some clever chickens get to work with a paintbrush – Marjorie wakes to discover that she’s (apparently) laid a black-and-white Holstein-cow-spotted egg. The other cows refuse to believe in Marjorie’s egg and accuse the chickens, who refuse to tell. (“Prove it!”) Eventually Marjorie’s egg hatches a chick – whose first word out of the shell is “Moo!” With hilarious illustrations by Russell Ayto. Pair this one with Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hatches the Egg. For ages 2-6.
 images Sequels starting Marjorie and her adopted daughter Daisy include The Cow That Was the Best Moo-ther, The Best Cow in Show, and First Week at Cow School.
 imgres-3 In Karma Wilson’s rhyming The Cow Loves Cookies (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010), readers learn what farm animals eat – the horse loves hay, the geese munch corn – but the cow loves cookies! At the end, cow and farmer share a snack of cookies and milk. For ages 3-6.
 imgres-4 In Doreen Cronin’s wonderful Click, Clack, Moo (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2000), Farmer Brown’s cows have acquired a typewriter and promptly begin to make their problems known: “Dear Farmer Brown, The barn is very cold at night. We’d like some electric blankets. Sincerely, The Cows.” Farmer Brown refuses and the cows go on a milk strike. All is finally resolved with the helpful intervention of Duck, who ends up with the typewriter – and promptly fires off a note announcing that the duck pond is boring and the ducks would like a diving board. Hilarious for ages 3 and up. There are several sequels featuring the Click, Clack, Moo characters.
 imgres-5 Click, Clack, Moo is a teaching unit to accompany the book, with six versions of the story, online games, and printable student resources, including activity books, story pages, and worksheets.
Put on a play! Readers’ Theater: Click, Clack, Moo is a script to accompany the book., adaptable for various numbers of actors. As it stands, it calls for three narrators, one Farmer Brown, choruses of Cows and Ducks, and some help from the audience.
 imgres-6 Cows and pirates! Moo – the star of Lisa Wheeler’s Sailor Moo: Cow at Sea (Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books, 2002) – has wanted to go to sea ever since she was a calf wearing a sailor hat. Eventually she gets a job on a fishing boat crewed by cats and led by Captain Silver Claw, who has a hook in place of one paw. She’s swept overboard in a storm, rescued by friendly manatees, and eventually ends up on the pirate ship of Red Angus and his gang of cattle buccaneers. For ages 3-7.
 imgres-7 In Phyllis Root’s Kiss the Cow (Candlewick, 2003), Luella the cow refuses to give any milk for Mama May’s hungry family of children (all in overalls) until Annalisa gives her a kiss on the nose. But Annalisa (“Never, never, never!”) is not about to kiss a cow. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-8 John Himmelman’s picture book Cows to the Rescue (Henry Holt and Company, 2011) is one of a series, beginning with Chickens to the Rescue (2006) and Pigs to the Rescue (2010). They’re all hilarious: problems arise and frantic hordes of animals arrive to (more or less) save the day. Here, it’s the day of the county fair and the Greenstalks’ car won’t start. Enter the cows! For ages 4-8. (And up.)
 imgres-9 In Lisa Wheeler’s rhyming Sixteen Cows (Harcourt, 2006), Cowboy Gene of the Biddle Ranch and Cowgirl Sue of the neighboring Waddle Ranch each have eight beloved cows, summoned each night by special come-home songs (to which the cows reply in chorus: “Moo!”). Then a wind blows down the fence between the two pastures and the sixteen cows become inextricably mixed up. The solution: a romance, a wedding, and a cow merger. For ages 4-8.
What If We Changed the Book? is a lesson plan with problem-posing extensions to accompany Sixteen Cows. Targeted at grades 3-5.
 imgres-10 Sandra Boynton’s Amazing Cows (Workman Publishing, 2010) is a riotous 96-page collection of cow stories, poems, parodies, jokes, and games – among them the tale of the shy research assistant whose alter ego is the bovine superhero, AMAZING COW. For ages 5 and up.
 imgres-11 Carmen Agra Deedy’s 14 Cows for America (Peachtree Publishers, 2009) is the picture-book version of a true story in which, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, Kemeli Naiyomah travels from New York City to his home village in Kenya. There, after he tells the story of 9/11, his fellow Masai tribesman decide to give the people of America a gift of 14 sacred healing cows. A lovely and heartwarming story for ages 7-11.
 imgres-12 By Mark Leiknes, Cow & Boy (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2008) – which began life as a webcomic – is right on for fans of Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes. Eight-year-old Billy and friend Cow live on the family farm, where – together – they explore life’s big questions. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-13 Fans of James Thurber’s classic daydreamer Walter Mitty must see Glen Wexler’s (digitally twisted) photo-illustrated The Secret Life of Cows (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2007). “When you see cows standing in a pasture blandly chewing some dreary bit of grass and staring into the middle distance, you’d never guess what lies beneath that placid exterior” – namely, a rich fantasy life featuring cyborg cows, superhero cows, secret agent cows, and rocket-propelled cows. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-14 Gary Larson’s Cows of Our Planet (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1992) isn’t, I have to admit, just about cows; rather it’s a collection of Larson’s wickedly funny Far Side cartoons. The centerfold, “Cows of Our Planet,” is Larson’s twisted take on breeds of cows. For everybody old enough to appreciate it.

REAL LIVE COWS

 imgres-15 Gail Gibbons’s brightly illustrated The Milk Makers (Aladdin, 1987) is a straightforward step-by-step account of the milk-making process, from cow to glass. For ages 4-9.
 imgres-16 Jules Older’s  humorous 32-page Cow (Charlesbridge Publishing, 1998) looks like an ad for Ben & Jerry’s – the art is by Ben & Jerry’s veteran Lyn Severance – but it’s filled with real facts about real cows, including breeds of cows, the names of the cow’s four stomachs, how calves are born, a bovine quiz, and (a yummy tangent) how to make an ice cream sundae. For ages 5 and up.
 imgres-17 In Jennifer Holland’s photo-illustrated Unlikely Friendships for Kids series, the title story in The Leopard & the Cow (Workman Publishing, 2012) is the tale of a young leopard cub, adopted by an Indian cow. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-18 Pat Wakefield’s A Moose for Jessica (Puffin, 1992) is the photo-illustrated story of a young bull moose – later known as Josh – who wandered into a cow pasture and became attached to a cow named Jessica. For ages 7-12.
 imgres-19 Cris Peterson’s photo-illustrated Clarabelle: Making Milk and So Much More (Boyds Mills Press, 2007) is set on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, where Clarabelle lives with 1200 other cows. The book describes all the basics of cow physiology, milk-making, and dairy farming – readers learn that Clarabelle produces 15 gallons of milk a day, which goes to make an array of other products, such as cheese, butter, ice cream, and yogurt. And not only that: Clarabelle and pals also generate electricity, fertilizer, and compost. For ages 8-11.
Clarabelle: Making Milk and So Much More is a lesson plan to accompany the book, with activity suggestions and printable resources.
 imgres-20 Learn to identify all 52 American breeds of cows! John Pukite’s A Field Guide to Cows (Penguin Books, 1998) has illustrations, statistics, cool cow trivia, and general information on each featured breed of cow. (We have a copy in the car.) Fun for all ages.
 images-1 Jack Byard’s Know Your Cows (Fox Chapel Publishing, 2012) is an illustrated and alphabetical guide to cow breeds, from Ayrshire to White Park. All ages.
 images-2 Marvin Harris’s Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches (Vintage, 1989) is a fascinating study in anthropology, explaining the economic and social underpinnings of traditional cultural beliefs. Find out, for example, why Hindus have sacred cows. For older teenagers and adults.
 imgres-21 From PBS’s Nature series. Holy Cow discusses the domestication of cows and ways in which cows and people interact. Topics covered in this 60-minute program include everything from the African Masai cattle culture and India’s sacred cows to modern dairy farming, “green” beef, and mad cow disease. See the website for a list of related websites and books.
The Perfect Cow? is a lesson plan on natural selection and domestication to accompany PBS’s Holy Cow. Targeted at grades 9-12.
 images-3 History of Cattle is a short, illustrated, hyperlinked article, targeted at kids, with an appended book list.

MILK AND CHEESE AND MORE

 imgres-23 Aliki’s charmingly illustrated Milk: From Cow to Carton (HarperCollins, 1992) covers the story of milk from grazing cows to dairy to the many different foods made from milk. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-24 Cris Peterson’s Extra Cheese, Please! (Boyds Mills Press, 1994) traces “Mozzarella’s Journey From Cow to Pizza,” with color photos and lots of fascinating facts. (A single cow produces 40,000 glasses of milk a year, enough to make cheese for 1800 pizzas.) For ages 4-8.
 imgres-25 Try making your own mozzarella! Ricki’s Cheesemaking Kit includes materials (everything but milk), instructions, and recipes for making multiple batches of mozzarella and ricotta cheeses. Fun for all ages.
 imgres-26 Cheese.com is a database of all things cheese, covering nearly 600 cheeses by name, country, and type of milk, plus cheese facts and cheese recipes. (Find out why American cheese is not really cheese.)
 images-4 Milk and Dairy Products has reader-friendly information on milk consumption, various kinds of dairy products, the pasteurization process, milk nutrients, and milk chemistry.

FAMOUS COWS

 imgres-27 From Mental Floss, Seven Historical Cow Tales is a cool list, including the saga of Nellie Jay, the first cow ever to fly in an airplane, and the story of Grady, an Oklahoma cow who got stuck in a silo and became a media sensation in 1949.
imgres-28 Una Belle Townsend’s Grady’s in the Silo (Pelican Publishing, 2003) is a picture-book account of Grady’s silo adventure. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-29 Borden’s Elsie the Cow was at one time one of the most recognizable advertising symbols in the world.
 imgres-31 The (life-sized) Butter Cow has been a star of the Iowa State Fair since 1911.
 imgres-32 Check out the stories of these 10 Famous Cows, among them Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow (who may or may not have started the Great Chicago Fire of 1871); President Taft’s cow, Pauline Wayne, who supplied milk for the White House; and the Wall Street Bull.
 images-5 Did the Cow Do It? explores the evidence for the cause of the Great Chicago Fire.
 imgres-34 From Education World, The Great Chicago Fire: Did Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow Really Cause It? is a lesson plan on the fire and the cow for grades 6 and up. Included are discussion questions and a helpful resource list.
 imgres-33 Jim Murphy’s Newbery Honor Book, The Great Fire (Scholastic, 2006), is the story of the 1871 Chicago fire, including eyewitness accounts, and illustrated with photographs and period prints. (He says it wasn’t the fault of the cow.) For ages 9 and up.

THE SCIENCE OF COWS

 imgres-35 Cows or Cattle? All cows are cattle, but not all cattle are cows. This elementary-level lesson plan (with printable worksheet) explains it all.
 imgres-36 Do Cows Pollute as Much as Cars? Agriculture is responsible for an estimated 14 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases – a lot of it in the form of methane, belched, burped, or farted by cows.
 images-6 Cows and Methane Gas is a nicely designed page on cows and the environment for upper-elementary students. Included is a list of Teacher Resources including an animation of cow digestion, quizzes and coloring pages, and activities.
 imgres-37 From the San Francisco Exploratorium, Cow’s Eye Dissection has information about eyes, an online demonstration, and illustrated step-by-step instructions for performing a cow’s eye dissection.
 imgres-38 A cow’s eye dissection kit (preserved cow’s eye, instruction guide, dissecting tools, and disposable dissecting tray) is available from Home Science Tools ($6.95). The website also has a virtual dissection and printable eye diagrams to label.
 images-7 Is Cow-Tipping Possible? Probably not. Find out why.
 imgres-39 Whales are believed to have evolved from a group of land animals whose closest living relative is the cow. Turn a Cow into a Whale is a lesson plan on this topic with printable worksheets and puzzles. Targeted at third-graders.
 imgres-40 I Didn’t Know That: Milking a Cow is a short video on the science of milk-making and milking (both traditional, by hand into a bucket, and state-of-the art, fully automated).
 imgres-41 Though the cow may just be the most important domesticated animal in human history, recent research indicates that cows may have been almost impossible to domesticate. Find out why.
 images-8 From the WhyFiles, learn all about mad cow disease.
 imgres-42 What do cows have to do with vaccination? Learn about Edward Jenner, cowpox, and smallpox here.

THE COW JUMPED OVER THE MOON

 imgres-43 Linda Alchin’s The Secret History of Nursery Rhymes (Neilson, 2013) discusses the historical backgrounds of many classical nursery rhymes, among them “Hey Diddle Diddle,” featuring cat, fiddle, and moon-jumping cow.
 imgres-44 BellaOnline’s Hey Diddle Diddle is a short history of the poem. It’s really about a love triangle and the Cow just might have been Queen Elizabeth I.
 imgres-45 P.L. Travers’s Mary Poppins (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006) includes the story of “The Dancing Cow” who has a star stuck on one horn from her famous jump over the moon.
 imgres-46 A space probe named Cow? (There was one. Well, almost.) Read all about the moon-circling space probe designed in 1957 by Krafft Ehricke and George Gamow in The Cow Jumped Over the Moon.

ART AND COWS

 imgres-47 In David Milgrim’s rhyming Cows Can’t Fly (Viking Juvenile, 1998), an imaginative little boy draws a picture of orange cows in a blue sky – and suddenly cows take to the air.  The problem: none of the flying-cow-resistant adults will look up. (“Ms. Crumb said cows/were far too fat/that facts were facts/and that was that.”) For ages 3-8.
 imgres-48 Want a flying cow of your own? From Playmaker Toys, this Flying Cow, launched via elastic slingshot, makes a mooing sound as it shoots through the air. $4.75.
 imgres-49 Nina Laden’s witty When Pigasso Met Mootisse (Chronicle Books, 1998) pictures artist Pablo Picasso as a beret-wearing pig and Henri Matisse as a bright-red bull. The artistic pair move into neighboring country houses, which they transform into works of art – but gradually their friendship falls apart as they criticize each other’s styles. (“You paint like a two-year-old!” “You paint like a wild beast!”) Eventually, however, they solve their differences by painting a pair of masterpieces on either side of their dividing fence. For ages 4-9.
 imgres-50 Doris Kutschbach’s The Blue Rider: The Yellow Cow Sees the World in Blue (Prestel, 1997), one of the Adventures in Art series, is the beautifully designed story of a group of innovative painters collectively known as the Blue Riders – among them Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee – who turned the art world upside-down with their creative uses of form and color. Illustrated with brilliantly colored art reproductions and photos of the artists at work. Check out the yellow cow. For ages 8-12.
imgres-61 Check out Andy Warhol’s Cows and try your hand at the Andy Warhol Cow Wallpaper Game.
 imgres-51 From Artists Helping Children, Cow Crafts for Kids has a long list of cow projects with instructions. Make stand-up paper cows, cow puppets, cow masks, an origami cow, and many more.
 imgres-52 From DLTK, Paper Plate Cow Craft has instructions and a template for making a cool cow mask on a stick.
 imgres-53 At Handprint and Footprint Art, find out how to make a handprint cow. (Also a handprint duck.)
 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA From Busy Bee, Cow Crafts for Kids has a nice assortment of projects, among them a clothespin calf, a talking cow card, and a cut-and-paste picture of a lush green field filled with thumbprint cows.
 imgres-54 We all know about sock monkeys – so why not a sock cow? Learn to make an adorable one at Sock Cow Tutorial.
 imgres-55 CowParade is a public art exhibit (possibly the world’s largest) in which fiberglass sculptures of cows are decorated by artists and displayed in public places.
Street Cows is a lesson plan in which kids read about and compare real and imaginary cows, learn about Cow Parade displays, and design art cows of their own.
 cowparade From Kinderart, Cow Parade is an art lesson plan for ages 11 and up in which kids decorate cardboard cow cut-outs in the styles of famous artists.
 imgres-56 Deep Space Sparkle’s Drawing Animals: Art Lesson Plans includes a great project in which kids make pictures of “Dancing Cows.”

COW POEMS

 imgres-57 The National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2012), compiled by J. Patrick Lewis, is a collection of 200 animal-themed poems paired with stunning full-page color photographs. Among the poems: “The Cow” by Robert Louis Stevenson. A gorgeous book for ages 4 and up.
 imgres-58 Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem “The Cow” can also be found in A Child’s Garden of Verses (Simon & Schuster, 1999) or online here.
 imgres-59 Gelett Burgess is best known for the immortal four-line poem “I Never Saw a Purple Cow.” This website has a great biography of Burgess (including an account of the fatal Cogswell Fountain Incident), the text of “Purple Cow,” and a list of Burgess’s publications.
For more on Burgess’s Purple Cow, a lot of purple cow parodies, and a poetry challenge, see How Now, Purple Cow?
 imgres-60 Susan Hawthorne’s Cow (Spinifex Press, 2011) is a fascinating poetry collection in which Queenie, leader of the herd, guides readers through mythology, philosophy, history, and language. For older teenagers and adults.
For many more poetry resources, see POETRY I and POETRY II.

COWS AND MATH

 images-9 In Woody Jackson’s Counting Cows (Harcourt, 1995), illustrated with gorgeous black-and-white cows and electric-colored watercolor landscapes, readers count backwards from ten cows to zero – and then wind up with a barn dance. For ages 3-6.
 images-10 From Cool Math Games, Find the Cow and Mooo! are collections of clever and varied interactive puzzles, all involving problem-solving and cows.
 imgres-63 From Illuminations, Grouping and Grazing is an exercise in adding, subtracting, tallying, and counting by 5s and 10s as an alien spaceship moves cows into corrals.
 imgres-64 For math students who like a challenge, Newton’s Cows is a deceptively simple-sounding problem (originally attributed to Sir Isaac Newton) about the amount grass eaten by cows. There’s an accompanying step-by-step explanation of the solution.
 imgres-65 Ian Stewart’s Cows in a Maze and Other Mathematical Explorations (Oxford University Press, 2010) is a chatty collection of creative mathematical puzzles and recreations. Readers learn about time travel, sphericons, cat’s cradle, probability in the courtroom, and cows, lost in a maze. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-66 In this Cats, Cows, and Pigs puzzle, a farmer has nine animal pens arranged in three rows of three. Each pen must contain a cat, a pig, or a cow – but no row or column can contain two of the same animal. It’s a sort of Sudoku puzzle for kids, with cows.
 imgres-67 From Ivars Peterson’s Math Trek, Cattle of the Sun is a discussion of Archimedes’s famous and fiendish.cattle problem, originally written in the form of a poem.

AND WHAT ABOUT THE BULLS?

 imgres-68 By Munro Leaf, The Story of Ferdinand (Viking Juvenile, 2011) is the classic tale of the peaceful bull who wanted only to sit under a cork tree, smelling the flowers. Then he’s stung by a bee just as recruiters arrive from Madrid to choose the biggest, fiercest bull for the bullfights. For ages 3-8.
 imgres-69 Ferdinand’s story is also available in Latin. Check out Ferdinandus Taurus (David R. Godine, 2000).
 images-11 Aaron Zenz’s picture book Hug a Bull: An Ode to Animal Dads (Walker Children’s Books, 2013) introduces kids to the names of 27 different animal dads. (For 27 animal moms, see the companion book I Love Ewe.) For ages 3-6.
 imgres-70 In Sandra Neil Wallace’s Little Joe (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2010), nine-year-old Eli is given a calf of his own to raise. (But don’t bother naming him, Eli’s father warns, because he’s just going to be eaten.) Even so, Eli names him Little Joe – and, after Joe wins the blue ribbon as best bull at the county cattle show, Eli’s grandfather buys him to save him from the butcher. It’s a great story of old-fashioned farm life, the difficulties of family relationships, and the struggles that come with growing up. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-71 In Maia Wojciechowska’s Newbery-winning Shadow of a Bull (Aladdin, 2007), eleven-year-old Manolo’s father, a world-famous bullfighter, died when he was three. Everyone has always expected Manolo to follow in his father’s footsteps – but Manolo wants to pursue his own path. A wonderful story of courage and friendship. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-72 In Suzanne Morgan Williams’s Bull Rider (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010), 14-year-old Cam O’Mara isn’t much interested in the family sport of bull-riding – he’s a skateboarder – until his older brother Ben comes home from Iraq with a brain injury. If Cam can only ride the champion bull Ugly for just eight seconds, the prize money will make all the difference in the world to Ben. For ages 12 and up.
 imgres-73 Mary Renault’s The King Must Die (Vintage, 1988) is an historical retelling of the story of Theseus. Here the young Theseus discovers the identity of his father and joins the fourteen young men and women sent as tribute to King Minos of Crete, where all are trained to become bull-dancers – vaulting over the horns of bulls. The story continues in The Bull from the Sea (Vintage, 2001). Terrific reads for older teenagers and adults, these are compellingly told using a wealth of research into the history, archaeology, and culture of the time.

 

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Cooking

 

It turns out that everything – well, almost everything – can be learned through cooking. Science, history, math, geography, art, and literature are all connected to cooking – to say nothing of the benefits of cooking itself, which involves making something yummy and nutritious to eat.

See  below for cross-curricular connections, projects and experiments, storybooks and poems, and many not-just-your-ordinary  recipes.

Cooking and Literature

 images Eat the alphabet! Many distributors offer letter and number cookie-cutter sets – such as this one, a fifty-piece collection of colorful plastic cutters including all the letters of the alphabet (upper-case) and numbers 0-9. $8.99 from Amazon.
 images-3 Cheryl Apgar’s Book Cooks (Creative Teaching Press, 2002) has a book-related recipe for each letter of the alphabet from A (Apple Smiles) to Z (Zebra Pudding), plus poems, songs, and extension activities. Featured books include The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Tiny Seed, Green Eggs and Ham, Harold and the Purple Crayon, and Stone Soup. (No heat source required for any of the recipes, which makes things easy for groups of little kids.) For ages 3-7.
 imgres-1 By Georgeanne Brennan, the Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook (Random House, 2006) is a terrific collection of Dr. Seussian recipes, paired with catchy passages from the books. Readers learn to make Roast Beast, Cat in the Hat Pudding, and Pink Yink Ink Drink. (See below for more on Green Eggs and Ham.) For ages 7-10.
 imgres-2 Brian Jacques’s The Redwall Cookbook (Philomel, 2005) is a charmingly illustrated collection of recipes from the Redwall series, categorized by season of the year. Learn to make the Abbot’s Special Abbey Trifle, Great Hall Gooseberry Fool, Mole’s Favourite Deeper’n Ever Turnip ‘n’ Tater ‘n’ Beetroot Pie – and, of course, October Ale. For ages 8 and up.
 imgres-3 Jane Yolen’s Fairy Tale Feasts (Interlink Books, 2009) is an illustrated collection of 20 fairy tales with accompanying recipes. “Cinderella,” for example, is paired with a recipe for pumpkin tarts, “Little Red Riding Hood” features recipes for picnic food (pack a basket), and “Snow White” comes with instructions for baked apples. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-4 In P.L. Travers’s, Mary Poppins in the Kitchen (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006), the Banks family cook, Mrs. Brill, has been called away – leaving Mary Poppins and the children in charge of the cooking. The frame story features many favorite Poppins characters such as Admiral Boom and the Bird Woman; recipes include Gingerbread Stars, Queen of Puddings, Jam Tarts, and Shepherd’s Pie. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-6 Dinah Bucholz’s The Unofficial Narnia Cookbook (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2012) – a midnight-blue book with gold corners – is a collection of recipes and menus based on C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books. Make plum cake, ginger beer, and Turkish delight. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-7 Dinah Bucholz’s Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook (Adams Media, 2010) – purple with gold corners – is a collection of 150 recipes based on the Potter books, among them Hagrid’s Rock Cakes, Petunia’s Pudding, Treacle Tart, and Molly’s Meat Pies. Included with each recipe is a snippet of British food history. For ages 10 and up.
 imgres-5 By Roald Dahl and Felicity Dahl, with wonderful illustrations by the incomparable Quentin Blake, Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes (Puffin, 1997) is a collection of (actually yummy) recipes from Dahl’s books, among them Snozzcumbers,  Frobscottle, Hot Frogs, Lickable Wallpaper, Eatable Marshmallow Pillows, Candy-Coated Pencils for Sucking in Class, and Stickjaw for Talkative Parents. A hoot for all ages.
 images-1 By Emily Ansara Baines, The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook (Adams Media, 2011) is a collection of 150 recipes based on Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy – books which, frankly, I would not have expected to generate much in the way of recipes. Among those that it did: Mrs. Everdeen’s Breakfast of Mush, Katniss’s Lamb Stew with Dried Plums, Apple-Smoked Groosling, and Annie and Finnick’s Wedding Cake. For ages 13 and up.
 images-2 In Anna Shapiro’s A Feast of Words: For Lovers of Food and Fiction (W.W. Norton; 1996), classic works of literature are paired with creative recipes. Featured books include Anna Karenina, Moby Dick, Jane Eyre, Ethan Frome, Emma, and David Copperfield. Literary discussion and kitchen projects for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-8 By Shaunda Kennedy Wenger and Janet Jensen, The Book Lover’s Cookbook (Ballantine Books, 2005) is a collection of 170 recipes for foods featured in classic books (both for children and adults), paired with literary quotations. If your kids have clamored to try the White Witch’s Turkish Delight or wondered about the Cratchit family’s carrot pudding, this is the book for you. For all ages.
 imgres-9 By Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sarian Lehrer, A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook (Bantam, 2012) provides photo-illustrated recipes (categorized by region), plus basic information on stocking a medieval-style kitchen. Included is a list of modern substitutes for things you can’t possibly get, such as auroch. For older teenagers and adults.

Cooking and History

 imgres-10 Cooking, castle-style. In Aliki’s marvelously illustrated picture book A Medieval Feast (HarperCollins, 1986), the king is coming to visit Camdenton Manor and everyone is busy preparing for a magnificent (and expensive) feast. Text and pictures, crammed with detail, describe hunting and fishing, baking and brewing, and all the contributions to the feast from vineyards, herb gardens, kitchen gardens, barns, and beehives. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-11 Eating the Plates: A Pilgrim Book of Food and Manners by Lucille Recht Penner (Aladdin, 1997) is an absorbing history of Pilgrim foods, cooking, and table manners, with ten simple recipes for a complete Pilgrim meal. For ages 7-12.
 imgres-12 Mark Kurlansky’s The Story of Salt (Putnam Juvenile Books, 2006) is a delightfully illustrated history covering all aspects of salt. Trust me; it’s fascinating. For ages 8-12. (For teenagers and adults, see Kurlansky’s Salt: A World History (Penguin Books, 2003).)
 imgres-13 Barbara Walker’s The Little House Cookbook (HarperCollins, 1989) is a collection of “Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic Stories.” The book contains historical information about the life and food of the pioneers, quotes from the Little House books, and recipes for such Ingalls family favorites as hasty pudding, pancake men, sourdough bread, pumpkin pie, crab-apple jelly, and cucumber pickles. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-14 Cooking Up U.S. History: Recipes and Research to Share With Children by Suzanne I. Barchers and Patricia C. Marden (Libraries Unlimited, 1999) includes recipes for such traditional American foods as porridge, Indian pudding, and sourdough bread, and for such homemade necessities as candles, soap, and ink. Recipes are categorized by historical period, from pre-Columbian days to the Civil War. Each recipe is accompanied by background information, discussion questions, suggested research projects, and supplementary reading lists. For ages 6-12.
 imgres-15 Cooking Up World History by Suzanne I. Barchers and Patricia C. Marden (Libraries Unlimited, 1994) is a collection of multicultural recipes from 22 different countries or regions, with accompanying research questions and annotated book lists. Readers make African banana fritters, British Yorkshire pudding, French mousse au chocolat, Indian chapattis, and Scottish scones. For ages 6-12.
 imgres-16 By Jean Fritz, George Washington’s Breakfast (Puffin, 1998) features young George Washington Allen, who knows a great deal about George Washington – including the names of his horses and dogs, and his shoe size – but doesn’t know what the great man ate for breakfast. After a lot of persistence and research he finds out – and convinces his grandma to cook it. For ages 7-10.
 images-4 Have Breakfast with George Washington includes a quote about Washington’s breakfast from his step-granddaughter, Nelly Custis Lewis, and a recipe for Washington’s favorite hoecakes.
 imgres-17 James Solheim’s It’s Disgusting – and We Ate It! (Aladdin, 1998), subtitled “True Food Facts from Around the World and Throughout History,” is an account of unusual dishes and surprising foods that people worldwide eat or have eaten in the past – among them fried grasshoppers, robins, earthworm soup, and camel hump stew. Included are zany illustrations, fascinating facts, and clever poems. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-18 By Joan D’Amico and Karen Eich Drummond, The U.S. History Cookbook (John Wiley & Sons, 2003) is a collection of “Delicious Recipes and Exciting Events from the Past” arranged in chronological order from “The First Thanksgiving” through “Colonial Fare,” “A Pioneer Breakfast,” “Plantation Life,” “A Victorian Tea,” “Making Do During the Great Depression,” “World War II Rations,” and “Fabulous Fifties Foods” (and more). Make your own cornmeal mush, beef jerky, depression cake, and TV dinners. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-19 Published by Reaktion Books, the Edible Series is a collection of catchy short (128-page) global histories of a wide (wide) range of foods. Titles include Pizza (Carol Helstosky), Cheese (Andrew Dalby), Ice Cream (Laura B. Weiss), Cake (Nicola Humble), Bread (William Rubel), Soup (Janet Clarkson), Hot Dog (Bruce Kraig), Pancake (Ken Albala), Sandwich (Bee Wilson), and many more. For the complete list, see The Edible Series website. Fun for foodies ages 13 and up.
 imgres-20 William Sitwell’s illustrated A History of Food in 100 Recipes (Little, Brown and Company, 2013) is a witty chronological history of food, beginning with a bread recipe gleaned from an ancient Egyptian tomb – and then on to roast goat, salted ham, pasta, party planning (circa 1420), hippocras jelly, “peas soope,” the invention of the sandwich, Rice Krispies treats, and the rise of food TV. A great read for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-21 Cooking, argues anthropologist Richard Wrangham, made human beings what they are today. In Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human (Basic Books, 2010), Wrangham argues that once our ancestors learned to control fire some 1.8 million years ago, they also learned to cook – an inspired leap that both provided us with more and better food and eventually led to smaller jaws, bigger brains, complex social structures, and civilization. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-22 Bee Wilson’s Consider the Fork (“A History of How We Cook and Eat”) (Basic Books, 2012) is an addictive history of cooking and eating, packed with fascinating – and surprising – information. Various chapters cover pots and pans, the history of knives, cooking with fire (always risky), eating utensils (fingers, tongs, chopsticks, and spoons, as well as the title fork), and more. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-23 The Food Timeline is an annotated timeline of food and cooking from prehistory (17,000 BCE) to the present, packed with quotes from historians, excerpts from period cookbooks, general information, historical recipes, and more. A terrific and wide-ranging resource.

Cooking and Geography

 imgres-24 In Marjorie Priceman’s How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World (Dragonfly Books, 1996), a little girl takes an imaginary trip around the world to find out where all the ingredients for an apple pie come from: wheat from Italy, eggs from France, cinnamon from Sri Lanka, sugar from Jamaica, and apples from Vermont. The book includes a recipe for your very own international apple pie. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-25 Also by Priceman in the same format is How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the U.S.A. (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2008).
 imgres-26 In Norah Dooley’s picture book Everybody Cooks Rice (Carolrhoda Books, 1992), a little girl tours her neighborhood at dinnertime, discovering all the many ways in which persons of different ethnic backgrounds cook rice – among them Haitians, Indians, Puerto Ricans, and Chinese. For ages 6-8.
 imgres-27 Also see Dooley’s Everybody Bakes Bread (1995), Everybody Serves Soup (2004), and Everybody Brings Noodles (2005).
 imgres-28 Pamela Marx’s Travel-The-World Cookbook (Good Year Books, 1996) has sixty simple recipes from countries and regions around the globe, along with food facts, cultural information, and suggestions for related research projects and craft activities. (Try peanut soup, stuffed grape leaves, tostadas, and toad-in-a-hole.) Also included are lists of international harvest festival traditions and folk tales. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-29 Arlette N. Braman’s illustrated Kids Around the World Cook (Jossey-Bass, 2000) is a collection of recipes for drinks, breads, soups and starters, main dishes, and desserts from a wide range of different countries. For example, kids can make Indian sweet lassi, Israeli challah, Polish strawberry soup, Chinese stir-fried rice, and Norwegian nutmeg cookies. Included are historical and cultural information, notes on multicultural word origins, and a lot of catchy facts. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-30 The Kids’ Multicultural Cookbook by Deanna F. Cook (Williamson books, 2008) includes 50 different recipes grouped by world region (Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas, and the South Pacific). Included along with the recipes are catchy cultural facts, games, activities, suggestions for themed parties, and cute little illustrations. Young cooks whip up such delectables as peanut butter soup (Ghana), ox-eye eggs (Indonesia), apple pancakes (Germany), and couscous (Tunisia). For ages 5 and up.
 imgres-31 By Joan D’Amico and Karen Eich Drummond, The United States Cookbook (John Wiley & Sons, 2000) is a 128-page compendium of “Fabulous Foods and Fascinating Facts from All 50 States.” States are grouped by region: for each, there’s a map, basic background information, a short summary of state foods, and a traditional recipe. (From Massachusetts, Boston Baked Beans; from New York, Waldorf Salad; from Pennsylvania, Soft Pretzels.) Boxes of “Fun Food Facts” provide a lot of unusual information, among them the distance record for spitting watermelon seeds. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-32 By Joan D’Amico and Karen Eich Drummond, The Coming to America Cookbook (John Wiley & Sons, 2005) is a collection of kid-friendly recipes from multicultural immigrants. The book covers eighteen different countries – among them Mexico, China, Morocco, and Nigeria – with information about the country and its customs and representative recipes. For ages 11 and up.
 imgres-33 Matthew Locricchio’s International Cookbook for Kids (Two Lions, 2012), illustrated with mouthwatering color photographs, is a collection of recipes from Italy, France, China, and Mexico (including an entire menu for a taco party). Recipes are clearly presented, with attractive step-by-step instructions. Intended for serious young cooks who can cope with multiple ingredients and techniques. For ages 11 and up.

Cooking and Science

 imgres-34 By Liz Plaster and Rick Krustchinsky, Incredible Edible Science (Redleaf Press, 2010) is a collection of 160 food-based science activities for preschoolers and early elementary students, categorized under observation (via the five senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound), classification, communication, measurement, inference, prediction, and language and literacy. (Under this last, for example, kids make alphabet pretzels and Three Bears’ Porridge, and grow Jack’s beanstalk.)
 imgres-35 Vicki Cobb’s Science Experiments You Can Eat (HarperCollins, 1984) pairs interesting recipes with equally interesting scientific discussions: for example, kids make rock candy, grape jelly, and popcorn while learning about crystallization, polymerization, and steam pressure. Cobb is brilliant at making science accessible for a wide range of ages. (Get all her books!) Highly recommended.
 imgres-36 Loralee Leavitt’s colorfully illustrated Candy Experiments (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2013) has a wealth of tempting and creative things to do with candy other than eat it. Discover candy’s secret ingredients, investigate candy color, experiment with density (find out how to sink a marshmallow), and try squashing it, stretching it, melting it, or blowing it up, all in the name of science. Included are complete instructions and explanations. For ages 7-12.
 imgres-37 The Science Chef by Joan D’Amico and Karen Eich Drummond (Jossey-Bass, 1994) is a collection of “100 Fun Food Experiments and Recipes for Kids,” among them recipes and brief scientific information on salad dressing, pasta sauce, cheese, butter, and pudding. Readers learn why toasted bread turns brown and discover the chemistry of baking powder. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-38 The Science Chef Travels Around the World by Joan D’Amico and Karen Eich Drummond (John Wiley & Sons, 1996) covers fourteen different countries, among them Brazil, Israel, China, India, Morocco, Canada, and Ghana. For each is listed an interesting science experiment based on a representative ethnic food – for example, kids learn about viscosity with honey (Egypt) and osmosis with pickled cucumbers (France) – along with recipes and menus. For ages 9-13.
 imgres-39 Simon Quellen Field’s Culinary Reactions (Chicago Review Press, 2011) is neither a chemistry book nor a cookbook, but rather a friendly and clearly written melding of the two, explaining just what goes on – chemically – in the process of making whipped cream, bread, meringue, hollandaise sauce, cheese, roast turkey, lemonade, and ice cream. (There’s also a nice account of how to extract DNA from your Halloween pumpkin.) Various chapters cover foams, emulsions, colloids and gels, oils and fats, solutions, crystallization, protein chemistry, acids and bases, oxidation and reduction, and more. For ages 14 and up – best for those with a little basic chemistry under their belts.
 images-5 From the acclaimed author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan’s Cooked (Penguin Press, 2013) covers Pollan’s own experiences in learning how to cook, and explores the science of cooking – categorized by classical element : fire, water, air, and earth. Under “Fire,” Pollan learns to barbecue; in “Water,” he tackles soups and stews; “Air” is a study of bread; and “Earth” is all about fermentation and pickling. (Beer, cheese, and vinegar.) An interesting and informative read for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-40 Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen (Scribner, 2004) is a terrific resource. The book, all 600+ pages of it, is jam-packed with historical and scientific information: for example, readers discover the history of graham crackers and chewing gum; learn about the biochemistry of meringue, mayonnaise, blue cheese, and ripening bananas; and find out how Brazil nuts are harvested and how bees make honey. Scientifically detailed and thorough, but comfortably readable. For teenagers and adults.
For more interesting information on food science, see McGee’s excellent Curious Cook website.
 imgres-41 EdX’s Science & Cooking is a challenging and creative online course collaboratively taught by famous chefs and Harvard research scientists, complete with video lectures and virtual labs. The class can be audited or taken to obtain a Certificate of Mastery, which involves homework and exams. Either way it’s absolutely free.
 imgres-42 From the San Francisco Exploratorium, Science of Cooking has cool information, creative projects and activities, virtual labs, webcasts, and book lists on many aspects of cooking. Featured sections cover eggs, pickles, candy, bread, seasoning, and meat. A great resource.
 FoodSci_img001 Cooking & Food Science Fair Project Ideas has many suggestions for science-minded cooks, categorized by difficulty level (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced). For example, kids analyze the starch content of potatoes and the gluten content of wheat, determine the caloric content of foods, and explore the chemistry of ice-cream-making.
 images-6 From Penn State, Food Science has experiments, activities, lesson plans, and informative resources for kid in grades K-12. (Find out how to determine the speed of light with marshmallows.)
 imgres-43 From the American Chemical Society, Science for Kids: Food has a list of interesting projects and experiments involving fats, proteins, starch, pH indicators, and more.

Cooking and Math

 imgres-44 In Stuart J. Murphy’s A Fair Bear Share (HarperCollins, 1997), four little bear cubs gather, count, and sort blueberries, nuts, and seeds (in sets of ten) for their mother’s special Blue Ribbon Blueberry Pie. For ages 4-7.
 imgres-45 Check out this recipe for Blueberry Pie So Easy Your Kids Can Make It Themselves.
 imgres-46 In Spaghetti and Meatballs for All (Scholastic, 1997) by Marilyn Burns, the Comforts have invited many guests for dinner – which turns into a clever mathematical exercise in rearranging tables and chairs and apportioning food. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-47 From the BBC’s Good Food, Cooking with Kids: Spaghetti & Meatballs has a shared parent-and-kids recipe, with helpful instructions for each.
 imgres-48 In Amy Axelrod’s Pigs in the Pantry (Aladdin, 1999) – subtitled “Fun with Math and Cooking” – Mrs. Pig has a cold so her husband and children decide to make her a batch of spicy Firehouse Chili (recipe included). Measuring errors lead to disaster. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-49 Ann McCallum’s Eat Your Math Homework (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2011) pairs food and math concepts (with a couple of wacky bunnies). Kids learn about probability with trail mix and pi with pizza, bake batches of tessellating two-color brownies and tangram cookies, and make Fibonacci snack sticks. Informative and fun for ages 7-12.
 imgres-50 The Math Chef: Over 60 Math Activities and Recipes for Kids by Joan D’Amico and Karen Eich Drummond (John Wiley & Sons, 1997) is divided into four main sections: “Measuring,” “Arithmetic,” “Fractions and Percents,” and “Geometry.” Kids combine mathematical exercises with cooking, calculating the number of grams in a pound of potatoes, figuring out how to triple a sandwich recipe, and determining the area of a brownie and the circumference of an apple pie. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-51 In the Math in the Real World series, Sheri Arroyo’s 32-page How Chefs Use Math (Chelsea Clubhouse, 2009) is an illustrated introduction to the mathematics of running a restaurant. How much food to buy? What to charge? How many customers? For ages 8-12.

Cooking and Poetry

 imgres-52 Susan M. Freese’s Carrots to Cupcakes (Super Sandcastle, 2008) introduces kids to basic poetry concepts through funny cartoon-illustrated poems about cooking and food. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-53 Larry Fagin, in The List Poem (Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 2000), a book of poetry exercises and projects for aspiring writers, suggests that students try writing “recipe poems” based on recipe-style lists of ingredients. Samples (by students) include “Recipe for Martin Luther King, Jr.” (“7 gallons of love/10 cups of courage/10 cups of caring…”) and a recipe for “King Midas Touch” (“1 pound egg shells/2 pounds of mosquitoes (bones removed)/1 purple duck with polka dots…”). For all ages.
 imgres-54 Kevin Young’s The Hungry Ear (Bloomsbury USA, 2012) is a collection of poems on food by many different poets, among them Mary Oliver, Seamus Heaney, Elizabeth Bishop, Langston Hughes, Billy Collins, W.B. Yeats, Pablo Neruda, and Sylvia Plath. For teenagers and adults.
 images-7 Peter Washington’s Eat, Drink, and Be Merry (Everyman’s Library, 2003) is an anthology of poems on food and drink, among them “Breakfast” by William Carlos Williams, “Blueberries” by Robert Frost, “Recipe for a Salad” by Sydney Smith, and “Gooseberry Fool” by Amy Clampitt. For teenagers and adults.

Cooking and Art

 imgres-55 By Maryann F. Kohl and Jean Potter, Cooking Art: Easy Edible Art for Young Children (Gryphon House, 1997) is a fat collection of artistic cooking projects for kids aged 4-10. Projects are grouped under such subheadings as “Shapes and Forms,” “Colors and Design,” “Flowers and Trees,” and “Animals and Creatures.” There’s also a month-by-month list of special seasonal projects for around the year. Sample projects: kids make potato ghosts, number pretzels, cucumber airplanes, a flowerpot salad, and “Mush and Jelly Paint” for making pictures on bowls of breakfast oatmeal.  For ages 3 and up.
 imgres-56 From Family Corner, 10 Edible Play Dough Crafts has recipes for ten wholly edible play doughs, variously made from Kool-Aid, Jell-O, oatmeal, peanut butter, and chocolate.
 h2_1982.60.39 From the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Food and Feasting is a large collection of paintings and artifacts related to food and cooking.
 images-8 15 Fascinating Food Artists and Sculptors is a gallery of works made from food: mosaics made from cookies and noodles, carved eggs, sculptures made from butter or vegetables, and some truly phenomenal cakes.
 images-9 Hong Yi Plays With Her Food is a collection of landscapes, animals, pictures, and portraits made with food on a background of white plates by a Malaysian artist.

Even More Recipes

 imgres-57 Marjorie Winslow’s Mud Pies and Other Recipes (New York Review Children’s Collection, 2010) is a charming collection of (wholly inedible) recipes for make-believe, among them Pine Needle Upside-Down Cake, Boiled Buttons, and Rainspout Tea. For all ages.
 imgres-58 Cordon Bleu chef (and mom) Annabel Karmel’s Mom and Me Cookbook (Dorling Kindersley, 2008), illustrated with great color photographs, is a collection of beautifully presented recipes for cooks ages 4-7. Try your hands at potato mice, avocado frog dip, animal cookies, and many more.
 imgres-59 Also by Karmel, see The Toddler Cookbook (Dorling Kindersley, 2008) for ages 2-5, which features such dishes as lettuce boats, little pita pizzas, and peanut butter bears.
 imgres-60 Mollie Katzen’s Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes (Tricycle Press, 1994) is a wonderful illustrated vegetarian cookbook for preschoolers, in which each recipe appears twice – once in words and once in step-by-step pictures. Cooks ages 3-6 can – with a little help – make green spaghetti, blueberry pancakes, zucchini moons, and hide and seek muffins. And, of course, pretend soup.
 imgres-61 Also see the sequel, Salad People and More Real Recipes (2005) and, for older cooks ages 8-12, Honest Pretzels and 64 Other Amazing Recipes for Kids Who Like to Cook (2009).
For sample recipes, see Children’s Cookbooks at Mollie Katzen’s website.
 imgres-62 Linda White’s Cooking on a Stick (Gibbs Smith, 2000) is a collection of campfire recipes for kids, variously to be cooked on sticks, in pouches, or on grills or grates. Included are safety tips and instructions for building a campfire. Try Moose Kebobs, S’mores, Hop Toad Popcorn, and Squirrel Nibbles. For ages 6-11.
 imgres-63 Kate White’s Cooking in a Can (Gibbs Smith, 2006) has instructions and recipes not only for cooking in a can, but on a (homemade) tin-can grill, wrapped in leaves, with hot rocks, in a pit, in a (homemade) solar oven, and more. Fun for campers and backyard cooks ages 6 and up.
 imgres-64 Melissa Barlow’s Noodlemania (Quirk Books, 2013) is a collection of 50 wacky pasta recipes – categorized by shape (“Totally Tubular,” “Twisty & Twirly”) – plus assorted catchy facts. Make Robot Bites, Super Stuffed Slugs, and Green Stink Bugs. Fun for ages 6 and up.
 6a00e55246b63f8834017742e0950f970d-800wi The Artful Parent’s Cooking with Kids has many wonderful cooking projects, illustrated with photographs. Make teddy-bear bread, candy-cane lollipops, rainbow cupcakes, and more.
 imgres-65 Write your own cookbook? Peter Stillman’s Families Writing (Heinemann, 1998) is an inspirational source of ideas for cooperative family writing projects, among them creating a personal recipe book filled with traditional family favorites. A great project for all ages.
 imgres-66 The Let’s Cook! Class Curriculum is a detailed multi-lesson cooking unit at two levels (Beginner and Advanced). Each session covers basic cooking techniques and features a different food with recipe – for example, apples, bell peppers, dried beans, potatoes, and tomatoes. Generally aimed at ages 9-13.

Books About Cooks (and a Movie)

 imgres-67 In Maurice Sendak’s classic In the Night Kitchen (HarperCollins, 1996), Mickey falls into the surreal world of the night kitchen where three Alice-in-Wonderland-ish bakers are mixing the batter for the morning cake. They need milk – so Mickey makes an airplane out of bread dough and flies off to fetch some from a gigantic milk bottle. In the process of falling into the night kitchen, Mickey also falls out of his clothes, which has caused endless fuss among people who have never ever seen a child bare. For ages 2-7.
 imgres-68 In Carolyn Parkhurst’s picture book Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly (Feiwel & Friends, 2010), big brother Henry is hosting a pretend TV show (“Pirate Cooking”), in which the dish of the day is “raspberry-marshmallow-peanut butter waffles with barbecued banana bacon” – though he’s having a struggle dealing with input from red-headed two-year-old sister Ellie. For ages 3-7.
 imgres-69 In William Steig’s Pete’s a Pizza (HarperCollins, 1998), Pete is miserable – it’s raining and he can’t play ball – so his father decides to cheer him up by turning him into a pizza. Pete is kneaded and tossed, smeared with oil (water), decorated with toppings (checkers and paper scraps), and baked on the couch. When the time comes for the pizza to be sliced, Pete runs away, pursued by his father (“Pizzas are not supposed to laugh!”). Possibly the funniest pizza recipe ever. For ages 4-7.
 imgres-70 Bruce Eric Kaplan’s Monsters Eat Whiny Children (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010) is hilarious. Henry and Eve, going through a “TERRIBLE phase,” do nothing but whine, and have been warned by their father that monsters eat whiny children. The kids continue to whine and – lo and behold – a monster pops them in a sack and takes them off to his lair on the bad side of town. There problems arise, as the monsters bicker over just how to cook and serve whiny children – in salad? Burgers? Cake? Vindaloo? By the time the monsters finally agree on cucumber sandwiches (on fluffy white bread), the whiny kids – hopefully with a lesson learned – have escaped. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-71 Rosemary Mastnak’s Cooking with Grandma (Hardie Grant Egmont, 2012) is a mix of cooking, fun, and make-believe. When Anya visits her grandparents, she and grandma cook a new dish every day, and then serve it up with a dose of pretend play (“room service at the hotel!”). Chances are readers will be clamoring to make toast soldiers and scones. (Mastnak is Australian – readers glimpse kangaroos through Grandma’s kitchen window.) For ages 4-8.
 imgres-72 In Dr. Seuss’s Scrambled Eggs Super (Random House, 1953, Peter T. Hooper produces the most spectacular dish of scrambled eggs ever, with dozens of zany eggs, 99 pans, 55 cans of beans, a pound of horseradish, and nine prunes. And more. For ages 4-8.
 images-10 Also see Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham (Random House, 1960) in which the relentless Sam-I-Am pulls out all stops to convince the stubborn narrator to try a scrumptious dish of green eggs and ham.
From Scholastic, Scrambled Eggs Super is a lesson plan to accompany Seuss’s book in which kids decorate plastic eggs and play a rhyming word game.
From Martha Stewart, Green Eggs and Ham is a particularly yummy-sounding version of Seuss’s recipe. (The green is pesto.)
At Seussville.com, Green Eggs and Ham lists three different recipes for Sam-I-Am’s famous dish.
 imgres-73 In Lynne Barasch’s picture-book biography Hiromi’s Hands (Lee & Low Books, 2007), young Hiromi, whose father is a sushi chef, wants to become one too – and she grows up to become one of the first female sushi chefs in America. (But it wasn’t easy.) For ages 5-8.
 imgres-74 Make Vegetable Maki Sushi with Kids! has step-by-step photo-illustrated instructions for making homestyle sushi.
 imgres-75 Deborah Hopkinson’s picture book Fannie in the Kitchen (Aladdin, 2004) – subtitled “The Whole Story from Soup to Nuts of How Fannie Farmer Invented Recipes with Precise Measurements” – is told from the point of view of young Marcia Shaw, who is not exactly pleased when Fannie Farmer comes to cook for her family’s Victorian household. Soon, though, she’s hooked on Fannie’s delicious meals and even has a hand in writing the famous Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-76 By Susanna Reich, Minette’s Feast (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2012) is the story of Julia Child told through the eyes of her cat, Minette (“perhaps the luckiest cat in all Paris”). For ages 4-8.
 imgres-77 Jessie Hartland’s Bon Appetit! (Schwartz & Wade, 2012) is a delightful and hilariously illustrated biography of Julia Child, filled with anecdotes, food, and recipes (and a smattering of French). For ages 7-12.
 images-11 By Alice Waters, Fanny at Chez Panisse (William Morrow Cookbooks, 1997) is the charmingly illustrated story of Waters’s famous California restaurant, Chez Panisse, as told by her seven-year-old daughter, Fanny. The first chunk of the book introduces the restaurant and the people who work there; the rest is a collection of 46 scrumptious recipes, ostensibly Fanny’s. For ages 8 and up.
 imgres-78 In Kathryn Littlewood’s Bliss (Katherine Tegen Books, 2013), the Bliss family, owners of a magical bakery in the town of Calamity Falls, have in their possession an ancient Cookery Booke, filled with arcane recipes for Singing Gingersnaps, Love Muffins, and Cookies of Truth. When the Bliss parents are called out of town, it’s up to 12-year-old Rose and her siblings to keep the book safe – particularly from the suspicious Lily, who arrives at their door claiming to be a distant cousin. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-79 In Rufus Kingfisher’s Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles, Madame Pamplemousse’s edibles are indeed incredible: among them are Minotaur Salami, Pterodactyl Bacon, Crocodile Kidneys in Blueberry Wine, and Giant Squid Tentacle in Jasmine-Scented Jelly. Young Madeleine – forced to work for her awful Uncle Lard at his restaurant, The Squealing Pig – discovers Madame Pamplemousse when the Squealing Pig runs out of pate, at which point evil Uncle Lard decides to steal Madame Pamplemousse’s secrets. A wonderful magical read for ages 9 and up. (And there are sequels.)
 imgres-80 In Sarah Weeks’s Pie (Scholastic, 2013), set in the 1950s, Alice’s Aunt Polly – the Pie Queen of Ipswitch – has died, leaving the recipe for her famous pie crust to her cat, and her cat (Lardo) to Alice. Great characters, a mystery, a story of friendship and family relationships, and fourteen recipes for pie. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-81 In Adam Glendon Sidwell’s Evertaster (Future House Publishing, 2012), eleven-year-old Guster Johnsonville, a mega-picky eater, is taken by his frustrated mother to New Orleans to find something he’ll consent to eat. There they meet a dying pastry cook who gives them an old metal eggbeater and the secret ancient recipe for the most delicious taste in the world. Soon Guster and family are on the run, pursued by a cult of murderous chefs. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-82 The parents of Primrose Squarp, the star of Polly Horvath’s Everything on a Waffle (Square Fish, 2008), have been lost at sea, and Primrose has been sent to live with her Uncle Jack (who at least is better than her former babysitter, Miss Perfidy, who smells of mothballs and dislikes children). Primrose spends her time on the docks, waiting for her parents to return, and hanging out with Miss Bowzer, proprietor of the restaurant The Girl on the Red Swing, where everything – absolutely everything – is served on a waffle. Miss Bowzer teaches her to cook – the book is filled with recipes for everything from caramel apples to pear soup and cherry pork chops – and Primrose’s observations on the people and life in her small Canadian town are priceless. Also there’s a happy (though somewhat unbelievable) ending. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-83 Twelve-year-old Foster McFee, main character of Joan Bauer’s Close to Famous (Puffin, 2012), has learning disabilities (she can’t read), a talent for baking (marvelous cupcakes), and a dream of hosting her own television cooking show.  When she and her mother settle in Culpepper, West Virginia – after fleeing her mother’s abusive boyfriend – both find new friends and new hope. A satisfying read for ages 10 and up.
 imgres-84 Lucy Knisley’s Relish: My Life in the Kitchen (First Second, 2013) is a cheerful autobiographical graphic novel of a child “raised by foodies,” with lots of great illustrated recipes. For food-loving teenagers and adults.
 images-12 In Pixar’s 2007 animated film Ratatouille, Remy, a young rat, dreams of becoming a great French chef. The major drawback: he’s a rat. Rated G.

For more resources for budding foodies see HAPPY CARROT DAY, CHOCOLATE, BEAUTIFUL SOUP, APPLES, FAMOUS POTATOES, and EAT YOUR VEGGIES (AND OTHER HEALTHY STUFF).

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