Saturday, October 31, 2009

2 New Nonfiction Books About Animals


I just found two great new nonfiction animal books for kids. I saw LIFE-SIZE ZOO by Teruyuki Komiya at our book fair a few weeks ago. I didn't pay much attention to it but today I actually spent some time with it and I LOVE it! The end pages in the front of the book serve as a zoo map as well as a Table of Contents. Very clever, I thought. So, when you see the Giant Panda cage, you know that the info on that animal is on pages 4 and 5. How could you not love this book right from the TOC? Then each 2 page (giant) spread focuses on on zoo animal. There is a real life photo of the animal--a part of it shown true to size. There is a bit of text to tell a bit about the animal. And then there is a side column that tells about the details in the close up. (This column gives info about the specific animal photographed and then has a section called "Time for Close-Up" which gives kids things to look for with each animal. For example, when we look at the tiger, we learn can see (close up) the black lips, the four huge fangs, and thick whiskers around his cheeks. We can even see that his tongue is rough like sandpaper. Each page also has a few interesting facts about the animal.A few of the pages have fold outs that allow us to see even more of the animal close-up.
I love this book for lots of reasons. It is perfect for little kids--the close up piece is a great conversation starter--so much to look at in the pictures because they are so close up. The text adds a great deal and kids can enter at lots of levels. Younger kids can learn from the photos. Older kids have lots to learn when they add the different sections of text. From looking on amazon, it looks like there is another one coming out in 2010!



The other animal book that I love is FLIP THE FLAPS: ANIMAL HOMES by Judy Allen and Simon Mendez. I discovered this book at Cover to Cover today. The book is organized into places where animals live. So chapter titles include Trees, Stones, Burrows, Ponds and more. Each spread focuses on one of these places and tells a little about the way that it serves as an animal home. On the right side of each spread, the reader finds a "Flip the Flap". On the flap are 3 questions about the animals that live in this place. When you lift the flap, the three questions are answered. Each page also includes other information that adds to the information given on the page. I see lots of possibilities for this book. First of all, it is such a great book to help kids understand the concepts of animal habitats. I also think it is a great format to use as a model for student writing. It is a fun way to think about nonfiction information.

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