Author: Michelle Lord
Illustrator: Cathy Morrison
Target Ages: 4-8
First Lines: “The decorator sea urchin lives in the Atlantic Ocean. The water is warm, but he covers up. Urchin wears colorful algae, rocks, and coral. He wears ocean refuse like old oyster shells.”
Publisher Summary: “From sea urchins in the Atlantic Ocean to bandicoots on the Australian savanna, animals all over the world recycle. Explore how different animals in different habitats use recycled material to build homes, protect themselves and get food. This fascinating collection of animal facts will teach readers about the importance of recycling and inspire them to take part in protecting and conserving the environment by recycling in their own way.”
Evaluation: Nature Recycles: How About You? presents the idea of recycling in a fresh and natural approach. I never thought about the normal activities of the animals highlighted, like the woodpecker finch, octopus, caddisfly larva, and poison dart frog, as recycling. In interesting ways, they recycle and reuse items left behind by plants and creatures, often in highly creative ways. Readers get the sense of the circle of life as one living thing’s trash becomes a treasure for another.
The author keeps the idea of recycling at the forefront. After a description of each creatures’ activities, she states:
(The creatures) recycle.
How about you?
This question opens up an opportunity to discuss ways people can improve their recycling and reusing practices. An outstanding supplement book that provides extra information is Where Do Garbage Trucks Go? And Other Questions about Trash and Recycling (Benjamin Richmond). Thirteen common questions are answered about areas, such as why trash smells, what makes some garbage dangerous, and what is a recycling plant.
Cathy Morrison does a beautiful job on the illustrations in Nature Recycles: How About You? Different habitats are shown, such as the ocean, desert, river, savannah, and forest. Each habitat is depicted in vivid detail, providing an opportunity to discuss the subject further.
Emerging readers will easily understand this straight forward text as it is being read aloud. There are several examples of onomatopoeia related to animals sounds that children can mimic. Beginning readers can decode it with minimal adult help or independently.
The book finishes off with 4-pages of extension ideas and activities. However, there is much, much more provided FREE at the Arbordale website for each of their titles.
For years, I have been a huge fan of Arbordale’s materials. If I were home educating small children, I would not even buy a science curriculum. Arbordale (Sylvan Dell) has everything you need to teach science in a more engaging way than most science curriculums. You do not have to buy a bunch of books because their titles are common in public libraries and their educational materials are online. For parents, their books are ideal for fostering a love for animals, the environment, and other science topics. Teachers can use them to supplement or to reinforce grade objectives.
I highly recommend Nature Recycles: How About You? It is both fascinating and educational.
Activities and Extension Ideas for Lesson Plans: