You’re going to LOVE this charming STEM beginning chapter book series called Zoey and Sassasfras! Seriously. Love it. It’s written by former science teacher, Asia Citro, and illustrated by Marion Lindsay with a total of three books so far. It’s entertaining and well-written with the coolest mix of science and magic, a diverse main character, and fantastic illustrations. This series is perfect for independent reading or reading together.
Zoey learns that like her scientist mother, she can see magical creatures. She also learns that her mother helps injured creatures. When her mom leaves town, Zoey listens for the special doorbell that indicates a magical animal needs her help. (With the help of her cutie cat named Sassafras.)
Soon, a tiny, sick dragon shows up. Zoey grabs her helpful Thinking Goggles that help her, well, think. She starts by comparing the dragon to other reptiles she knows like snakes. Then she wonders what dragons like to eat.
In her science journal, Zoey writes her question with her hypothesis, that dragons might like to eat: worms, apple slices, eggs, cheese, marshmallows, cereal, or a granola bar. She guesses that the dragon will like to eat worms best, then carefully tries out each food using the same steps. As she does, she observes what happens (dragons do not like cereal!). The image below shows her step by step method.
It’s impressive how seamlessly Citro incorporates this STEM information into the story — kids won’t even notice they’re learning something!
Zoey learns that the dragon likes Marshmallows so that’s what Zoey names him.
But the next day, Zoey discovers that Marshmallow isn’t doing well. Luckily Sassafras is curled around him to keep him warm because Zoey realizes that reptiles are cold-blooded and she forgot to provide heat.
Once Zoey solves the heat problem, she notices Marshmallow still isn’t feeling well.
Her dad reminds her that one time she got a tummy ache from eating too many marshmallows. Zoey reads more about reptiles and experiments again to determine if her dragon is a carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore so she can help him eat and feel better.
The story ends with Zoey’s mother returning from her trip, the dragon getting better, and the dragon going back into the wild.
Download this free printable Scientific Method sheet for your kids to do their own experiments! Maybe if they look hard enough, they can find a dragon, too? (Just click on the image below to download the sheet.)
Kids will zip through this fabulous STEM beginning chapter book series because it’s entertaining and engaging. Not only will they be practicing their reading skills, they’ll be learning something about science as they read.
Don’t you love it?
Here are all the beginning chapter books in the series thus far:
I HIGHLY recommend all the books in this STEM science and magic beginning chapter book series!
Disclosure: I was sent a review copy of book #1 and liked it so much I bought #2 and #3 myself.
Download my "Can't Put 'Em Down" book lists for your kids ages 3 - 13.
Also, I'll send you a bonus "23 Reasons to Read" printable poster!