Enjoy this collection of non-fiction picture books.

Join the No-Plastic Challenge

Join the No-Plastic Challenge, A First Book of Reducing Waste, is part of a series by Scot Ritchie that includes See What We Eat!; See How We Move!; And Follow that Bee! among other titles ($16.99, Kids Can Press).

In Join the No-Plastic Challenge, it’s Nick’s birthday and our same group of friends challenge each other to have a no-plastic day. The kids bring their own water bottles, plates and cutlery and the mom stops at a shop where they sell environmentally-friendly products that can be reused or that decompose.

They take a ferry to the beach and along the way we learn more about plastics, how they are made, ocean gyres, huge patches of floating plastic and garbage brought together by currents and wind, and the dangers of plastics, which take upwards of 500 years to decompose to marine, bird and human life.

While the author suggests there a great things made of plastic – wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs – single use plastics need to be manufactured and used less. Ritchie offers ways kids can cut down on their plastic use including avoid balloons, play with wooden toys and help clean up litter (wearing gloves).

I really like these series. It offers great information and easy ways kids can help, in this case, lessen their use of single-use plastics.

Front over image of a happy boy holidng up a Popsicle while his happy dog looks on
The Boy Who Invented The Popsicle is the story of Frank Epperson, the inventor of the Popsicle.

The Boy Who Invented the Popsicle, The Cool Science Behind Frank Epperson’s Famous Frozen treat

The Boy Who Invented the Popsicle by Anne Renaud and illustrated by Milan Pavlovic ($18.99, Kids Can Press) follows the story of Frank Epperson who always wanted to be an inventor.

He practised his skill often – tinkering and experimenting with all sorts of things including creating flavoured soda water. His brother, Cray, was often his guinea pig – for good and bad flavours.

One day, Frank wondered what his flavoured water would taste frozen and came up with soda on a stick. Frank sat on the idea for a long time, got married and had kids, and after watching the popularity of chocolate-covered ice cream bars, decided to bring his invention of the Popsicle to life.

This book is really neat. We get to learn about Frank and his journey creating the Popsicle, but readers are also encouraged to do their own experiments throughout the book. The story is broken up with recipes that Frank may have used to create his inventions such as make-your-own lemon-flavoured soda water or The Big Freeze, How to show that salt lowers the freezing point of water.

At the end of the book, the author shows pictures of the real Frank Epperson and offers more information about the inventor of the Popsicle.

Front cover image of Earth, neanderthals, astronauts, dinosaurs
It Started With a Big Bang offers a kids version look at how life started on Earth.

It Started with a Big Bang The Origin of Earth, You and Everything Else

It Started with a Big Bang by Floor Bal and Sebastiaan Van Doninck ($18.99, Kids Can Press) starts with a picture of Earth in space now before going back in time of how Earth was created – a tiny dot that exploded with a big bang (but without sound as the universe is silent).

We fast forward through time as the giant bubble pulls in gas, stardust and pieces of ice and rock until earth is formed. There is no life on this planet, until there is and we race through time as single-cell organism evolve to create creatures that roam the land, including dinosaurs. With a second big bang, dinosaurs disappear and a new form of apes appear, the first signs of humans. Our evolution is shown over several pages until we get to the humans we are today.

This is a cool look at how Earth has evolved over time. The illustrations are really neat – colourful, harsh, but also beautiful. The human-like apes are kind of frightening looking, but otherwise it would be a cool book for kids to learn more about how about planet started.

Front cover image of a hawk diving.
Hawks Kettle Puffins Wheel offers information about various birds and a poem to celebrate them.

Hawks Kettle, Puffins Wheel and Other Poems of Birds in Flight

Hawks Kettle, Puffins Wheel and Other Poems of Birds in Flight by Susan Vande Griek and Mark Hoffmann ($18.99, Kids Can Press) is a mixture of poetry and information about whatever bird is featured on the double page spread.

“In the fall the geese
are flying south
in groups that gather
and stretch out.

Skeining cross the autumn sky,
a moving V, a vocal flight,
a skein of geese
a-honking out of the
change of season.”

We then learn the flying flock of Canada geese is called a skein. Skeins, according to the book, allows birds to save their energy as air coming off each bird’s wings gives lift to the one behind it.

The information in the book was really interesting and I read the paragraph or two about sandpipers flock or peewees flycatch. I wasn’t interested in the poems, although I would imagine if you are reading this book to kids, it would be a neat addition to story time.

A copy of these books were provided by Kid Can Press for an honest review.
The opinions are my own.