Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book Review - The Fort on Fourth Street: A Story about the Six Simple Machines


The Fort on Fourth Street: A Story about the Six Simple Machines

By: Lois Spangler
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
ISBN: 978-1607186328
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 2013

The backyard on Fourth Street had flowers, a tree, some stones, and a dog. There was something missing and that was a fort that would soon be built with Grandpa’s help. He leaned over his drafting table, poring over the plans that would make that special fort. There were many simple tools that Grandpa would need, including many simple machines such as levers, wedges, pulleys, inclined planes, screws, and wheels and axles. Perhaps you can think of some things that he might be using when he started to make the fort?

Grandpa’s dog raced happily beside the wagon when the project began. “These are the wheels and axles / that move my wagon without hassles. / It carries wood in a great, big mound, / with wheels that make a squeaky sound.” Grandpa began by using his saw, then used some screws to hold those boards in place, set up a pulley that will “bring up the treats,” used a crowbar to move those rocks, and built a ramp. Soon the fort would be complete, but do you know what kinds of simple machines Grandpa used to finish it?

This is an excellent book to introduce the scientific concepts of simple machines to young students. The book, presented in picture book format, will entice even the most reluctant reader. The concepts are much easier to understand when presented with visuals of everyday objects children are familiar with. As a story in rhyme, accompanied by a progressive rhyming sequence on alternating pages with visuals, it’s much easier to grasp the concepts. In the back of the book are additional activities, including downloadable instructional materials on the publisher’s website. This would be an excellent read and discuss book in the homeschool or classroom setting.

Quill says: This is a perfect book to introduce the scientific concept of simple machines to young students ... painlessly!