Books by Susan E. Goodman

THE FIRST STEP by Susan E. Goodman
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"Expanding the understanding of equal rights in the classroom is sadly timely, and this helps to fill in an early part of the picture. (afterword, sources and resources, author's note) (Informational picture book. 7-10)"
A 19th-century chapter in the ongoing struggle for school integration. Read full book review >
HOW DO YOU BURP IN SPACE? by Susan E. Goodman
Released: July 9, 2013

"A fizzy look at what space vacationers of the near future can expect. (photographs, glossary, websites, source notes, index [not seen]) (Nonfiction. 8-12)"
With space tourism close to becoming a reality, Goodman and Slack offer aspiring young intergalactic travelers an entertaining and informative travel guide. Read full book review >
IT'S A DOG'S LIFE by Susan E. Goodman
Released: July 3, 2012

"Children will be barking up the right tree with this enjoyable read. There's still no telling why dogs run after letter carriers, though.… (bibliography) (Nonfiction. 7-10)"
(A lot of) everything kids ever wanted to know about dogs—but couldn't ask. Now, the bare bones of doggy secrets are revealed. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2008

Stating that "democracy is a messy business and it's our job to sort it out," Goodman takes a simplified route through the electoral process in this country, with special reference to presidential elections. Her anecdotal history starts with ancient Athens, closes with ways that readers too young to vote (in national elections, at least) can become politically involved and in between covers styles of campaigning, vice presidents, assassinations, dirty tricks, the Electoral College, hanging chads and related topics. Smith's cartoon illustrations crank up the presentation's light tone with comical views of candidates and voters, along with free-association riffs on donkeys vs. elephants, Congress, campaign financing and more. All in all, the team that produced The Truth About Poop (2007) and Gee Whiz! All About Pee (2006) treat their timely and (more or less) new topic with the same engaging informality. Readers will come away a little more informed about how elections work, and perhaps motivated to make their own voices heard. (resource list, index) (Nonfiction. 9-11) Read full book review >
GEE WHIZ! by Susan E. Goodman
Released: Sept. 1, 2006

Hoping for a follow-up to The Truth about Poop (2004)? Urine luck! Here Goodman and Smith pool their talents once again, producing streams of facts about how pee is produced in the body, how it is used—by humans for cosmetics, medicines and other products, and by animals as a weapon, a means of communication, or a source of nutrition—and the past and future of waste disposal. Readers will wriggle with pleasure as they discover how knights and astronauts took care of business; explore the toilet arrangements of vampire bats, hibernating bears and camels; learn what future restrooms might be like, and much more. Liberally splashed with Smith's cutaways, diagrams, pop-eyed figures and cartoon dingbats, the pages are redolent with both wisecracks and well-digested research. A browser's delight, good to the last drop. Resource list at the nether end. (Nonfiction. 6-9)Read full book review >
ALL IN JUST ONE COOKIE by Susan E. Goodman
Released: June 1, 2006

Chocolate-chip cookies may come from Grandma's oven, but their ingredients come from all over the world, as a pair of exuberant animal researchers finds out. While twinkly Grandma bustles about the kitchen, Bush's sunny illustrations take her excitable dog and cerebral cat much further afield: First to Vermont and Hawaii to see how butter and sugar are created; then to Madagascar for vanilla extract; on to salt pans near San Francisco, a Kansas wheat field and less defined locations for eggs and chocolate. Laced with captions, paragraphs of information and exclamations, the visual gustatory odyssey ends with a map (properly showing that some ingredients can be from several places), a caution against feeding chocolate to pets, a proffered plate of finished cookies—and the requisite recipe to finish it all off. Shelve next to Marjorie Priceman's How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World (1994), and turn even more young gourmands into globetrotters. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-8)Read full book review >
SKYSCRAPER by Susan E. Goodman
Released: Nov. 9, 2004

Chock-a-block with big, bright, sharp color photos, this pictorial essay follows a New York City skyscraper (the new Random House Building, in a deft bit of product placement) from architect's table to furniture deliveries, then pulls back for dramatic high- and low-angle shots, plus some historical background. Without stretching the metaphor too far, Goodman compares the building to a human body, its skin being the curtain wall, for instance, the mechanical and electrical systems its "lungs and guts and nervous system." She also introduces (and quotes) several specialized workers, describes the often-Byzantine scheduling required to run a midtown-Manhattan construction site, and strews the margins with random, child-friendly facts, such as the number of toilets in the finished building, or the average weight of a hard hat. A final page on the literally worldwide origins of the skyscraper's materials is a perfect lagniappe for this soaring, stirring account. (Nonfiction. 7-9)Read full book review >
THE TRUTH ABOUT POOP by Susan E. Goodman
Released: May 1, 2004

Declaring that "it's time take poop out of the closet," Goodman plops factual pellets from human and natural history alike into topical chapters covering dung's nature; production; varieties; uses in love, war, and, yes, sports; the development of flushing toilets (pointedly scrubbing the myth that Thomas Crapper was solely responsible); toilet paper; and urban waste reclamation. Smith takes on the subject with appropriate lack of gravity, adding lots of small, pop-eyed animals and people amid flushes of comic-strip dingbats. The author brings up the rear with recommended paper and web resources. A steaming pile of fun, redolent of wide-ranging research but most suited to recreational dipping, and a fine lead-in to Masoff's monumental Oh, Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty, illustrated by Terry Sirrell (2000). (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2003

Goodman tells the story of Robert Henry Hendershot, the famous "Drummer Boy of the Rappahannock." Robert runs away from home to join the Union army and finds himself at the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862, three months after Antietam. Ambrose Burnside is now in command of the Army of the Potomac, taking General George McClellan's place, and Robert is his drummer boy. Not so much the story of the war or even the single battle, this is about one boy's chance to prove himself and make his mother proud. It is a 12-year-old's view of his role in one major battle. Robert crosses the pontoon bridge, takes a prisoner, becomes famous, and meets President Lincoln. He even has a poem written about him. As the author is careful to point out, this is a novel based on a true story. She has "dreamed up" Robert's conversations and private thoughts while staying true to the essence of Robert's actual story. This entry in the Ready-for-Chapters series succeeds in presenting an interesting slice of history and explaining its context in an afterword. It is a good example of how an early chapter book can provide substantial historical material in a simple format and still do its subject justice. A solid offering for young readers. (poem, bibliography) (Fiction. 6-9)Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2001

A dozen young teens undergo simulated astronaut training in this fascinating photo journal that's packed with information on NASA space flights, training equipment, and kid comments about the rigor and excitement of preparing for space travel. Students experience extreme force in the Space Shot, try walking in reduced gravity using the Gravity Chair, and launch their own shuttle, Endeavour, from a simulated Mission Control Station. They develop problem-solving skills working with Legos, and develop teamwork, attempting to construct a cube of PCB pipes underwater. Each page has full-color photographs of the teens using the specialized training equipment and exploring real space modules. There are Amazing Space Facts side boxes, and photographs from NASA astronauts on space missions. Quotes from the participants enliven the text, and the author also imparts odd and interesting facts about how real astronauts manage eating, sleeping, showering, keeping clean, keeping cool, and urinating in space. Written with abundant good humor, this is a really attractive addition to the series with lots of kid appeal. (glossary, bibliography, acknowledgments for sources, no index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2000

This author took children on previous field trips to Adventures in the Amazonian Rain Forest (1995) and Wading into Marine Biology (1999). Here, she takes a dozen children to spend a week at the Kings Landing Historical Settlement in Prince William, Canada. Leaving Walkman and sneakers behind, the children dress in period costumes, slop the hogs, go to a one-room school and learn about everyday chores and living conditions in the 19th century. The author and photographer document the Ultimate Field Trip with photos of smiling children writing with quill pens, churning butter, setting type in the print shop, and chopping wood. They are costumed in everything from pantaloons and corsets to flowered bonnets. Color photographs also include puzzle boxes, which display an unusual object from the past. The reader is invited to guess the purpose of the object. Some are easy—for example: an iron, skate blades, or an old hat box; others, like the hearse with winter snow runners, will mystify. The answers are given in upside-down captions below each object. Since houses in the restoration span the time from 1830 to 1870, the young viewer may have difficulty sorting out the exact time period, but there are plenty flavors of times past. Readers will enjoy the lively dialogue as the children discuss what they liked and didn't like about "living" like long ago. The author concludes with a brief glossary of unfamiliar terms, suggested further reading, and the Web site of the Kings Landing Historical Settlement. (Nonfiction. 9-12)Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 2000

Goodman (Ultimate Field Trip #3, p. 799, etc.) offers the riveting and true account of John Walsh, who has dedicated his life to saving animals. The subject is surprisingly accessible in the Ready-To-Read series format; the suspense of the story will keep emerging readers turning pages. The tale opens in Suriname, a jungle in South America, where Walsh is hurriedly canoeing to reach trapped animals before the rising water levels overtake them. A dam that has been built across one of Suriname's rivers is causing the water to back up and flood the jungle. Walsh and his crew are plucking sloths off of the topmost branches of trees and saving starved tortoises from their perches on the last bit of dry land. The two other chapters cover Walsh's exciting work in a Kuwaiti zoo after the Gulf War, and in Kobe, Japan, in the wake of an earthquake. Full-color photographs on every page enrich the already evocative text. (Nonfiction. 6-9) Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 1999

In a third travelogue chronicling a middle school field trip, Goodman and Doolittle (Stones, Bones, and Petroglyphs, 1998, etc.) observe students on a week-long visit to Cobscook Bay, Maine. Each short chapter represents a day in the life of a field classroom—from a close examination of tide pools to whale-watching on the open sea. The middle schoolers consider conditions of an environment reputed to have the highest tides in the world, pondering questions such as how a barnacle clings to rock or whether mussels stick together for protection. The students count creatures, measure the slope of the beach, test water; they turn into detectives, scanning tide pools for hermit crabs, dog whelks, purple sponge, and young lobster. They witness "salmon Olympics," spy cormorants and puffins through binoculars, and pause to study the hard-to-catch rock eel. Their easy banter threads through much of the text, which addresses their questions on, for example, the moon's gravity as the cause of tides, and the air bladders used by seaweed to float. Anyone who has curiously peered into a tidepool will appreciate this peek at blood star and anemone, arctic tern and harbor seal, along with the kid's-eye view of the bay. (glossary, further reading) (Nonfiction. 8-12) Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1998

This scrapbook chronicle of an archaeological field trip combines photo album with scientific inquiry, following a format identical to Goodman's previous venture, Bats, Bugs, and Biodiversity (1995). Packing water bottles and smelling of sunscreen, a group of eighth graders from Hannibal, Missouri, embark on a field trip much more than a bus ride away to the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, aiming to dig up the past of ancestral Puebloans (formerly called Anasazi), who lived on mesas and canyon tops of the Southwest desert over 700 years ago. Corn-grinding tools masquerade as stones, an ancient fingerprint hides in the mortar of bricks, a small animal skull poses the puzzle—pet or food source? Inklings of a way of life unfold for the participants and readers, as the adults emphasize that it's not ``what you find, it's what you find out.'' The dialogue sounds scripted and stiff; information and theories are detailed in a more successful narrative form. Speculation as to the fate of the ancestral Puebloans is addressed in periodic insets titled ``Why Did They Leave?'' Interspersed with sweeping full-color postcard views of canyon and kiva are more candid snapshots. Readers will vicariously follow along as the joking junior archaeologists piece together fragments of history both scientifically and experientially. (glossary, further reading) (Nonfiction. 9-12) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1995

A fascinating look into aspects of the natural world that are imperceptible to humans. Goodman (Bats, Bugs, and Biodiversity, p. 857), addressing readers in the second person, explains that in the apparently tranquil world of nature, animals exist in an extra- sensory dimension. Human hearing is pedestrian compared to that of owls, who are so good at locating the sounds of their prey, they almost ``see with their ears.'' The author offers readers a unique look at animal behavior, with examples such as mosquitoes, which select their targets with all of the sophistication of heat-seeking missiles, and fish that detect movement in the water through their lateral-line system. Goodman makes readers look at the natural world from an entirely fresh perspective. Duncan's full-color illustrations are pleasing but accompany, rather than enhance, the exhilarating text. A provocative concept; a wonderful read. (Picture book/nonfiction. 8-12) Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 1995

Michigan meets the Amazon in this photo essay about 74 7th and 8th graders who spent a week in a Peruvian rain forest. Goodman discusses plants and animals in various layers of the rain forest, how scientists study the biome, why it's important, and how Amazonian Indians live; her enthusiasm leads to forgivable lapses of preachiness. The book successfully shares the daily activities of the students who attended survival camp and explored the rain forest. Their comments and quotes from their journals, peppering the narrative, range from the didactic (``I used to think, So what if trees are being cut down on the other side of the world, it doesn't affect me. Now I know that it does affect me and we can't sit back'') to the refreshingly kidlike (``I counted my [bug] bites and I ended up with 103 on my whole body and fifty-five on my left leg alone. Pretty gross.'' An energetic layout is occasionally confusing; quotations and photo captions sometimes are given similar type treatment, implying that the speaker/writer is the one pictured, without stating it outright. The full-color photos have the immediacy of snapshots, catching the children eating, cooking, dancing, and exploringthis must be the ultimate camping trip. (glossary, further reading) (Nonfiction. 10-14) Read full book review >