I went to Cover to Cover to pick up two middle grade novels that are on my To-Be-Read pile. If you have not been following Donalyn Miller on her Book Whisperer blog, she is finishing a book a day this summer. This has been costing me a bit of money so after this new update, I had to order COSMIC and THE WATER SEEKER. I am excited to read them both.
I wasn't in the mood to buy much else. My house seems to have been taken over by books that I don't have time for. So, as Beth showed me several new books, I told her that I had to REALLY REALLY love them if I was going to buy them. Well, I found two that I just LOVED LOVED LOVED--I totally needed them.
The first was a nonfiction book called ORANGUTANS ARE TICKLISH: FUN FACTS FROM AN ANIMAL PHOTOGRAPHER by Steve Grubman and Jill Davis. The cover makes you want to pick it up--a great photo of a fun orangutan! This is a great book that I am sure kids of all ages will love. Each spread focuses on one animal. Against a white background, the animal photos are amazing. A few paragraphs of a good size print accompany each animal. The writing is fun and includes lots of fun facts about each animal. My favorite part is the photography info. As an introduction to the book, Steve Grubman tells about his life as an animal photographer--what is involved, how he prepares, the number of people who help at a shoot, etc. Then throughout the book, Steve gives a little tidbit about each animal photo shoot. He says things like, "I had to lie on my belly to get this shot." The final pages of the book include more fun facts. This is a great book in so many ways. The photos are amazing. But the writing is fun. It would be a great mentor text for kids doing any research writing on animals. Each animal has a few paragraphs of writing next to the photo. They are good samples for kids to learn from. I also love the photography piece--I love that it is embedded in the text. Kids can really enjoy the book but also stop to think about how they created it. It is a great combination.
The other book I picked up was SWIM! SWIM! by Lerch (a snazzy, handsome, charismatic fish). I was drawn to this one because it is a great picture book in graphic novel form. If I find great graphica for young children, I like to buy those to add to the collection. This is definitely a picture book but it is set up in graphic novel/comic form with frames and talking bubbles to tell the story. This is the story of Lerch--a fish in a bowl who is desperate for a friend. He looks everywhere and almost gives up. (Even though he is by himself, his words and thoughts give you an insight into his amusing personality:-) Finally, when he has almost given up, he has a friend. The ending leaves readers with a bit to wonder about. There is lots to love about this book too. First of all, the illustrations are great. Great colors. Huge characters whose eyes and facial expressions tell so much of the story. The text is simple enough for newer readers but the story is interesting enough to hold the attention of older kids. An all around fun book.