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Backpack Explorer Field Guides | Series Review

The Children’s Book Review

Encouraging children to explore nature and make their own scientific discoveries is a practice that dates back as far as the Victorians: in the eighteen hundreds, the blossoming children’s literature market and the boom in scientific inquiry spurred by the industrial era and the age of empire led to the production of hundreds of field guides, nature guides, and science books for children, on subjects ranging from dinosaurs to sea-shells, and entomology to botany. The Victorians knew what they were doing, too; hours spent combing beaches or peering at forest leaves not only kept these young charges busy and out of nanny’s hair but also helped build generations of curious, innovative thinkers. Series such as the Backpack Explorer series builds on this rich tradition, offering children today the materials, knowledge, and incentive they need to engage with nature in a hands-on, critical manner.

What to Expect: Nature, Interactivity, Experimentation

Backpack Explorer Beach Walker and Backpack Explorer on the Nature Trail are a fascinating combination of field-guide, textbook, and activity book. Each is packed with extensive information about the natural habitat it covers – readers will learn about different tides and the mineral composition of sand, the difference between toads and frogs, and what different cloud formations are called – as well as identification guides for the different plants, animals, and natural features readers might encounter there. There are specific sensory activities, asking readers to search for and explore different environmental features, as well as activities (predator and prey hide and seek anyone?), stickers, and equipment (magnifying glass and a collecting bag). Guides such as these are an excellent way to encourage readers to not only learn but also connect – to experience nature with their bodies as well as their minds. So put down that smartphone, grab your magnifying glass, and “hit the trail and explore”!

Backpack Explorer: On the Nature Trail

Created by Editors of Storey Publishing

Publisher’s Synopsis: Jump-start curiosity with this take-along field guide for children ages 4 to 8. From worms, birds, and spiders to trees, flowers, and clouds, young explorers learn what to look and listen for wherever they are — whether in a nature preserve, an urban park, or a suburban backyard. Seek-and-find lists, on-the-trail art projects, and discovery games get kids engaged in hands-on learning about nature, and a real pull-out magnifying glass helps them get a close-up glimpse of leaf veins, seed pods, and tiny insects. Filled with activities, checklists, and stickers, this interactive nature guide belongs in every kid’s backpack.

Buy the Book

Ages 4+ | Publisher: Storey Publishing | 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1-61212-901-3

Backpack Explorer: Beach Walker

Created by Editors of Storey Publishing

Publisher’s Synopsis: Pack up sandcastle-building supplies, sunscreen, and this take-along activity book! In the second book of the Backpack Explorer series from the Editors of Storey Publishing, little beachcombers are encouraged to discover all the wonders of saltwater oceans and freshwater lakes, from identifying shorebirds to learning about the life found in tide pools to listening to the waves and watching the tides.

Backpack Explorer: Beach Walk is packed with prompts and activities, including 12 interactive field guides (for shells, jellyfish, and more), sensory scavenger hunts, science experiments such as a Stick Sundial, games, and simple projects including food chain match-ups and driftwood fish. Equipped with a real magnifying glass, stickers, and a beach log for recording shoreline sightings and adventures, this book is the perfect take-along for any beach adventure.

Buy the Book

Ages 4+ | Publisher: Storey Publishing | 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1-61212-902-0

Also available in this series: Backpack Explorer: Bird Watch

The Backpack Explorer series from Storey Publishing was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like the I Survived series by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with , , , , and .

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Dr. Jen Harrison currently teaches writing and literature at East Stroudsburg University. She also provides freelance writing, editing, and tuition services as the founder of Read.Write.Perfect. She completed her Ph.D. in Children’s and Victorian Literature at Aberystwyth University in Wales, in the UK. After a brief spell in administration, Jen then trained as a secondary school English teacher and worked for several years teaching Secondary School English, working independently as a private tutor of English, and working in nursery and primary schools. She is an editor for the peer-reviewed journal of children’s literature, Jeunesse, and publishes academic work on children’s non-fiction, YA speculative fiction, and the posthuman.

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