From preschool through second grade or so, my son loved to read about volcanoes. A while back, I rounded up some of our favorites, most of which I read aloud. For all of you with young scientists (aged about four to seven) in the house, here's our list, with some notes:
Why Do Volcanoes Blow Their Tops? by Melvin Berger. Picture book, lots of facts, Q. & A. format. Includes directions for making a grand baking soda/vinegar/dish-soap explosive concoction using an empty soda bottle. Because of this book, "magma" has been a part of my vocabulary for the last seven years.
Hill of Fire, by Thomas P. Lewis. Illustrated beginning reader about the farmer who stumbled across a volcano (the beginnings of one) while plowing. About the 1943 eruption of Mexico's Paricutin. A Reading Rainbow selection.
Volcanoes, by Stephanie Turnbull. From the Usborne Beginners series, a nice introduction to the subject, short bits of text, index, glossary, recommended web sites--all in 32 pages.
The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top: A Book About Volcanoes, by Gail Herman, with illustrations by Bob Ostrom. You can't go wrong with Ms. Frizzle, the extraordinary science teacher, and her class.
An Island Grows, by Lola M. Schaefer. A colorful picture book for preschoolers and early-elementary kids.
Magic Tree House #13: Vacation Under the Volcano, by Mary Pope Osborne. Early chapter book about Pompeii, from the popular series.
Volcanoes! Mountains of Fire, by Eric Arnold. Advanced beginning reader about the eruption of Mt. St. Helens.
Volcanoes! by Jeremy Caplan. Another advanced beginning reader, with photos.
Volcano, by Nicholas Harris. Pompeii from the Ice Age into the present, with tabbed pages. Picture book for older readers. Part of a series called Fast Forward. Vesuvius included, of course.
For older readers, there's Seymour Simon's Volcanoes, a Smithsonian picture book with vivid photographs.
"Here we go round the mulberry bush, / The mulberry bush, the mulberry bush; / Here we go round the mulberry bush, / On a cold and frosty morning."
On your next jaunt to the library, add Here Comes Mother Goose to your list. Young children will love thumbing through the pages of this big, beautiful book of nursery rhymes. Some of the poems, like the one above, may be familiar to parents and caregivers, but Here Comes Mother Goose also includes some lesser-known (at least to me) gems:
"My Aunt Jane, / She came from France, / To teach to me the polka dance; / First the heel, / And then the toe, / That's the way / The dance should go."
Published ten years ago by Candlewick, the handsomely illustrated classic is still available at online booksellers and, of course, at public libraries. Rosemary Wells, of Max and Ruby fame, is the artist, and many of the colorful pictures, bustling with funny animal characters, take up a whole page. (The large print is especially easy on the eyes, too.) The children's literature expert Iona Opie compiled the rhymes.
Wells and Opie also collaborated on My Very First Mother Goose (1996) and Mother Goose's Little Treasures (2007).