It’s fun when learning about a somewhat difficult scientific concept is put into context. Push-Pull Morning by Lisa Westberg Peters (Wordsong, February 2023) does for young children by showing a child and his dog as they jump and play together. The subtitle is “Dog-Powered Poems about Matter and Energy,” and anyone has a dog would probably agree that dogs have plenty of energy to use as examples!
Scientific concepts such as energy, gravity, inertia, friction and so forth are introduced in unique ways. Some might be predicable, such as inertia being explained by a dog in motion and a dog at rest. Others are a unique take on scientific concepts, such as the various “states” of the dog to represent the states of matter: a solid dog while eating at her bowl, a liquid as she spreads out all floppy in her basket at night, and a gas as she bounces all over, never stopping and seeming to inhabit every space at once.
The illustrations in Push-Pull Morning are child-friendly sketchy cartoons, which certainly invite a young reader in. Yellow, blue, and dark red tones color all the characters and the spotted dog, and black outlines meet at not-perfect angles, nicely matching the child’s first person narration about his dog. I enjoyed that this was a picture book about physical science concept, rather than a book like so many other science picture books. I feel like it is easy to find a book about life science (plants, humans, and animals) and earth science (rocks, the earth, space and the sky, and volcanoes and earthquakes. But books introducing the states of matter, the atoms that we are made of, and the forces that act on us are few and far between. I’ll definitely keep this physical science book on my radar for when I’m looking to create a science unit about these concepts! It is a great addition to any library.
I received a digital review copy of Push-Pull Morning.