Oscar and the... written and illustrated by Geoff Waring, 32 pp, RL 1

In this great new series from Candlewick Press titled, Start with Science, we meet Oscar, a geometrically pleasing wonderfully curious kitten. In this series written and illustrated by Geoff Waring, all but two of which are available in paperback, young readers are introduced to core science concepts through the meandering investigations of Oscar and his friends. Unlike most books aimed at readers this young (I would definitely read this to a three year old and think a 6 year old could read it alone, in most cases) the Oscar books are not dry and dull to look at. These are stories wrapped in science, or is it science wrapped up in a story? And, despite the fact that the books are only 32 pages, each book has an index as well as a spread at the end that re-examines the subject covered, which I find especially scientific. The Oscar books are great for storytime, whether you are looking for a teachabe moment or not. The colorful illustrations are totally engaging, as is Oscar's exploration of his world. In Oscar and the Snail: A Book about Things We Use, the pair examine a nest, explore the many uses of stones and learn that glass is made by melting sand. They also learn about uses for oil, wood, wool and wheat.

Oscar and the Bird: A Book about Electricity finds our curious kitten exploring electricity after he accidentally turns on the windshield wipers of a tractor he comes across in a field. Oscar learns how electricity is made and stored, which machines need it to work and, most importantly, how to be safe around wires, batteries, plugs and sockets.

Oscar and the Frog: A Book about Growing finds our furry friend at the pond and full of questions about growing and changing. From plants to ducks, Oscar finds out how living things begin, what they eat and how they grow.

In Oscar and the Bat: A Book about Sound, Bat proves to be the perfect friend to enlighten Oscar as to the nature of sound, from a bird's song to thunder.

In Oscar and the Cricket: A Book about Moving and Rolling, Oscar comes across a ball in the grass that sets him off on an exploration, headed by Cricket, into how things move.

Oscar and the Moth: A Book about Light and Dark finds Oscar watching the sun set, which, of course, fills him with lots of questions! Moth takes him through a tour of sources of light and explains how shadows are made and why darkness comes at night. This one is especially great for younger kids, who are usually full of all sorts of "whys" about this subject.

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