Thursday, May 2, 2013

Book talk: Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature (Virginia Readers' Choice, 2013-2014)

Before I tell you the title of this book, I want you to think about all the shapes you see out in nature. What’s one shape that you see in plants and flowers, in animals, in the water, and in weather patterns? [Give the kids time to guess.]

If you guessed a circle, you’re very close. The answer is a spiral. A spiral is a shape that curls around a center point.

[Show the first pages with the snake, woodchuck, and mouse.] In this picture we see a chipmunk, a woodchuck, a snake, and a mouse – all curled up into spirals. They’re sleeping or hibernating. [Turn page.] Fitting into a spiral helps them conserve precious body heat and fit into tiny, hidden spaces.

Spirals are also great at protecting what’s inside. [Show page with hedgehog and millipede.] If a hedgehog feels threatened, it rolls up into a tight spiral, so all you see is a ball of quills. Tiny millipedes use the same tactic: rolling up into a spiral, they’ve got an armored external shell as defense.

[Show page with rose, daisy, and sunflower.] The petals, leaves, and seed heads of many flowers grow in spirals – the spiral shape makes the best possible use of space and sunlight: pretty wise!

You can see spirals in whirlpools, in tornados, and in galaxies. [Show page with spiral galaxy.] There are also spirals inside you: 3-D spirals called helixes in your genetic makeup, your DNA. Read more about the cool, smart spiral in Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman.

Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman, pictures by Beth Krommes. Unpaged. 2011: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children. Virginia Readers’ Choice, 2013-2014 (primary grades).

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