This is a great book to incorporate into outdoor science school, traditional curricula, or other environmental education programs or workshops. It is a book written (and beautifully illustrated) by two California natives to illustrate the wisdom and importance of every organism on earth. They do this by describing the lifetimes and consequential lessons that various “children of the Universe” teach us. The lifetimes of twenty organisms (plants, animals, and the earth itself) are featured in this book. The book begins with the day long, lifetime of a mayfly who teaches us how much can be accomplished in one day. The sixty-five year long lifetime of an elephant reminds us to be kind and gentle, especially to those who are not as big or smart as we are. The book ends with the average eighty-five ear lifetime of a boy or girl. We are important because we are “one of the most creative living things on the earth. [We] have the ability to take information and ideas and use them to imagine new ideas. [We] also have the ability to be one of the most loving and caring creatures on earth. By combining [our] ability to create and [our] ability to care, [we] can help make this “Spaceship Earth” a better place for all us passengers.”
I have used this book in a couple of different ways. When teaching a week long program with a consistent group of kids (or adults!), I have read two or three “lifetimes” a day and asked the group to pick out the adaptations of the organism. I have also used the lifetime of an individual organism to introduce ecological concepts like habitat, carrying capacity, competition, niche, cycles, etc. when I have less time and am doing a single daily or hourly program. “Tell about it,” “think about it,” and “look it up” questions occur with each lifetime description as well. These are great to either discuss out loud or have students/participants privately reflect upon in a journal or free write session. For example, the “tell about it” for an earthworm is “tell about a time when you did a good deed, such as picking up trash or helping a spider or bug, and no one say you do it.” The “look it up” states, “worms can tell if it is light or dark, even though they don’t have eyes. How can they tell?”
The great thing about this book is that it ends describing a human’s lifetime while challenging people to act. It empowers the readers (or listeners?) to appreciate and observe each organism for all of the contributions it makes to the world, life, and universe in general. It encourages people to make a difference. I like to read this story at the end of a week or day to motivate participants/students to apply what they have learned in any way they can.
— Clearing Magazine (Spring 2006)
PRODUCT RATING: OUTSTANDING
The book, Lifetimes, won the Learning Magazine Teacher’s Choice Award. Once you open the book, it doesn’t take you long to discover how and why this award came into being. This is a great book and combined with the Teacher’s Guide, becomes an excellent teaching resource for all children grades 4-6. You will most likely find that grade 3 students (depending on their skill levels) will also enjoy this book / set.
The book encompasses lessons in life such as the value of cooperation, the importance of saving for the future and taking time to have fun. By use of explicit and wonderfully depicted illustrations, as well as in depth look at the topics it covers, your child(ren) will enjoy this wonderful walk thru this great learning experience.
One of my favorite sections was the one on hermit crabs. This section depicts the life of a Hermit Crab, both little and well known facts about them are shared. It is a fun, new discovery on each page you turn. The book shares that “Hermit Crabs teach us that if we don’t like something in our lives, we can often change it. They also show us that when we cooperate, everyone comes out ahead.” (quoted from the book) The book then asks the reader to tell about some times when you cooperated and everyone ended up happy. Then it asks the student to think about it: How is a crabs borrowed shell like a motorhome and how is it different? (Each story, on each page, shares another “Tell About It” and “Think About It” section at the end.)
The Teacher’s Guide gives you 13, well designed and easy to follow and use lesson plans. These line up with many of the stories within the book and makes for an excellent classroom combo. You will have added much enrichment to your science and lifeskill studies when you incorporate their use within your classroom. It includes masters, mind-mapping suggestions, brain compatible lessons, cooperative learning strategies and benchmark standards have been given in their design.
Both you and your classroom will love this new set. I encourage you to check it out further and order it for your class. The price is very reasonable and the wealth of information and learning experiences within those pages is well worth the small investment.
— Education Clearinghouse – www.educationclearinghouse.org (December 2002)
For a mayfly a lifetime is but one day, for an earthworm it is about six years, for an otter about 20 years, for a human about 85 years, and for the universe about 20 billion years. Every living thing, no matter how long or brief its stay on this planet, has a lesson to teach. The mayfly teaches us that a lot can be done in one day. The earthworm teaches us that work is important even if it cannot be seen. The otter teaches us the importance of play, and the universe teaches us that we still have much to learn. Each page of this fine book is rich with dramatic illustrations and additional information about each species’ lifetime. Suggestions for activities for children are found at the bottom of each page.
— Green Teacher (Spring 2003)
Ever wonder how long insects, animals, trees, plants and humans live? Yeah? Well read Lifetimes by David Rice! It has all these cool facts, from how long mayflies live to why we need the sun to live.
Colorful illustrations will absolutely captivate both young and old readers. This book introduces children to the wonders of Mother Nature.
For instance, did you know that an army ant lives for three years, and that they march along like soldiers, sometimes a million at a time? They also work together like one great big family to get things done. Do you and your family work together at home like getting dinner ready or cleaning the house? Just think how fast you could clean your room if you had a million brothers and sisters. Whoa–talk about a traffic jam!
Each page comes with a question to think about or discuss at the bottom which encourages young readers to tell about, think about, and look up a particular lifetime fact. This book is packed full of interesting facts about the world around us — including the universe.
Lifetimes is recommended for children 4 to 12 years old. Yes, even a 12-year-old won’t be able to put this book down.
Here’s another fact, did you know the lifetime for corn is one year, and that people have been enjoying corn since native people in Mexico started raising it almost 5,000 years ago? Now that’s something to think about the next time you eat corn on the cob or a handful of popcorn.
If you’d like to discover the wonders of nature and have some fun doing it, read this book. You never know what you’ll learn from Mother Nature, life’s greatest teacher.
— Our Families
Did you know that a mayfly lives approximately one day? Or that an elephant lives approximately 65 years? Or that a giant sequoia tree lives approximately 2000 years? Each page of this informative picture book tells how long a particular plant or animal lives and provides a paragraph of factual material. The “Tell About it,” “Think About it” and “Look it Up” sections at the bottom of each page offer ideas for parents and educators who want to go beyond simply reading the text. Readers will come away from this book with a feeling that all life is important on planet Earth.
— Children’s Literature – Dori Butler
Lifetimes is a neat book that tells about how long different things live. One of the things with the shortest life is a mayfly. They only live for one day! That isn’t long at all! They lay lots of eggs in that day though and when the eggs hatch fish eat them. I guess they are kind of important since they feed the fish.
My favorite thing they showed us in the book was the Venus flytrap. I think those are pretty cool. We looked those up on the computer and watched one snap shut. I would like to see that for real. Those live eighteen years.
Lifetimes is a good book to learn about animals and things. I never knew how long some of these things lived before.
— Kids Reader Views – Cayden Aures (age 6.5) (June 2011)
This beautiful book describes the life span of various plants and animals and tells us what we can learn from them. We refer to it over and over again.
— Homeschool.com (August 2002)