Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Hirschi and Mangelsen: Great Partnership

There's a Tom Mangelsen gift shop in the Denver Airport. Lucky me -- my flight (back in June) was delayed 5 hours, so I had plenty of time to shop!

I found two books, one new and one newish, written by Ron Hirschi and illustrated with Mangelsen's photographs.

Lions Tigers and Bears: Why Are Big Predators So Rare?
Boyds Mills Press, 2007
recently reviewed at A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy

My nonfiction collection needs to be updated and I need to get back to a better ratio of fiction:nonfiction read alouds. This book is a good start on both goals.

This book has seven short chapters, each about a different big predator: cougar, polar bear, lion, cheetah, tiger, grizzly bear, and killer whale. In each chapter, Hirchi paints a picture with words that describes the animal in its habitat. He tells how the animal lives, and how it has come to be threatened by humans: habitat loss, over-hunting, pollution, global warming. He also tells what is being done and what can be done to protect the dwindling populations of these magnificent animals. And who better to show us (as opposed to telling us about) these gorgeous creatures than Tom Mangelsen. Along with Jim Brandenburg and cloudscome, he is my favorite nature photographer.

Searching for Grizzlies
Boyds Mills Press, 2005
with drawings by Deborah Cooper

This book is a combination of factual information about grizzlies in the main text, and the story of the grizzly "hunt" (armed with cameras, camping equipment, and fly fishing gear) told on faux journal pages. The book is also illustrated with photos, as well as "journal" sketches of wildflowers and birds and animal tracks. There's a lot to look at, and something for every reader. It's a book to go back to again and again. I can imagine lots of discussions about nonfiction reading strategies with this book. Some might read the main text first, exclusively. Some might do the same with the journal-y text. Some might "read" the pictures first. And, of course, for some, there might be a new strategy for each page, depending on what caught your attention first.


  1. I need to balance my read-alouds with more non-fiction, too. I love reading the Russel Freedman books to my kids, especially Children of the Wild West and Buffalo Hunt. I've never heard of the author you mentioned but they seem worthy of searching out.

    Found your blog from another one (mentortexts, I believe). I'm a third grade teacher from PA getting my master's in the Reading Specialist program.

    I'll be back again; thanks!

  2. A sincere thank you!

  3. I just read 'Moxy Maxwell', and then read Franki's review of it, and I love how you compared Moxy to Clementine and the way you said everything in your post. Well done. :)


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