Skip to main content

Snip Snap & Vampire Baby: What the kids are reading this week

I've been catching up on my old X-Files episodes this week after bedtime.  It may be more proof of our hive-mind theory that the kids picked up two urban-legend themed books on their latest trip to the library: Snip Snap! What's That? by Mara Bergman and Nick Maland; and Vampire Baby by Kelly Bennett and Paul Meisel.

Five year-old No. 2 took the time to snuggle in so we could read Snip Snap! What's That? as I was recovering from whatever kind of sinus/allergy/snot sort of croop has hit this month.  I loved the book, and it's clearly one of 2's favorites!  To be honest I liked that 2 is picking up more and more letters and their sounds all the time.  He's pointing at letters, making the sounds, and sounding things out!  Now that he's started in on this learning to read thing, it seems he's unstoppable.  I also enjoyed it because it brought up two tropes I'd forgotten about long ago.

The first is a big-city trope I had as a child.  From watching television, and reading books, it seemed fairly clear to me that all big-city kids lived in giant apartment buildings.  Sure enough, in Snip Snap they do!  Not only an apartment building, but an apartment building covered in snazzy bird-patterned wallpaper, (second childhood trope: all classy people have wallpaper!).  I think the birds might be cockatoos, but 2 is convinced they're chickens.  This may have something to do with the chicken that lives behind us.

From a more objective, less nostalgic standpoint, the book is fun to read because it frequently rhymes.  It also has a number of repeated phrases like "You Bet They Were!"  These repeated phrases let 2 practice reading the same words over and over, getting better and better each time.

Vampire Baby didn't rhyme, but was right up this week's X-Files themed alley.  The main character can't quite convince his parents that his baby sister has become a vampire.  The book is really fun to read, and we made good use of "Chomp" showing up every few pages to emphasize the 'ch' sound, and how it's different from the other plain-old c sounds like 'c as k' and 'c as s'.  The book's pictures are fun, and the scheme hatched by the main character is a riot!

Thanks to our library and the kids here, new books show up every few days that I've never heard of before.  What were your favorite new reads for the week?


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Cool Math Tricks: Deriving the Divergence, (Del or Nabla) into New (Cylindrical) Coordinate Systems

The following is a pretty lengthy procedure, but converting the divergence, (nabla, del) operator between coordinate systems comes up pretty often. While there are tables for converting between common coordinate systems, there seem to be fewer explanations of the procedure for deriving the conversion, so here goes!

What do we actually want?

To convert the Cartesian nabla



to the nabla for another coordinate system, say… cylindrical coordinates.



What we’ll need:

1. The Cartesian Nabla:



2. A set of equations relating the Cartesian coordinates to cylindrical coordinates:



3. A set of equations relating the Cartesian basis vectors to the basis vectors of the new coordinate system:



How to do it:

Use the chain rule for differentiation to convert the derivatives with respect to the Cartesian variables to derivatives with respect to the cylindrical variables.

The chain rule can be used to convert a differential operator in terms of one variable into a series of differential operators in terms of othe…

Lab Book 2014_07_10 More NaI Characterization

Summary: Much more plunking around with the NaI detector and sources today.  A Pb shield was built to eliminate cosmic ray muons as well as potassium 40 radiation from the concreted building.  The spectra are much cleaner, but still don't have the count rates or distinctive peaks that are expected.
New to the experiment?  Scroll to the bottom to see background and get caught up.
Lab Book Threshold for the QVT is currently set at -1.49 volts.  Remember to divide this by 100 to get the actual threshold voltage. A new spectrum recording the lines of all three sources, Cs 137, Co 60, and Sr 90, was started at approximately 10:55. Took data for about an hour.
Started the Cs 137 only spectrum at about 11:55 AM

Here’s the no-source background from yesterday
In comparison, here’s the 3 source spectrum from this morning.

The three source spectrum shows peak structure not exhibited by the background alone. I forgot to take scope pictures of the Cs137 run. I do however, have the printout, and…

Unschooling Math Jams: Squaring Numbers in their own Base

Some of the most fun I have working on math with seven year-old No. 1 is discovering new things about math myself.  Last week, we discovered that square of any number in its own base is 100!  Pretty cool!  As usual we figured it out by talking rather than by writing things down, and as usual it was sheer happenstance that we figured it out at all.  Here’s how it went.

I've really been looking forward to working through multiplication ala binary numbers with seven year-old No. 1.  She kind of beat me to the punch though: in the last few weeks she's been learning her multiplication tables in base 10 on her own.  This became apparent when five year-old No. 2 decided he wanted to do some 'schoolwork' a few days back.

"I can sing that song... about the letters? all by myself now!"  2 meant the alphabet song.  His attitude towards academics is the ultimate in not retaining unnecessary facts, not even the name of the song :)

After 2 had worked his way through the so…