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Welcome to Summer BOOK-TIVITY #6. Education World and share with you fun activities for kids and families -- activities connected to some of the best recent children's books around. Check out Summer BOOK-TIVITIES! for summer projects that will entertain and educate.

Don't miss the other Summer BOOK-TIVITIES:

  • BOOK-TIVITY #1: Photo fun, cooking, sharks, baseball, moving
  • BOOK-TIVITY #2: Family trees, hide-and-seek, museums, information exploration
  • BOOK-TIVITY #3: Lightning, teeth, masks, Mount Rushmore
  • BOOK-TIVITY #4: Crocodiles, "look what came from ...," imagination, do's and don'ts
  • BOOK-TIVITY #5: U.S. states, fossils, snakes, animal carnival
  • BOOK-TIVITY #6: Mount Everest, Mother Goose, the ocean, math

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Top of the World Book Cover Welcome to Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth! In his latest book, author and artist Steve Jenkins takes readers to the top of Everest. Before the climb, Jenkins provides some basic information about the geography, history, climate, and culture of the area. Did you know that the Himalayas, the mountains that Everest is part of, are still forming? Earth's continents are drifting; India moves north about 2 1/2 inches each year, pushing up the Himalayas as it goes! Jenkins introduces readers to George Everest, who led one of the earliest mapping expeditions to the Himalayas, and to the Sherpas, the native people of Nepal who work with climbers as guides and partners.

Jenkins brings to life the drama of an Everest climb in The Top of the World: Climbing Mount Everest (Houghton Mifflin). Can you imagine crossing a deep gorge of ice on a shaky aluminum ladder? Dangerous avalanches on Everest have claimed the lives of more than half the 161 climbers who've been killed trying to reach the summit. Then there's the Death Zone, located about 26,000 feet above sea level. There is so little oxygen at that altitude that anyone who stayed there would get weaker and weaker and finally die. Once climbers reach the Death Zone, they must quickly ascend to the peak and then return to a lower camp.

The Top of the World is packed with information about this most beautiful -- and dangerous -- place on Earth. The writer includes facts and figures about the mountain and its climbers, a detailed look at the clothing a mountain climber must wear, a graph comparing the highest peaks on each continent, and a list of Mount Everest records. Jenkins's patented illustrations of cut and torn paper round out this eye-catching tribute to a mountain and to the men and women who have reached its peak.

Booktivity Header GraphicBOOK-TIVITY: Cool Science!
For this activity, children will need a tray of ice cubes (kept frozen until used), a sink full of room-temperature water, and a clock or watch. Drop an ice cube into the water. How long does the ice cube take to melt? Kids should watch the clock and record the time. After reading The Top of the World, children will know something about how mountain climbers insulate themselves from the cold. What might kids do to the ice cube to make it last longer? Encourage children to try different insulating materials, e.g., a clear plastic cup, a plastic foam (hot/cold) cup, plastic wrap, or cotton tissue. They might even wrap different types of cloth material around the plastic cup. Children should record timed results. Which materials seem to be the best insulators?

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What did happen to Humpty Dumpty after he fell off the wall? Where did Little Miss Muffet go after she fled her tuffet? How did Jack and Jill fare after their notorious tumble?

Humpty Dumpty Book Cover David Greenberg answers those questions and many others in his new book, Whatever Happened to Humpty Dumpty? (Little, Brown & Company). His wicked wit works overtime to seal the fates of Mary and her Little Lamb, the Three Blind Mice, Jack Sprat, and that other Jack, the nimble one. Imagine Jack's fate, on a bad day. Greenberg does! Part of his updated rhyme reads


Jack tripped over the candlestick,
Caught fire in a flash.
Now all that's left of Jack
Is a little bit of ash.


So now you see what you have in store.
Greenberg's Mother Goose never is a bore!
S. D. Schindler's drawings add to the great fun.
They capture with glee the irreverent goings-on!


Booktivity Header GraphicBOOK-TIVITY: Take a Stab at Mother Goose!
As if David Greenberg hasn't done enough damage -- read aloud a few of Greenberg's Mother Goose updates, then challenge your elementary and middle-grade age children to write their own humorous takeoffs on their favorite Mother Goose rhymes. After the kids share their poetic pokes, finish reading aloud Whatever Happened to Humpty Dumpty?


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Gail Gibbons is a master of children's non-fiction. She has written more than 90 informational books for children. Among her latest adventures is Exploring the Deep, Dark Sea (Little, Brown, & Company).

Deep Dark Sea Book Cover Readers join scientists as they descend, foot by foot, in an undersea submersible. In each zone -- the sunlight zone, the twilight zone, and the dark zone -- Gibbons introduces readers to the characteristics of the zone and to some of the species they'll see. Then it's on into the abyss and the trenches, the areas from 13,000 to 36,000 feet below the surface, in an ROV (remotely operated vehicle)!

Water covers almost three-quarters of Earth's surface, yet most of us have never seen what lies far beneath the waves. Filled with intriguing facts and colorful illustrations, Exploring the Deep Dark Sea examines the history and the future of undersea exploration. Gibbons even offers a simple timeline that shows the progress of undersea exploration over the last 800 years.

Booktivity Header GraphicBOOK-TIVITY: Sea Fun -- Without Getting Wet!
After they learn about the creatures that live at different levels of the ocean, challenge children to create their own sea scenes. Shoeboxes make great settings for an ocean scene diorama. Kids might paint the diorama background bright blue, or they might use blue cellophane to cover the scene when it's done. Kids can cut out and color fish and sea plants of many shapes, sizes, and varieties. They might even use some of the clay modeling techniques demonstrated in Fun with Modeling Clay (General Distributions Services, Inc.). Kids can anchor plants and sea-floor animals to the bottom of the inside of the box or use blue thread to "float" others from the ceiling of the diorama scene. (If you're looking for animal shapes for young children to cut out, you might take a look at the Ocean Diorama activity on the KinderCrafts Web page.)

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Piggies BookCover The Pigs can't wait to throw their annual Halloween party. When Grandpa and Grandma Pig eat all the candy, however, the Pigs have to make a last-minute trip to the market. There, something totally unexpected happens: Lucky Mrs. Pig is the one-millionth customer to walk through the doors of the store, so she is awarded a free five-minute shopping spree!

As she loads up her cart with goodies, young readers can polish their math skills. What is the retail value of the candy that Mrs. Pig picked up? How many pieces of candy did the whole family eat on the ride home?

Pigs Go to Market (Aladdin Paperbacks/Simon & Schuster) is one of a series of Fun with Math books by the author-illustrator team of Amy Axelrod and Sharon McGinley-Nally. Each of the books reinforces everyday math skills such as measuring, multiplying, and handling money. Don't miss the other books in the series, including Pigs in the Pantry. When they're finished reading, kids will surely want to cook up a batch of the Pigs' famous Firehouse Chili!

Booktivity Header GraphicBOOK-TIVITY: Coupon Math
Many people carry a portfolio of money-saving coupons when they do the weekly grocery shopping. Before you throw out those expired coupons, use them to create a worthwhile math exercise for your children. Gather the coupons and create math word problems that will involve your kids in calculating cash savings. (If your store offers double savings on coupons, work that into the word problems you write.) For example:


  • Provide three coupons and ask: If I use these coupons on the purchases of a jar of spaghetti sauce, a bottle of salad dressing, and a gallon of laundry detergent, how much money will I save at the checkout?


  • The total on my cash register receipt is $127.57 before the savings on the coupons in the previous problem are subtracted. What will the final total be after the coupon values are deducted?


  • Gather any six coupons and ask: How much money will I save if I purchase all six of these items?

READ MORE: More Math Fun with the Pig Family from


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Love Your Neighbor Book Cover Who decides what is beautiful and what is ugly? What is the meaning of true friendship? Why do we fear those who are different? Those are just a few of the moral questions touched on in this treasury of more than a dozen original stories.

With themes that range from tolerance and prejudice to love and freedom, all the tales in Love Your Neighbor: Stories of Values and Virtues feature memorable animal characters. From an egotistical elk to selfless squirrels, these stories will capture kids' imaginations -- and hearts-- and provide today's parents with a way to impart strong moral values.

The writer, Dr. Arthur Dobrin, is a professor of humanities and social sciences at Hofstra University's New College and co-founder of the Long Island Interracial Alliance for a Common Future. He ends each short fable in Love Your Neighbor with a question that parents might use to discuss important issues of values and virtues with their children.

Love Your Neighbor is a gift just right for family sharing.

Return to Education World's Summer Reading Ideas page.


Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor in Chief
Copyright © 1999, 2002 Education World


Last updated 06/23/2017