Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Living Sunlight

Living Sunlight photosynthesis book review Saffron Tree Molly Bang Penny Chisholm

Living Sunlight
How Plants Bring The Earth To Life
by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm

Ages 4-8

The Blue Sky Press

As Molly Bang explains in this article, the book came about as a collaboration between an artist and a scientist to bring an important concept - viz., photosynthesis - to the children via simple language and gorgeous illustrations.

Listen to me. Do this one thing: Lay your hand over your heart, and feel. Feel your heart pump, pump, and pump. Feel how warm you are.

That is my light alive inside of you.

I am your sun, your golden star.

Thus starts this journey about understanding how Plants Bring The Earth To Life.

The sun is the narrator. This appealed to my five-year-old directly. The sun tells us how life on earth would not be possible without plants and their ability to process the sunlight via chlorophyll, make glucose, and release oxygen so we can exist.

The fact that all life on earth is connected and interdependent is brought out beautifully in this book. Not just photosynthesis. And, it sets the stage for understanding chemical, biological and physical processes down the road.

The text is easy enough for the five-year-old to follow, yet scientifically sound. The illustrations are simply magnificent! It is not easy to represent such an abstract chemical reaction or phenomenon as photosynthesis, and Molly Bang has done it.

Notes at the back of the book answers such questions as How Does Life Work?, What happens to water in Photosynthesis?, How do we get energy from the plants we've eaten? and so on, with additional information for older children.

Aside: Clare Norelle's The Same Earth Holds Us All CD is a big hit with both the kids, although the almost-3-year-old probably only understands half the lyrics with the exception of Chickees-and-Duckies. My favorite in this collection is called The Common Pot (La olla comĂșn) which seems to have struck a chord in Ana. Anyway, this CD has a very catchy song about Photosynthesis, which in conjunction with the book has proven invaluable to me as a parent and am glad we have these on our shelves at home to reach for at will.

[image source: http://www.mollybang.com/Pages/livingsun.html]


starry eyed said...

We have this book, and I love it, can actually feel the warmth and energy of the sunlight in the illustrations and words.

ranjani.sathish said...

What a fantastic book Sheela..so love the idea of presenting such scientific concepts in books. I am going to look for this in our library.

sathish said...

very interesting. love to get my hands on the cd too.

sandhya said...

You had me at the title! Great pick. Will certainly look out for it.

Vibha said...

Very interesting Sheela. I was explaining the food chain, the food pyramid, nature's balance when we started discussing about plants, their food making capabilities and photosynthesis. I think this book would be just the perfect help on this topic. Thanks for introducing this.

Artnavy said...

I need to get these books - I think they will be a hit here

Choxbox said...

A friend gave us this beautiful book! Instantly lifted my spirits!

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