Secrets of the Seasons: Orbiting the Sun in Our Backyard

Overview

The family from Secrets of the Garden are back in a new book about backyard science that explains why the seasons change.

Alice and her friend Zack explore the reasons for the seasons. Alice's narrative is all about noticing the changes as fall turns into winter, spring, and then summer. She explains how the earth's yearlong journey around the sun, combined with the tilt in the earth's axis, makes the seasons happen.   

Alice's text ...

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Overview

The family from Secrets of the Garden are back in a new book about backyard science that explains why the seasons change.

Alice and her friend Zack explore the reasons for the seasons. Alice's narrative is all about noticing the changes as fall turns into winter, spring, and then summer. She explains how the earth's yearlong journey around the sun, combined with the tilt in the earth's axis, makes the seasons happen.   

Alice's text is clear and simple, and experiential. Two very helpful—and very funny—chickens give more science details and further explanation through charts, diagrams, and sidebars.  
 
Packed with sensory details, humor, and solid science, this book makes a complicated concept completely clear for young readers—and also for the many parents who struggle to answer their kids' questions!

"Several adults of my acquaintance . . . would find Secrets of the Seasons to be an eye-popping revelation." —John Lithgow, The New York Times Book Review

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - John Lithgow
…knowledge clothed in whimsy…Aided by the appealing illustrations of Priscilla Lamont, Zoehfeld's soft-touch meteorology lesson succeeds remarkably well.
Publishers Weekly
★ 02/03/2014
In this companion to 2012’s Secrets of the Garden, Alice’s friend Zach notices that the days are getting shorter, leading into a yearlong exploration of the changes that the seasons bring. Zoehfeld makes Alice’s narration and the characters’ conversations feel especially real and even poetic (“I guess summer’s really over now,” says Alice on a late September day when the grass is too cold for bare feet). Meanwhile, scholarly chickens Maisy and Daisy again offer detailed scientific background, this time about the Earth’s rotation and orbit, migration, hibernation, and more, aided by illustrations and charts. Lamont’s detailed pen-and-watercolor illustrations help maintain the book’s blend of informative fun, while hinting at the vastness of the universe as seen through the portal of one’s own backyard. Ages 5–8. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
03/01/2014
Gr 1–3—Young readers-guided by good friends Alice and Zack and the highly educated chickens Maisy and Daisy-will discover not only the outward manifestations of the changing seasons but also why they occur. While the children observe what is happening in their backyard, the chickens offer scientific explanations. The tilting of the Earth's axis, the rotation of the Earth around the sun, and the responses of plants and animals to these changes are clearly and simply explained. Maps and diagrams help to define complicated concepts. The book will be of interest to both children studying climate and weather in the classroom and those curious about the world around them. Charming, full-color illustrations and dialogue balloons enhance the solid information.—Eva Elisabeth VonAncken, formerly at Trinity-Pawling School, Pawling, NY
Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-19
Alice, who formerly discovered The Secrets of the Garden (2012), is back to explore the seasons with her friend Zack and her little brother, Pete (and, of course, the two intelligent chickens that provide expert commentary). When Zack brings Alice's attention to the fact that sunsets are getting earlier, it is the start of the children's yearlong exploration of the seasons. Humans in the story make observations about the sun, the seasons, the lengths of days, the changing weather and the activities of the animals around them, sometimes linking them to things they have learned in school. Meanwhile, Maisy and Daisy present readers with the nitty-gritty of the science, cleverly using flashlights and globes to explain the Earth's movements simply and teaching kids about migrating birds, the solstices and equinoxes, and the fact that the seasons are opposite for the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Lamont's pen-and-watercolor illustrations focus on the seasonal indicators that will be familiar to most readers—tracks in the snow, leaves on the trees, robins, migrating geese, etc. Daisy and Maisy may be the comic relief, but their simple diagrams and explanations are standouts. Incorporating both a story and solid science in an engaging way, this is an accessible and welcome addition to the sometimes-confusing reasons-for-the-seasons shelf. (Informational picture book. 4-9)
From the Publisher
The New York Times Book Review, May 9, 2014
"Several adults of my acquaintance . . . would find Secrets of the Seasons to be an eye-popping revelation." —John Lithgow

Publishers Weekly starred review, February 2, 2014
“Lamont’s detailed pen-and-watercolor illustrations help maintain the book’s blend of informative fun, while hinting at the vastness of the universe as seen through the portal of one’s own backyard.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780517709948
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 4/22/2014
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 93,666
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

KATHLEEN WEIDNER ZOEHFELD was a children's book editor for more than 10 years before becoming a full-time writer. She has published more than 60 books for children, most about animals and natural history. 

PRISCILLA LAMONT has illustrated dozens of books, including Secrets of the Garden: Food Chains and Food Webs in Our Backyard, also by Kathleen Zoehfeld. Whether drawing human or animal characters, Priscilla always likes to include some humor.

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