John Dabell discovers science songs that hit the right notes and some well-honed body books
Sing a Subject pound;17.95 (Includes book and CD); Seven-plus; firstname.lastname@example.org
How My Body Works: Blood, Brain, Eating, Moving, Senses, Breathing
By Anita Ganeri (2006); Evans Publishing Group pound;5.99 each; Seven-plus email@example.com
Singable Science is the new kid on the block of children's educational songbooks; a clever marriage of music and science that will get children's brains dancing and their bodies bopping.
A dozen songs cover various aspects of the key stage 2 science curriculum and there is a good mix of styles including rock, rap, and country 'n'
western. Children studying forces will enjoy the action packed world of Captain Spring and Magnet Man, then there's The Bubble and Hiss Calypso for gases and The Grim Grin for teeth and eating.
Some songs tell stories and most are energetic numbers just waiting to be performed. The musical composition oozes professionalism; the lyrics are well written and translate concepts without confusion.
It's a shame there is only one adult vocalist on the CD as children will either like the voice or they won't. A mixture of male and female, adult and child voices might have been better.
The book comes with the words and music for each number and the CD doesn't allow you to play the music alone. The biggest holes are the lack of notes, tips and advice. Teachers will need guidance to get the most out of this, especially if they are not music or science specialists.
However, this bright and bouncy cross-curricular resource has interactive fun written all over it. It's quirky, value for money and will strike a chord with teachers looking to scrub up children's scientific thinking in a fun and exciting way.
Children are full of questions about how the body works. Sometimes, these questions are not easy to answer without getting too technical, which is why this fresh, bright, well-written series hits the target.
The books tick several boxes. They are bursting with colour and decorated with a variety of simple and fun photographs and illustrations. The content goes into just enough detail without confusing or losing readers. Each book is populated by a lively collection of information, supplemented by some fascinating body facts, food-for-thought ideas and interesting questions.
There is an easy to use contents page, glossary and index. It's looking good: almost. The books boast suggestions for activities but these are few and far between and there is little for children to get their teeth into.
The series needs an extra injection of creativity to hit the bullseye
John Dabell is a primary maths and science consultant