Dinosaurs

 

Dinosaur love, as every parent knows, usually begins sometime between the ages of 4 and 9 – but the passion can go on forever. Dinosaurs are cool. See below for books, projects, interesting lesson plans, 3-D dinosaur cookies, a great dinosaur sock puppet, and the scoop on becoming a paleontologist.

FICTIONAL DINOSAURS

 imgres Jane Yolen’s How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? (Blue Sky Press, 2000) is a rhyming picture-book account of how dinosaurs (and, by implication, kids) go to bed. “Does a dinosaur slam his tail and pout?/Does he throw his teddy bear all about?/Does a dinosaur stomp his feet on the floor/And shout “I want to hear one book more”?/Does a dinosaur ROAR?” No. As it turns out, they’re much better behaved. Mark Teague’s witty illustrations feature ten different oversized dinosaurs. Many good-behavior-promoting sequels, among them How Do Dinosaurs Go to School?, How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends?, and How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Room? For ages 2-7.
The How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? Reading and Discussion Guide from the Massachusetts Center for the Book has discussion questions, activities, and background information.
 imgres-3 Jon Surgal’s Have You Seen My Dinosaur? (Random House, 2010) is a giggle-provoking hide-and-seek book in catchy rhyme. (“Have you seen my dinosaur?/He’s large. He’s green. He likes to roar.”) The dinosaur all the while is hiding in plain sight. For ages 3-6.
 imgres-4 In Martin Waddell’s The Super Hungry Dinosaur (Dial, 2009), Hal and dog Billy are playing in the backyard when (GRRRR!) a Super Hungry Dinosaur charges in. Hal – with all the aplomb of Ogden Nash’s Isabel – defeats the dinosaur and all ends with a spaghetti dinner.  For ages 3-6.
 imgres-5 In John Steven Gurney’s Dinosaur Train (HarperCollins, 2002), Jesse – who loves trains and dinosaurs – is taken on a marvelous just-before-bedtime trip on a train filled with spectacular dinosaurs. For ages 3-6.
 imgres-6 Check out the PBS kids’ show Dinosaur Train. Included at the site are games, a field guide to dinosaurs, videos, and a teacher’s guide.
 imgres-1 Elise Broach’s When Dinosaurs Came with Everything (Atheneum Books, 2010) is every kid’s dream giveaway: as a little boy and his mother run their Friday errands, every store and office is handing out free dinosaurs. (At the doughnut shop: Buy a Dozen, Get a Dinosaur.) And these are real dinosaurs. The kid collects four before his mom calls it quits, and home they go for lunch.  A giggle for ages 3-7.
 imgres-2 In Bernard Most’s If the Dinosaurs Came Back (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1984), the narrator imagines what if would be like if dinosaurs were around today: they’d mow lawns and serve as ladders; people could ride to work on their backs; and they’d protect us from robbers. With catchy illustrations of big bright-colored dinosaurs. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-7 In Ian Whybrow’s Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs (Puffin, 2012), Harry finds a cache of old plastic dinosaur toys in his grandmother’s attic, cleans them up, learns all their names, and soon carries them everywhere with him in a bucket. These are special dinosaurs: for Harry, they come to life. A problem arises when he loses his beloved dinosaurs on the train – but Harry knows just how to get them back. There are several sequels featuring Harry and his dinosaurs, as well as a TV show. For ages 4-8.
Teaching Ideas for Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs include multidisciplinary activities for Literature, Math, Science, Design Technology, Art, and Music.
 imgres-8 Paul Stickland’s Dinosaur Roar (Puffin, 2002) is an introduction to opposites, with colorful and expressive dinosaurs and a simple, but clever, rhyming text – starting with “Dinosaur roar/Dinosaur squeak/Dinosaur fierce/Dinosaur meek.” For ages 4-8.
 imgres-9 Syd Hoff’s Danny and the Dinosaur (HarperCollins, 2008) was originally published in 1958 and is still going strong today. Danny visits a museum where he meets a live, friendly (and appealingly blimpish) dinosaur and off the two go for an adventurous day. Sequels are Danny and the Dinosaur Go to Camp and Happy Birthday, Danny and the Dinosaur! For ages 4-8.
 imgres-10 Tony Mitton’s Dinosaurumpus (Scholastic, 2009) is a bouncy and colorful rumpus of cavorting dinosaurs with a rhyming and onomatopoetic text (lots of Thwacks, Bomps, Donks, and EEEKs). (“Shake, shake, shudder/near the sludgy old swamp./The dinosaurs are coming./Get ready to romp!”) Readers also learn some real dinosaur names and features. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-11 In James Mayhew’s Katie and the Dinosaurs (Hodder & Stoughton, 2009), Katie visits the Natural History Museum, goes through a door marked “No Admittance,” and finds herself in a prehistoric world of dinosaurs – where she helps a baby Hadrosaurus and distracts a hungry T. rex (with her lunch box). One of many Katie books. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-12 In William Joyce’s Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo (HarperCollins, 1995), the adventurous Lazardo family obtains a pet dinosaur while on safari in Africa. (“He looks kind of like my uncle Bob,” said Mrs. Lazardo. So they named him Bob.) The illustrations are gorgeous, and the whole thing is topped off with “The Ballad of Dinosaur Bob” (by Zelda Lazardo), to be sung to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne.” For ages 4-8.
 imgres-13 In Dennis Nolan’s Dinosaur Dream (Aladdin, 1994), Wilbur wakes up to find a lost baby Apatosaurus outside his bedroom window. He names it Gideon (after paleontologist Gideon Mantell) and sets off on a 140-million-year-long trip through time to take it safely home again. Lovely pseudo-realistic illustrations. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-14 In Mo Willems’s Edwina, The Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct (Hyperion Books, 2006), Edwina is a sweetheart of a dinosaur who helps old ladies across the street and bakes chocolate chip cookies. She’s loved by all, except Reginald Von Hoobie-Doobie, who insists – with lecture, illustrations, and a pointer – that the dinosaurs are TOTALLY EXTINCT. Edwina is horrified. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-15 In Mo Willems’s hysterical Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs (Balzer + Bray, 2012), the dinosaurs make the beds, arrange the chairs, set out three tempting bowls of chocolate pudding heated to various temperatures, and go for a walk. Says Mama Dinosaur, “I SURE HOPE NO INNOCENT LITTLE SUCCULENT CHILD HAPPENS BY OUR UNLOCKED HOME WHILE WE ARE…uhh…SOMEPLACE ELSE!” Luckily visiting Goldilocks wises up before she becomes a dinosaur bon-bon. For ages 5 and up.
 imgres-16 In Carol Carrick’s Patrick’s Dinosaurs (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1985), Patrick learns all about dinosaurs from his brother, Hank, and then becomes convinced that a fearsome T. rex has followed them home – until Hank explains that the dinosaurs are long gone. Sequels include What Happened to Patrick’s Dinosaurs? – in which Hank explains the science of why the dinosaurs became extinct, while Patrick imagines a world of friendly dinosaurs helping people until they finally left Earth in a spaceship – and Patrick’s Dinosaurs on the Internet (no science whatsoever) in which Patrick takes a trip to the distant dinosaur planet. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-17 Laura Joy Rennert’s Buying, Training and Caring for Your Dinosaur (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2009) is a hilarious spoof on choosing a dinosaur pet. What kind, for example, is best for you? Horned? “With his bony frill and three horns, Triceratops is a great watch-dino. Please post a BEWARE OF DINO sign. Your mail carrier will appreciate this.” For ages 5-8.
 imgres-18 In Judith Viorst’s Lulu and the Brontosaurus (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2010) – with terrific illustrations by Lane Smith – Lulu, denied a brontosaurus for her birthday, throws a screaming fit, then packs a pickle sandwich and heads off into the woods to find a brontosaurus for herself.  When she finally finds one, a problem arises: the brontosaurus wants to keep Lulu as a pet. Readers get a choice of three different endings. Funny, clever, and a helpful lesson in behavior for ages 5-9.
 imgres-19 In Oliver Butterworth’s The Enormous Egg (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 1993), young Nate Twitchell is flabbergasted when an oversized egg from the family chicken coop in Freedom, NH, hatches out an infant Triceratops. Soon scientists and politicians converge on the farm, and Nate is confronted with the problem of what’s best to do with his dinosaur. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-20 In Evelyn Sibley Lampman’s The Shy Stegosaurus of Cricket Creek (Purple House Press, 2007), twins Joan and Joey Brown – out hunting fossils in the desert – find far more than they bargained for: a live Stegosaurus (George) who likes bananas and speaks English. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-21 In Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park (Ballantine Books, 2012), the dinosaurs are back – cloned from blood samples in ancient amber – and they’re smart and dangerous. In the sequel, Lost World, they’re back again. Exciting reads for teenagers and adults.
Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film version of Jurassic Park stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and lot of spectacular dinosaurs. Rated PG-13.

REAL DINOSAURS

 imgres-23 In Byron Barton’s Bones, Bones, Dinosaur Bones (HarperFestival, 1990), six paleontologists in different-colored pith helmets hunt for dinosaur bones, dig them up, wrap them and send them to the museum, and then assemble a dinosaur skeleton. For ages 3-6.
 imgres-24 Bob Barner’s Dinosaur Bones (Chronicle Books, 2001) – illustrated with great paper-collage pictures – pairs a simple rhyming text (in big splashy print) with snippets of scientific fact (in smaller, more official-looking print). For ages 3-8.
 images By Catherine D. Hughes, National Geographic’s First Big Book of Dinosaurs (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2011) covers dinosaurs in ascending order of size, from Small to Big, Giant, and Gigantic. For each, there’s a reader-friendly description, a quick Facts box, and a pronunciation guide. The book is filled with activity suggestions and interactive questions and has great realistic illustrations by Franco Tempesta. A good pick for ages 4-8.
 images-1 By master paper engineer Robert Sabuda, Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Dinosaurs (Candlewick, 2005) pairs basic information with 35 spectacular pop-up dinosaurs. For ages 4 and up.
  See the Candlewick Press website to download a teacher’s guide and an activity kit (make a T. rex pop-up card) to accompany the book.
 imgres-25 In Joanna Cole’s The Magic School Bus in the Time of the Dinosaurs (Scholastic, 1995), everyone’s favorite teacher Ms. Frizzle – whose clothes I crave, especially that dress covered in vegetables – transports her class back in time for a tour of the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous Periods, with a stop-off at a Maiasaura nesting ground. Much of the information is conveyed through hand-written and illustrated student reports. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-26 By Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld, Dinosaur Tracks (HarperCollins, 2007) in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series explains how fossil footprints form and what we can learn from them. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-27 In the same series by Zoehfeld, see Dinosaurs Big and Small (HarperCollins, 2002) which discusses the range of dinosaur sizes in terms of recognizable measures – such as an average-size kid, a school bus, and an elephant – Where Did Dinosaurs Come From? (HarperCollins, 2010), which covers fossil clues to the evolution of dinosaurs; and Did Dinosaurs Have Feathers? (HarperCollins, 2003) which covers the first discovery of early feathers in a fossilized Archaeopteryx, Chinese fossils of feathered dinosaurs, and the link between dinosaurs and modern birds. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-28 Aliki’s Digging Up Dinosaurs (HarperCollins, 1988) in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series not only covers digging up dinosaurs, but the process of putting them back together again. The illustrations are wonderful, with detailed dinosaur skeletons, clever little cartoon people with dialogue in cartoon bubbles, and – on the cover – a female paleontologist. For ages 4-9.
  Related books by Aliki are My Visit to the Dinosaurs (HarperCollins, 1985), Dinosaur Bones (HarperCollins, 1990) and Fossils Tell of Long Ago (HarperCollins, 1990).
images-6 Aliki’s Dinosaurs Are Different (HarperCollins, 1986) provides more detailed information than is found is the usual elementary dino book. Dinosaur differences are anatomic and taxonomic: the author explains the dinosaur family tree and shows the differences between the two orders of dinosaurs: the lizard-hipped saurischians and the bird-hipped ornithischians. Pictures, with color-coded bones, show readers how to tell them apart. Additional information is provided through kids exchanging dinosaur facts in cartoon conversation balloons. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-29 By Gail Gibbons, Dinosaurs! (Holiday House, 2009) is a straightforward introduction to paleontology and dinosaurs – beginning with the massive meteor that hit the earth, bringing the Age of Dinosaurs to an end. Gibbons covers the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, profiles 14 different dinosaurs, and discusses dinosaur discoveries. For ages 5-9.
 images-2 Kathleen V. Kudlinski’s Boy, Were We Wrong about Dinosaurs (Puffin, 2008) describes our changing beliefs about dinosaurs, beginning with the ancient Chinese, who thought the giant bones belonged to dragons. Theories continue to change today, as we discover more about dinosaur anatomy and behavior. For ages 6-9.
 imgres-30 The National Geographic Society’s The Dinosaur Museum (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2006) is a fabulous interactive tour of a natural history museum, with pop-up fossils, a dinosaur timeline, a sliding dinosaur size chart, and all kinds of fascinating flaps, tabs, and wheels. For ages 5-11.
 imgres-31 By Kathi Wagner and Sheryl Racine, The Everything Kids’ Dinosaurs Book (Adams Media, 2005) is a 144-page collection of information, activities, recipes, and puzzles. Included are Words to Know (say, paleontologist) and jokes. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-32 Jacob Berkowitz’s Jurassic Poop: What Dinosaurs (and Others) Left Behind (Kids Can Press, 2006) – a sure hit with the dinosaur-and-potty-humor crowd – is filled with helpful information about preserved dung and what scientists learn from it.  Readers learn the formal name for fossilized poop, which is coprolite. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-33 David Lambert’s Dinosaur (Dorling Kindersley,  2010) in the Eyewitness series covers a wide range of dinosaur topics in a series of spectacularly illustrated double-page spreads. Among the topics covered are the dinosaurs of various geologic periods, dinosaur evolution, meat-eaters and plant-eaters, feathered dinosaurs, eggs and young, fossils, and dinosaur classification. Included is a discovery timeline and a glossary. For ages 8 and up.
 imgres-38 Stephen Jay Gould’s natural history collections are a great science resource for teenagers and adults. None are all about dinosaurs, but most include a number of interesting dinosaur essays. Check out The Panda’s Thumb (W.W. Norton & Company, 1992) for “Were the Dinosaurs Dumb?” and “The Telltale Wishbone.” See Books by Stephen Jay Gould.
 imgres-35 Walking with Dinosaurs is a six-part series from the BBC: episode titles are New Blood, Time of the Titans, Cruel Sea, Giant of the Skies, Spirits of the Ice Forest, and Death of a Dynasty. Available on DVD or as an Amazon Instant Video.
 images-7 Dinosaurs is a seven-part lesson plan for early-elementary students, with activities and discussion questions. Among the topics: Extinction, Fossils, Types of Dinosaurs, and Meat and Plant Eaters.
 images-7 From the Arizona Museum of Natural History, the downloadable 70+-page illustrated Educator Resource Guide – Dinosaurs has background information, fact lists, photos of fossils, a dinosaur question-and-answer list, information about individual dinosaurs, dinosaur poems, and printable activity sheets.
 images-7 Paleontology: The Big Dig has information, games, experiments and projects on fossils and dinosaurs from the American Museum of Natural History.

 PALEONTOLOGISTS AND DINOSAUR HUNTERS

 images-8 Fay Robinson’s A Dinosaur Named Sue (Cartwheel, 1999) is the story of Sue Hendrickson’s discovery of “Sue,” the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found, now on display at Chicago’s Field Museum. For ages 4-8.
Check out Sue the T. rex at the Field Museum website.
 images-9 Tracy Fem’s Barnum’s Bones (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2012) is the story of paleontologist Barnum Brown – named for the showman P.T. Barnum – who discovered the first documented Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton. For ages 5-9.
From the American Museum of Natural History, see Barnum Brown: The Man Who Discovered Tyrannosaurus rex on You Tube.
 images-10 Barbara Kerley’s The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins (Scholastic, 2001) – with wonderful illustrations by Brian Selznick – is the story of Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, the Victorian artist who built the life-size dinosaur models that ornamented the grounds of London’s famous Crystal Palace. (He threw a dinner party for scientists inside his Iguanodon.) For ages 6 and up.
 images-11 Shirley Raye Redmond’s That Dog That Dug for Dinosaurs (Simon Spotlight, 2012) – a Ready to Read book – is the (true) story of Mary Anning’s dog Tray and their fossil-hunting expeditions in England in the early 19th century. For ages 6-8.
 images-12 Jessie Hartland’s How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum (Blue Apple Books, 2011) is the 145-million-year-long story of how a Diplodocus fossil was formed, its bones discovered, uncovered, and transported to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.  Clever cartoon illustrations and a creative design make this book a gem. For ages 6-9.
 images-13 Kate McMullen’s Dinosaur Hunters (Random House, 2005) – a Step Into Reading book – is an information-packed history of paleontology from Mary Ann and Gideon Mantell’s 19th-century discovery of Iguanodon through “Dinosaur Jim” Jensen, discoverer of Supersaurus and Ultrasaurus. For ages 7-9.
 images-14 By Peter Larson and Kristin Donnan, Bones Rock! (Invisible Cities Press, 2004)  – subtitled “Everything You Need to Know to Be a Paleontologist” – has background information and how-tos for young dinosaur- and fossil-lovers. Find out how to dig, clean, and evaluate fossils, and to propose and test scientific hypotheses. Illustrated with color photos and diagrams. For ages 9-12.
 images-15 Ann Bausman’s Dragon Bones and Dinosaur Eggs (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2000) is a 64-page photobiography of dinosaur hunter Roy Chapman Andrews – the flamboyant real-life model for Indiana Jones. He’s best-known for his dinosaur finds in China’s Gobi Desert. For ages 10 and up.
  images-16 Nic Bishop’s Digging for Bird-Dinosaurs (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002) – one of the Scientists in the Field series – is a photo-essay on Cathy Forster’s 1998 expedition to Madagascar and her work on the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds. For ages 10 and up.
 images-17 By Jim Ottaviani and colleagues, Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards (G.T. Labs, 2005) is a well-done historical graphic novel about the “Bone Wars” of the Gilded Age, during which rivals Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh competed for the West’s troves of dinosaur bones. For ages 10 and up.
 images-18 Nature writer David Rains Wallace’s The Bonehunters’ Revenge (Mariner Books, 2000) is a detailed account of the fatal Bone Wars for teenagers and adults.
 images-19 From the PBS American Experience series, Dinosaur Wars is a video account of the Othniel Marsh/Edward Cope conflict that (on the positive side) set off a permanent American passion for dinosaurs. The website has background information and a teacher’s guide. Dinosaur Wars is available on DVD or can be watched online at the website.
 images-20 In Bone Wars (“The Game of Ruthless Paleontology”) from Zygote Games, players take on the role of paleontologists and compete to collect dinosaur bones, fending off natural disasters and unscrupulous rivals along the way. For 2-4 players ages 10 and up.
The DinoHunters is an online history of dinosaur hunting with capsule biographies of famous dinosaur hunters, among them Gideon Mantell, Mary Anning, Barnum Brown, and Sue Hendrickson.
 images-21 From Enchanted Learning, The Top Paleontologists and Dinosaur Hunters of All Time is a long hyperlinked alphabetized list beginning with Luis Alvarez.
 a3385521101_2 The Dinosaur Hunters is a kid’s musical about the 19th-century dinosaur “bone wars” between paleontologists Othniel Marsh and Edward Cope (“two men with very strange beards”). A fun free download.
 images-21 Dinosaur Detectives is a lesson plan from Discovery Education for grades 6-8. Kids research famous paleontologists and their theories about dinosaurs.

GOING EXTINCT

 images-22 In Julie Middleton’s Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? (Peachtree Press, 2013), Dave and his dad are visiting the natural history museum where – whenever Dad’s back is turned – the dinosaurs come alive. With clever and funny illustrations by Russell Ayto. For ages 4-8.
 images-23 James Lawrence Powell’s Night Comes to the Cretaceous (W.H. Freeman, 1998) is an account of Luis and Walter Alvarez’s theory that a meteoroid or comet impact brought on the death of the dinosaurs. For teenagers and adults.
 images-24 Jack Horner and James Gorman’s How to Build a Dinosaur (Dutton, 2009) – subtitled “Extinction Doesn’t Have to Be Forever” – suggests that it might be possible to build a dinosaur by reverse engineering starting with chicken DNA. For teenagers and adults.
Read a shorter account of Horner’s build-a-dinosaur project in Wired magazine at How to Hatch a Dinosaur.
 images-25 Dinosaurs Extinct? is a board game in which players compete to move their dinosaurs from the prehistoric era to the present while avoiding extinction by such “earth events” as volcanoes, Ice Ages, and meteorites. For 2-4 players ages 5-10.

DINOSAUR MATH

 images-26 Paul Stickland’s Ten Terrible Dinosaurs (Puffin, 2000) is a dinosaur countdown book as ten – then nine, then eight – rambunctious dinosaurs push, shove, dance, stomp, and throw tomatoes until finally just one (napping) dinosaur is left. For ages 3-5.
 images-27 Bernard Most’s How Big Were the Dinosaurs? (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1995) puts dinosaur size in perspective, using a lot of kid-friendly analogies: A T. rex’s tooth was as long as your toothbrush; a Triceratops head was too big to fit through your front door; a Diplodocus was as long as a basketball court. Included is a cool fold-out. For ages 4-8.
 images-28 How Big Was That Dinosaur? is a math activity printout and chart from Enchanted Learning, in which dinosaur sizes are computed in terms of cars, school buses, and human adults.
 images-29 In Stuart J. Murphy’s Dinosaur Deals (HarperCollins, 2001) – a MathStart book – Mike and Andy go to a Dinosaur Card Trading Fair. The book deals with the concept of equivalency as the kids trade cards worth varying point values; also included is a scattering of dinosaur facts. For ages 6-9.
 images-30 From Eduplace, Dinosaur Trading Cards is a project for making your own fact-filled dinosaur trading cards. Included is a printable card template.
From Making Learning Fun, Math Ideas for a Dinosaur Theme has printable pattern cards, missing number cards, counting cards, a roll-and-color addition game, and more, all with dinosaurs.
 images-31 Dino Dig is an interactive online game in which players explore a grid trying to find buried dinosaur bones.
Problem of the Month: Digging Dinosaurs is math challenge with a dinosaur theme, presented at five different levels (variously appropriate for kindergarteners through high-school students).
Can You Dig It? is an interactive online addition game in which players solve addition problems to uncover buried bones (with a paleontological brush).

ACTIVITIES AND PROJECTS

 images-33 By Mari Ono and Hiroaki Takai, Dinogami (CICO Books, 2012) has step-by-step instructions for folding 25 different dinosaurs, plus 50 sheets of patterned origami paper. Illustrated with photographs.
 images-34 Bake a T. rex! With these 3-D Dinosaur Cookie Cutters, you can make a collection of slotted cookies that make a stand-up (and yummily edible) dinosaur.
 images-35 Build a 3-D wooden dinosaur skeleton. Several kits are available from Woodcraft, among them a Velociraptor, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus rex, and Stegosaurus. About $5.
Science Store for the Stars has a large collection of dinosaur puzzles, kits, and models. Excavate a skull or a skeleton. Or check out Nothing But Dinosaurs, a store devoted to nothing but. Included are a lot of dino toys and an assortment of “Dino Dig” science kits.
 spino-fire-photo Download a Dinosaur has great free paper models. Print, paint, and assemble.
 dinosaur-sock-puppet-1 From All Kids Network, Dinosaur Crafts has a great assortment, among them a tissue-paper dinosaur window ornament, a sock puppet, a dinosaur color matching game, and a salt-dough fossil.
 styracosaurus-mask Dinosaur Crafts from Activity Village include a paper-plate Diplodocus and Styracosaurus, and a pair of tie-on dinosaur feet. (Put them on and stomp in them!)
 026 DIY Dino Dig Kits has photo-illustrated instructions for making your own excavation kits, plus links to a number of alternatives including a dinosaur excavation cake.
 images-36 This one is a craft and a half. Chris McGowan’s How to Make a Dinosaur out of Chicken Bones (HarperPerennial, 1997) has instructions for making an (“incredibly realistic) Apatosaurus skeleton from chicken bones. (You’ll need three chickens, boiled; the book includes recipes for the leftovers.) A fun and challenging project. This clever book is out of print, but inexpensive used copies are readily available. (And check the library.) For ages 9 and up.

SONGS AND POEMS

 images-37 Most Amazing Dinosaur Songs from Music for Little People is a collection of 22 dinosaur ditties. Available as audio CD or MP3. Or just listen to them online.
 images-38 John Foster’s Dinosaur Poems (Oxford University Press, 2004) is an illustrated collection by a range of different poets. For ages 4 and up.
 images-39 Jack Prelutsky’s Tyrannosaurus Was a Beast (Greenwillow Books, 1992) is a collection of humorous poems illustrated by Arnold Lobel. The title poem: “Tyrannosaurus was a beast/that had no friends, to say the least./It ruled the ancient out-of-doors,/and slaughtered other dinosaurs.” For ages 4-8.

Also see DRAGONS.

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Shakespeare

 

If you’re a lover of language, there’s nothing that holds a candle to Shakespearean prose. (This is, after all, the man who gave us leapfrog, dead as a doornail, What’s done is done, To be or not to be, and A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!, to say nothing of the immortal Let’s kill all the lawyers.)

See below for all (well, a lot) on the Bard, including Shakespeare in fiction, Shakespeare’s poems and plays, helps for performing Shakespeare, and info on Shakespearean sports, games, gardens, and feasts. See “Seriously Quirky Shakespeare” for Shakespeare and Star Wars, Shakespearean baseball, and the impressive Shakespeare Rubber Duck.

FUN FICTION

 imgres Pauline Francis’s Sam Stars at Shakespeare’s Globe (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2009) is the picture-book story of young Sam who wants to act in the company of William Shakespeare, the greatest writer in England. Eventually he convinces Shakespeare to take him on, and works his way from part to part until he (with a bit of luck) wins the coveted role of Juliet. (The book explains that boys played the parts of girls and women on the Elizabethan stage.) For ages 4-8.
 imgres-1 Don Freeman’s Will’s Quill (Viking Juvenile, 2004) is the delightful picture-book tale of Willoughby Waddle, an adventurous goose, who sets off for London, where he is befriended by young Will Shakespeare. There’s a disastrous episode in which Will (goose) attempts to save Will (playwright/actor) from a stage duel, but all ends happily, when the goose – with a gift of feathers – is able to help his new friend. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-2 In Mary Pope Osborne’s Stage Fright on a Summer Night (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2002) – one of the Magic Treehouse Series – Jack and Annie are whizzed back to Elizabethan England, where they meet William Shakespeare, save a bear, and appear in a performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” For ages 5-9.
 imgres-3 In Elise Broach’s Shakespeare’s Secret (Square Fish, 2007), Hero is named for a character in Much Ado About Nothing – but her new classmates think the name “Hero” sounds more like a dog. Lonely and left out, Hero makes friends with Mrs. Roth, an eccentric neighbor, who tells her the story of the missing “Murphy Diamond,” said once to have belonged to Anne Boleyn. With the help of an eighth-grader named Danny, Hero sets out to solve the mystery of the diamond – discovering a lot along the way about Elizabethan life, William Shakespeare, and the controversy over who really wrote Shakespeare’s plays. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-4 In Deron R. Hicks’s Secrets of Shakespeare’s Grave (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013). 12-year-old Colophon Letterford is off to save the family publishing business by tracking down a mysterious Elizabethan treasure. (Each chapter begins with a quote from Shakespeare.) For ages 9-12.
 imgres-5 John Bennett’s Master Skylark (Forgotten Books, 2012) was originally published in 1897. The main character, young Nick Attwood, a boy with a voice like a skylark, runs away to see a play and ends up forced to perform with the Lord Admiral’s Men, a group of traveling players, under the thumb of Gaston Carew. He ends up in London, meets Will Shakespeare, sings before the queen, and eventually all ends happily. (The last chapter is titled “All’s Well That Ends Well.”) It’s a delightful, old-fashioned read for ages 9-12.
The entire text of Master Skylark is online at Project Gutenberg.
 imgres-6 In Bailey MacDonald’s Wicked Will (Aladdin, 2009), a troupe of strolling players arrives in Stratford, among them 13-year-old Viola (a.k.a. Tom), who travels disguised as a boy. When Viola’s uncle is accused of murder, she joins forces with theatre-obsessed 12-year-old William Shakespeare, and together they devise a plot to discover the true culprit, involving an imaginative script written by Will, and Viola disguised as a ghastly ghost. For ages 9-13.
 imgres-7 In Susan Cooper’s King of Shadows (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2001), orphaned Nat Field, in London to play Puck in a new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, travels back in time to Elizabethan England where he meets Shakespeare. For ages 10 and up.
 imgres-8 Gary Blackwood’s The Shakespeare Stealer (Puffin, 2000) is the story of Widge, an orphan, whose unscrupulous master sends him to the Globe Theater to steal Shakespeare’s latest play (Hamlet). Despite this, Widge eventually finds new friends and ends up a member of the Globe company. Sequels include Shakespeare’s Scribe and Shakespeare’s Spy. For ages 10 and up.
 imgres-9 Tom Stoppard’s acclaimed play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Grove Press, 1994) is a brilliant version of Hamlet, told from the unexpected points of view of minor characters Rosencrantz and Guildenstern – old school friends of Hamlet, summoned by the King, his uncle, to cheer the depressed prince up. When this fails, they’re ordered to kill him, but Hamlet manages to turn the tables on them. A good pick for high-school-level literature classes, and a great discussion promoter.
The film version of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1990), directed by Tom Stoppard, stars Gary Oldman and Tim Roth as the title characters. Rated PG.
 imgres-10 Connie Willis’s short story “Ado,” which appears in her creative sci-fi collection Impossible Things (Spectra, 1993), is set in a super-politically-correct future where the plays of Shakespeare are banned due to multiple protests (the International Federation of Florists objects to Hamlet because Ophelia fell into the water and drowned while picking flowers; the National Cutlery Council objects to the depiction of swords as deadly weapons). In the same collection, see “Winter’s Tale,” Willis’s take on who really wrote Shakespeare. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-11 Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters (Harper, 2013), a fantastic and hilarious concoction of Shakespeare and fairy tale, features the three witches – Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat Garlick – along with a host of other characters, among them the wicked Duke Felmet (who has murdered King Verence), Hwel, a dwarf playwright, and young Tomjon who – though he doesn’t know it – is the rightful heir to the throne. One of the wonderful Discworld series. For ages 12 and up.
 imgres-12 For mystery-minded readers, see James Thurber’s hilarious short story “The Macbeth Murder Mystery” in The Thurber Carnival (Harper & Brothers, 1945) – the Macbeths, it turns out, were (!) totally innocent. Read it online here.
 imgres-13 In Josephine Tey’s Daughter of Time (Scribner, 1995), detective Alan Grant – confined to a hospital bed with a broken leg – tackles the mystery of Richard III. (Did Richard really murder the little princes in the Tower? Is Shakespeare’s Richard historically correct?). For ages 12 and up.
 imgres-14 Alan Bradley’s I Am Half-Sick of Shadows (Bantam, 2012) – one of the terrific Flavia de Luce mystery series – is set in the 1950s in a crumbling mansion in England, and features precocious eleven-year-old chemist Flavia de Luce and her eccentric family. Here, Flavia’s father, the financially strapped Colonel de Luce, had agreed to rent out the family home to a film company just before Christmas. Featured, along with Flavia’s chemistry-based plans to prove the existence of Father Christmas, is a fatal re-enactment of the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. For ages 13 and up.
 imgres-15 In mystery writer Ngaio Marsh’s Death at the Dolphin (HarperCollins, 1999), the plot revolves around a restored theater, a Shakespeare performance, and a rare antique glove, once owned by Shakespeare’s son Hamnet. Also by Marsh, see Light Thickens (Jove, 1992), which features a performance of Macbeth and a legendary Scottish sword. For teenagers and adults.
For many more mystery resources, see Sherlock and Company: A Multitude of Mysteries. (Reading mysteries makes you smarter.)

THE WORKS

 images Shakespeare for babies? By author Jennifer Adams and artist Alison Oliver, Romeo and Juliet: A BabyLit Counting Primer (Gibbs Smith, 2011) is a stylishly illustrated counting book with Shakespearean motifs (beginning with ONE BALCONY). Cute, but don’t expect a whole lot of Shakespeare. For ages 1-3.
 imgres-17 Titles in Lois Burdett’s Shakespeare Can Be Fun picture-book series (Firefly Books) include Hamlet for Kids, Macbeth for Kids, The Tempest for Kids, and many more. In each, an abbreviated plot of the play, delivered in rhyming couplets, is paired with great illustrations by Burdett’s early-elementary students.  For ages 5-8.
 imgres-18 Marcia Williams’s Tales from Shakespeare (Candlewick Press, 2004) presents the plots of seven Shakespearean plays in a clever comic-book-style format, with the story line in boxes beneath the pictures and supporting dialogue in cartoon bubbles. The illustrations, which are wonderful, include lots of detailed and colorful little people; and the borders of the pages depict an Elizabethan theater audience, from the rowdy pit to the elegant boxes. Plays include Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and a truly gorgeous Midsummer Night’s Dream. For ages 7 and up.
 imgres-19 A sequel, More Tales from Shakespeare (Candlewick, 2005) includes seven more plays in the same format, among them Twelfth Night, King Lear, As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, The Merchant of Venice, Richard III, and Antony and Cleopatra.
 imgres-20 E. Nesbit’s The Children’s Shakespeare (Academy Chicago Publishers, 2000), originally published in 1938, contains simple prose re-tellings of eleven of the plays, all of which read like enthralling fairy tales. Nesbit’s Romeo and Juliet, for example, begins “Once upon a time there lived in Verona two great families named Montagu and Capulet. They were both rich, and I suppose they were as sensible, in most things, as other rich people. But in one thing they were extremely silly.” For ages 7-11.
 imgres-21 Tina Packer’s Tales from Shakespeare (Scholastic, 2004) is a beautifully designed 192-page collection of prose retellings of ten of Shakespeare’s best-known plays, each with an illustration by a popular children’s book artist. For ages 8-12.
  images-3 Charles and Mary Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare (Wordsworth Editions, 1999) are prose versions of the plays for beginners. Originally published in 1807, these still charm today. This edition has great pen-and-ink illustrations by Arthur Rackham. For ages 10 and up.
 imgres-23 Where did Shakespeare get his ideas? Patrick Ryan’s Shakespeare’s Storybook (Barefoot Books, 2006) is an illustrated collection of the traditional stories that led to seven of Shakespeare’s plays.  For example, “The Devil’s Bet” underlies The Taming of the Shrew and “Cap-o-Rushes” may have inspired King Lear. Each story is preceded by a discussion of its influence on the play. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-25 Alan Durband’s Shakespeare Made Easy Series (Barron’s Educational Series) is targeted at Shakespeare-phobic high-school students: each play is presented with the original text on one side of the page and, on the facing page, a “translation” into modern English. (I’d urge teenagers to at least try the original before settling for the translation – “Hey! You got a knife?” just doesn’t have the same ring.) Also available as an app from iTunes.
 imgres-26 The Manga Shakespeare series (Amulet Books) – one of the latest in Shakespeare interpretations – pairs manga-style illustrations and a comic-book format with right-from-the-text Shakespearean dialogue. (Check out Macbeth, shirtless, with sword and purple pants, and Romeo and Juliet, with motorcycle.) For ages 12 and up.
 imgres-27 Norrie Epstein’s The Friendly Shakespeare (Penguin Books, 1994) presents – in 550 nicely designed pages and a very friendly manner – all kinds of fascinating information about Shakespeare’s life, times, and plays. Included is almost everything you could possibly want to know about Shakespeare: who he really was and what he might have looked like, the histories of each of the plays from conception to the present day, the workings of the Elizabethan stage, modern Shakespearean spin-offs, timelines and chronologies, famous quotations, irresistible trivia. A great resource for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-28 Marjorie Garber’s (enormous; it’s over 1000 pages long) Shakespeare After All (Anchor, 2005) – based on her college lecture series – is a scholarly analysis of all of Shakespeare’s works, one chapter per play. For serious and devoted Shakespeare students.
 imgres-29 Harold Bloom’s massive and erudite Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human (Riverhead Trade Books, 1999) provides in-depth analyses of each of the plays and discusses Shakespeare’s role in the evolution of the English language and the development of Western thought. For older teenagers and adults.
 imgres-30 James Shapiro’s Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? (Simon & Schuster, 2010) covers arguments for and against the many claimants for authorship of Shakespeare’s plays, and discusses how the plays themselves may reveal the truth about their author. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-31 John Julius Norwich’s Shakespeare’s Kings (Scribner, 2001), subtitled “The Great Plays and the History of England in the Middle Ages,” is an intriguing comparison of Shakespeare’s plots to documented history. A thoroughly interesting read for teenagers and adults.
 IMG_0082-300x225 Kids Love Shakespeare has adaptations of several plays (Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Romeo and Juliet) for elementary-level students (for sale and unfortunately expensive; a pdf download costs $45). More affordable is a CD of Shakespearean songs (“Soul Cake & Other Songs,” $10). See the Activities and Resources page for a great selection of projects, among them making character portraits, putting on a Shakespearean puppet show, and making an illustrated Shakespearean timeline.
 images-1 Absolute Shakespeare has the texts of all the plays and sonnets on line, a selection of famous Shakespearean quotes, a list of Shakespearean film adaptations, a Shakespeare timeline, and a “grueling” Shakespeare quiz.
 images-1 Having trouble with all those varlets and forsooths? No Fear Shakespeare pairs the original Shakespearean text with a modern English translation, in side-by-side pages.  The site has 19 of the plays, plus the sonnets. Unfortunately it also has a lot of annoying advertising.
 images-1 From The Philosophers’ Magazine, Britney Spears vs. Shakespeare is an exploration of the definition of art. Visitors can take a quiz and then learn what the philosophers have to say.
 images-1 From the Learning Network, Teaching Shakespeare with the New York Times has a list of creative lesson plans, among them “To Freeze or Not to Freeze,” in which kids create “frozen tableaux” of scenes from the plays; and “The Bard in the Big Apple,” in which kids experiment with setting Shakespeare’s plays in modern times.

ALL ABOUT THE BARD

 imgres-32 Lois Burdett’s A Child’s Portrait of Shakespeare (Firefly Books, 1995) is a picture-book biography related in rhyming couplets, and illustrated by early-elementary students. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-33 From Kids Discover, which publishes gorgeously illustrated short non-fiction magazines for kids, see the Shakespeare issue for a catchy overview of Shakespeare’s life, work, and times (and a great cutaway illustration of the Globe Theatre). For ages 6-12.
 imgres-34 By Diane Stanley and Peter Vennema, Bard of Avon (Morrow Junior Books, 1998) is a beautifully done and well-balanced biography, with great full-page illustrations and an interesting “Postscript” in the back on Shakespearean language and spelling. For ages 7-11.
 imgres-35 Aliki’s William Shakespeare and the Globe (Harpercollins, 1999) presents Shakespeare’s life as a picture-book play in five Acts, with charming illustrations and lots of additional information in little sidebars and boxes. For ages 7-11.
 images-4 Celeste Mannis’s Who Was William Shakespeare? (Grosset & Dunlap, 2006) is an attractive short chapter book on the life and times of Shakespeare, with a lot of interesting asides – a list of words coined by Shakespeare (puppy dog, rascally, zany), a capsule biography of Queen Elizabeth I, an explanation of blank verse. A good pick for ages 8 and up.
 imgres-36 Shakespeare for Kids by Colleen Aagesen and Margie Blumberg (Chicago Review Press, 1999) is an informational activity book on the life and times of Shakespeare. Included, along with biographical and historical background information, are suggestions for staging a scene from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and directions for making an Elizabethan costume and a sword, a pomander ball, a quill pen (to be used for composing a sonnet), and a recipe for a yummy dish of Elizabethan Apple Moye. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-37 Bill Bryson’s Shakespeare: The World as Stage (HarperPerennial, 2008) is a wonderful and witty 200-page biography of Shakespeare (“at once the best known and the least known of figures”). For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-38 Stephen Marche’s How Shakespeare Changed Everything (HarperPerennial, 2012) is an interesting and informational account of how Shakespeare impinges on all aspects of culture. For example, his influence led to the rise of black actors on Broadway, the introduction of starlings to America, and the murder of Abraham Lincoln, and helped form our attitudes toward sex and young love. A final chapter dwells on who Shakespeare was (or wasn’t). A fun read for interested teenagers and adults.
 imgres-39 James Shapiro’s highly readable A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 (HarperPerennial, 2006) covers a landmark year both in Shakespeare’s life and in British history. Shakespeare wrote four of his most famous plays and saw the building of the Globe Theater; England dealt with the threat of a second Armada, a disastrous campaign in Ireland led by the Earl of Essex, and worries about succession to the throne. Thoroughly interesting, for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-40 Peter Ackroyd’s Shakespeare: The Biography (Anchor Books, 2006), an in-depth coverage of Shakespeare’s life and times, is crammed with interesting information. Highly recommended for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-41 Stephen Greenblatt’s award-winning Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare (W.W. Norton, 2005) interweaves Shakespearean biography with the world of the Elizabethans. A great read for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-42 Laura Bates’s Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard (Sourcebooks, 2013) is the story of the author’s experience teaching Shakespeare to prison inmates – notably to Larry Newton, who spent ten years in solitary confinement after a murder conviction as a teenager, and for whom Shakespeare was a life-changing revelation. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-43 John J. Ross’s Shakespeare’s Tremor and Orwell’s Cough (St. Martin’s Press, 2012) is subtitled “The Medical Lives of Famous Writers” – various chapters cover the ailments of William Shakespeare, John Milton, the Bronte family, Jack London, Herman Melville, and more. For older teenagers and adults.
 imgres-44 From PBS, the four-part series In Search of Shakespeare is a delightful mock investigation into the life and times of the Bard, conducted in part by the fictional John Fribbling, agent of the state, out to apprehend William Shakespeare, suspected Papist and free thinker. The text of “The Fribbling Reports” is on the website. (It begins: “I have a lump the size of an Alderman’s backside on my head, and I strongly suspect that young Shakespeare is to blame.”) Also at the site: a teacher’s guide with lesson plans and the Playwright Game (could you succeed as an Elizabethan playwright?).
 images-5 The BBC’s Famous People: William Shakespeare site, targeted at elementary-level kids, has basic information on Shakespeare’s life and work, fun facts about Shakespeare, and an interactive “To Be or Not to Be” gameshow-style Shakespearean game.
 shakespeare_challeng From the Folger Shakespeare Library, Shakespeare for Kids has Shakespearean games, puzzles, and challenges, fun facts, info on the life and times of Queen Elizabeth I, activities for kids based on items in the library collection, an exhibit of favorite Folger treasures, a page for sharing writing and artwork, and much more. There’s also an extensive list of resources for teachers.
 imgres-45 From creative teacher Mr. Donn, William Shakespeare has PowerPoint presentations and lesson plans, background information, summaries, paraphrases, full texts of several plays, and games and activities centered around Elizabethan England.
 images-1 The Shakespeare Resource Center is a great comprehensive site, variously covering Shakespeare’s biography and will, his works, language, the authorship debate, the Globe Theatre, and more. Each topic has a list of related websites. Also included is an extensive reading list.
 images-1 How did Shakespeare spell his name? And what did he look like? Shakespeare Online deals with these questions and much more: included on the website, for example, are a complete list of Shakespearean characters, a guide to Shakespearean theatres, study questions and quizzes on the plays, and info on Elizabethan outfits and Ophelia’s flowers.
 images-1 ShakespeareMag.com is a great source for educational and learning resources about William Shakespeare, with a wealth of helpful info on Shakespeare’s life and works, teaching suggestions, a list of “Most Popular Shakespeare DVDs” (among them West Side Story and Forbidden Planet), and more.
 images-1 Eye Shakespeare – a free download from iTunes – is intended to enhance the experience of tourists visiting Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon.  Lots of cool features, including lectures from Shakespeare himself and a 3-D reconstruction of the Elizabethan-era town.

 THE GLOBE THEATRE

 imgres-46 Shakespeare’s Globe: An Interactive Pop-Up Theatre by Toby Forward and Jan Wijngaard (Candlewick Press, 2005) is a detailed and accurate ten-inch fold-out model of the Globe Theatre, along with twelve moveable characters from the plays, a pair of abbreviated scripts, and background information on the Elizabethan theatre world. Enact your own small-sized Shakespearean plays. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-47 Shakespeare’s Globe is the website of the modern rebuilt Globe Theatre. The site, along with wonderful scenes of the theatre and performances, has an extensive and excellent education section and a playground for kids with games, activities, and quizzes, hosted by a collection of Shakespeare’s Beasts.
  Shakespeare’s Globe Theater has a downloadable 3-D model of the Globe, with accompanying Quicktime movies and images.
 imgres-48 From the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Globe Theatre Model Kit is a cardstock model of the theatre with 99 parts. (Finished size: about 10 inches wide and 4 inches high.) Not for the very young. About $16.
 imgres-49 At 8 Insane Literary Lego Projects, check out the incredible Lego version of Shakespeare’s Globe.

 DAILY LIVING WITH SHAKSPEARE, or Food, Football, Flowers, and Insults

 imgres-51 Games and Sports in Shakespeare lists every game and sport mentioned by Shakespeare, with references and explanations. They’re in alphabetical order, from Archery to Wrestling.
 images-6 Jessica Kerr’s Shakespeare’s Flowers (Johnson Books, 1997) covers the lore of all the flowers mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays and poems. Illustrated with lovely full-color paintings.
  Plant a Shakespeare garden of your own. From the New York Botanical Garden, see Designing a Shakespeare Garden for suggestions and plant lists.
  Want to talk like Shakespeare? See Proper Elizabethan Accents for pronunciation drills, vocabulary and grammar practice, insults and cursing (use your judgment),  forms of address, and songs. Learn how to say “Good morrow” properly and what to yell at a pickpocket.
imgres-50 Take your diction out for a spin on Talk Like Shakespeare Day, celebrated annually on April 23, Shakespeare’s birthday.
 images-7 By Wayne F. Hill and Cynthia J. Ottchen, Shakespeare’s Insults (Three Rivers Press, 1995) is a collection of 5000, excerpted from the plays. Everything you ever wanted to know about Elizabethan invective. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-52 Shakespeare Insults Playing Cards have an insult for each illustrated card.
 imgres-53 Francine Segan’s Shakespeare’s Kitchen (Random House, 2003) is a terrific collection of “Renaissance Recipes for the Contemporary Cook,” running from “Kickshaws” and “Pottage” to “Feasting and Bills of Fare.” The original 17th-century recipes are paired with modern interpretations, background information, and color photographs. A great source for your next Shakespearean banquet.
 imgres-54 From TeachersFirst, find out how to throw a Shakespearean Feast.  The site includes a discussion of Elizabethan table manners (no forks) and a range of Elizabethan recipes, from trifle to steak and kidney pie.

 PERFORMING SHAKESPEARE

 imgres-55 By Brendan P. Kelso, the Playing with Plays Series (BookSurge Publishing) consists of short (10-minute) adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays for young performers. Titles include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, and The Taming of the Shrew. Each book contains three versions of the play (for small-, medium-, and large-sized casts) with rehearsal and performance suggestions. For ages 7 and up. Also see the Playing with Plays: Shakespeare for Kids website.
 imgres-56 Edited by Jennifer Kroll, Simply Shakespeare: Readers Theatre for Young People (Libraries Unlimited, 2003) has simplified and modernized versions of 13 Shakespearean plays, with accompanying suggestions for presentations and props. For ages 10 and up.
 imgres-57 Truncated or modernized versions of Shakespeare can be helpful for those planning Shakespearean performances, particularly if your cast is on the younger side. The Discovering Shakespeare Series by Fredi Olster and Rick Hamilton (Smith and Kraus) are worktexts for middle- and high-school-level kids interested in Shakespearean acting. The books include both abridged and vernacular versions of the originals, plus stage directions, performance tips, and related exercises. Available for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew, and Romeo and Juliet.
 imgres-58 Playwright Ken Ludwig’s How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare (Crown, 2013) as an engrossing account of how the author taught his kids Shakespeare, beginning when they were six years old. (And why teach Shakespeare? Because, says Ludwig, he’s one of the two great bedrocks of Western civilization in English, along with the King James Bible.) A great resource for parents and teachers.
 imgres-59 Rafe Esquith’s Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire (Penguin Books, 2007) is the story of a brilliant, dedicated, and creative teacher attempting to promote a progressive and successful curriculum for his fifth-graders despite the restrictions of the school system. It’s a fascinating and inspirational book, crammed with wonderful ideas. Check out Esquith’s account of his Hobart Shakespeareans, famous for performing full-text Shakespeare plays. For parents, homeschoolers, teachers, and all interested in education.
 imgres-60 See the PBS documentary on Esquith’s Shakespeare program, The Hobart Shakespeareans (2005).
imgres-1 Robert Sugarman’s Performing Shakespeare: A Way to Learn (Mountainside Press, 2011) describes four very different (and very successful) programs for doing Shakespeare with kids. A great resource for would-be Shakespeareans.
 imgres-61 Edited by Susannah Carson, Living with Shakespeare (Vintage, 2013) is a collection of essays by writers, actors, and directors, sharing their personal experiences of the Bard. Among the contributors are Isabel Allende, Ralph Fiennes, James Earl Jones, Joyce Carol Oates, and Julie Taymor. For teenagers and adults.
At ShakespeareKids, visitors can participate in an interactive online Shakespeare production by playing one of six roles in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The Teachers’ page has educator resources and printable texts for classroom use (for grades K-3 or 4-8).
 imgres-62 Shakespeare’s Hamlet, from the Unemployed Philosophers Guild, is a set of four finger puppets (Hamlet, King, Queen, and Ophelia) in a cardboard box shaped like a stage. (Other Shakespearean finger puppets are available separately, among them Julius Caesar and Shakespeare himself.) Put on a play!

PLAYING WITH THE BARD

 imgres-63 John Ahlbach’s That Is the Question: A Game of Shakespeare Knowledge is a board game of “all things Shakespeare.” Included are 500 multiple-choice question cards. For example, “Who says he is “to the manor born”? (Orlando, Macbeth, or Hamlet?) For 2-4 players ages 12 and up.
 imgres-64 From Prospero Art, Shakespeare Quotes Playing Cards have a famous quote on each illustrated card.
 imgres-65 From Big Fish Games, in The Chronicles of Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, players take on the roles of Romeo or Juliet as Shakespeare is in the process of writing his famous play. Lots of puzzles and obstacles to be overcome (check out the Blog Walkthrough). Available for Mac or Windows.
Playing Shakespeare is an online interactive game for kids in which players eliminate clue cards to identify Shakespearean mystery characters.
 imgres-66 Enter the Story is an online project and teaching tool in which books are converted into interactive games. There are eight Shakespearean plays available as free online games: Julius Caesar, The Tempest, Othello, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Winter’s Tale, Hamlet, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet (with more in the works). Fun, witty, and informative.
 imgres-67 Shakespeare: The Bard Game is a board game in which players travel through Elizabeth London collecting collect actors, props, and patrons for performances of Shakespeare’s plays by answering trivia questions. For 2-5 players ages 12 and up. About $30.
 imgres-68 In The Play’s the Thing, players – as Shakespearean actors – move their pieces around a colorful board based on the Globe Theatre, attempting to collect all the cards necessary for staging a scene from Julius Caesar, Hamlet, or Romeo and Juliet. There are several levels of play for players with varying levels of Shakespearean expertise, including options for memorizing quotations and performing scenes. For 2-6 players ages 12 and up.
 imgres-69 Tom Tierney’s Great Characters from Shakespeare Paper Dolls (Dover Publications, 2000) has two dolls and 30 costumes, variously for Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Ophelia, Othello and Desdemona, and more. Included are short synopses of the plays. $6.95 from Dover Publications.
 imgres-70 The Shakespeare Coloring Book (Bellerophon Books) has quotes from the plays and black-line illustrations to color. For ages 9 and up.

SERIOUSLY QUIRKY SHAKESPEARE

 imgres-71 Ian Doescher’s William Shakespeare’s Star Wars (Quirk Books, 2013) translates George Lucas’s epic into the language of the Bard, complete with chorus and dialogue in iambic pentameter. (“The Death Star plans we could not find herein/Nor are they on the main computer, Lord.”) Hilarious for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-72 The Shakespearean Baseball Game (Wayne and Shuster) has background information and a printable short and hilarious script for a play about a baseball game (set on Bosworth Field). (“Umpire 1: I give you greeting, Antonio./Thou hast the starting lineups?”)
Lots more on baseball! For baseball books and resources, see Take Me Out to the Ball Game: Baseball for All.
 imgres-73 Green Eggs and Hamlet is a hysterical short video version of Hamlet in which the “annoying iambic pentameter” of the original has been replaced with “a more accessible Dr.-Seuss-style rhyme.” Available on DVD.
 imgres-74 “Thy wit’s as thick as Tewksbury mustard!” Paste Shakespearean Insult Bandages on your skinned knees.
 imgres-75 For the Bard-lover who has everything, the Shakespeare Rubber Duck is the perfect literary bathtub toy, complete with mustache, manuscript, Elizabethan ruffles, and orange bill. $11.99.

POETIC SHAKESPEARE

 imgres-76 Miriam Weiner’s Shakespeare’s Seasons (Downtown Bookworks, 2012) pairs gorgeous artwork with quotes from Shakespeare’s plays and poems to illustrate the changing seasons. For ages 4 and up.
 imgres-77 Edited by Barbara Holdridge, Under the Greenwood Tree (Stemmer House Publishers, 1986) pairs paintings with Shakespearean poems and play excerpts. For ages 9 and up.
Read Shakespeare’s poem “Under the Greenwood Tree” (from As You Like It) here.
 imgres-78 Edited by David Scott Kasten and Marina Kasten, Poetry for Young People: William Shakespeare (Sterling, 2008) – one of an excellent poetry series – pairs Shakespearean sonnets and soliloquies with impressive artwork. For ages 10 and up.
 images-8 Shakespeare’s Sonnets has all of them, with line-by-line notes, word definitions, and analyses.

SHAKESPEARE AT THE MOVIES

For those who lack ready access to Shakespearean theater, there’s a lot of superb Shakespeare available on video. See, for example, the (enormous) Internet Movie Database Shakespeare film list. (Be warned: concerned parents should screen movies in advance. Shakespeare interpretations range from the mild to the gory; and in Roman Polanski’s 1971 version of Macbeth – telling known as the “Nude Macbeth” – the Lady sleepwalks without jammies.)

 imgres-79 Shakespeare: The Animated Tales is an award-winning series of short (about half an hour) animated adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays, originally aired on television between 1992 and 1994. Many of these are available on You Tube, and a 12-play collection is available on DVD.
 imgres-80 Shakespeare Uncovered is a series of six films combining history, biography, performance, and dramatic analysis of Shakespeare’s plays with such famous presenters as Ethan Hawke, Jeremy Irons, and Derek Jacobi. Included at the website is a quiz to determine which Shakespearean character you are and a series of interactive games, among them “Death and Dying in Hamlet and Macbeth” and “Shakespeare’s Enchanted Forest.”
 imgres-81 The TV series Slings and Arrows (2003-2006) is the story of Geoffrey (Paul Gross), a director recovering from a nervous breakdown, who is tasked with revitalizing a dystopic Canadian theater festival. In each of the three seasons of the miniseries the festival puts on a different Shakespearian play (“Hamlet” for season one, followed by “Macbeth” and “King Lear”), and the characters come to understand the facets of their own lives through the lens of the dramas they perform. The first season is the strongest, with the most direct Shakespearian parallels to the characters lives, but the series is a must-watch for anyone interested watching ins-and-outs of how Thespians make the sausage. [Guest reviewer Josh Rupp. Thanks, Josh!]
 imgres-90 Impatient? Check out The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged) by the Reduced Shakespeare Company. Thirty-seven plays in under two hours. And it’s hilarious.
A few movie highlights:
 imgres-82 Kenneth Branagh’s 1996 version of Hamlet is cinematically spectacular. Branagh plays Hamlet; Kate Winslet, Ophelia. The production is four hours long, but it doesn’t feel like it. Rated PG-13.
 imgres-83 Directed by Kenneth Branagh, A Midwinter’s Tale (1995) is the story of out-of-work actor Joe Harper who – in a effort to stave off depression – volunteers to help save his sister’s church from land developers by staging a Christmas production of Hamlet. A romantic comedy with a caste of oddball British characters. Rated R.
 imgres-84 The entrancing 1999 version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is set somewhere around the turn of the century; the confused lovers ride bicycles through the forest. Kevin Kline plays Nick Bottom, complete with donkey ears; Michelle Pfeiffer, Titania; and Stanley Tucci is a terrific Puck. Rated PG-13.
 images-9 Kenneth Branagh plays Benedick, in a delightful 1993 production of Much Ado About Nothing, with Emma Thompson as a very witty Beatrice and Michael Keaton as a notably dippy Dogberry. Rated PG-13.
 imgres-85 In this great version of Henry V (1989), Kenneth Branagh plays Henry, with Emma Thompson as the French king’s daughter, Katherine. There’s a phenomenal Battle of Agincourt. Rated PG-13.
 images-10 In this 1995 production of Richard III, the play is set in the 1930’s; Richard (Ian McKellen) is a uniformed dictator; and the final battle features airplanes and guns. Rated R.
 imgres-86 Looking for Richard (1996) is a fascinating documentary-style account of the staging of the Richard III in which Al Pacino and cast dissect, discuss, and experiment with all aspects of the play. Rated PG-13.
 imgres-87 Among the most popular of Romeo and Juliets is the 1996 version starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Clare Danes; if you’re not a fan of Leonardo, try Franco Zefferelli’s 1968 Romeo and Juliet, with Leonard Whiting and Oliva Hussey. Rated, respectively, PG-13 and PG.
 imgres-88 In Shakespeare in Love (1998), Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) struggles to write the play that ultimately becomes Romeo and Juliet. He’s in love with Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow); the supporting case includes Judi Dench, who plays a marvelous Queen Elizabeth, and Geoffrey Rush as a harried theater manager. Rated R.
 images-11 In Trevor Nunn’s 1978 Macbeth, Ian McKellen plays Macbeth and Judi Dench, his manipulative Lady, with a cast of supporting characters from the Royal Shakespeare Company.
 images-12 Macbeth (2010) with Patrick Stewart and Kate Fleetwood is a Stalinesque version of the play, with the three Witches as a trio of creepy hospital nurses. (For older viewers; watch it online at the website above.)
 imgres-89 Directed by Julie Taymor, Titus (1999) – a film version of Titus Andronicus, with Anthony Hopkins in the title role and Jessica Lange as Tamora – is terrific. Rated R.
 images-13 In Taymor’s The Tempest (2010), a plot twist is a gender change: Prospero is Prospera, played by Helen Mirren. Rated PG-13.

 

Posted in Drama, History, Literature | Leave a comment

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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