Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature

Last updated Thursday, July 24, 2014

Author: Joyce Sidman
Illustrator: Beth Krommes
Date of Publication: 2011
ISBN: 054731583X
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Aug. 2014

Synopsis: What makes the tiny snail shell so beautiful? Why does that shape occur in nature over and over again—in rushing rivers, in a flower bud, even inside your ear? With simplicity and grace, Joyce Sidman's poetry paired with Beth Krommes's scratchboard illustrations not only reveal the many spirals in nature—from fiddleheads to elephant tusks, from crashing waves to spiraling galaxies—but also celebrate the beauty and usefulness of this fascinating shape.

Note to readers:
•  At the end of the story, there is a page that explains what a spiral is and also gives examples of different kinds of spirals.
•  Do a picture walk through on each page by identifying the animals and swirls.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What different things can you identifying on the front and back cover of the book?
•  Have you ever seen a spiral? What kind?
•  What stands out in nature?

•  coiled - to move in a circular, spiral, or winding direction
•  expand - to increase in size, number, or amount
•  grasping - to clasp or hold firmly
•  cling - to stick to something as if glued
•  clever - having sharp or quick intelligence

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What are some of the animals you see in the book? Have you seen these animals in nature?
•  What other shapes do you see in this book?
•  What other spirals are there in this book besides the animals?

Craft ideas:
•  Have the kids recreate their favorite scene from the book, and use items such as pipe cleaners and ribbon in order to make the swirls stand out.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!