Category Archives: animals

All Through My Town by Jean Reidy, illustrated by Leo Timmers

Today Biblio Links welcomes prolific picture book author Jean Reidy! Jean’s picture books are full of rhythm, rhyme, and fun–perfect for sharing with young and emerging readers. Her latest–and sixth!–picture book, All Through My Town, was released earlier this year to rave reviews.

Here’s the summary from the publisher’s website:

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Rising, waking
Bread is baking

School bus honks its horn

Who are the people in your neighborhood? Perfect for the pre-K set, this adorable rhyming text takes a walking tour of your community. The fresh modern art of Leo Timmers features hidden details and a perennial theme reminiscent of Richard Scarry. Little ones will beg to re-read again as they discover the characters who repeat throughout the art in this sweet and vibrant story.

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All Through the Town is a fun, rollicking romp through a fictitious town from a toddler’s point of view. The take-away here is that everyone counts–we all play a role in making our communities hum like a well-oiled machine. The text rolls off the tongue–perfect for reading aloud. Publishers Weekly calls the illustrations “…an undeniable feast for the eyes,” and a feast it is from cover to cover.
Here’s what Jean had to say about using All Through My Town in the classroom.
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-2-3Biblio Links: A student walks into my library and I think: That kid needs a copy of All Through My Town. Who is this child?

Jean Reidy:  It’s a kid who is insanely curious, who loves to explore, fully engage and interact with a book, and who will spend gobs of time studying the illustrations. That kid might be one who demands rereads during which new details, discoveries and self-referential moments are revealed and reveled in. It may be a kid who is just on the brink of reading. He’s ready to proudly recite the text, aided by the rhythm and rhyme pattern. Finally, it’s a kid who devours all thing busy (think fans of Richard Scarry) – sites, sounds, vehicles – a kid who is possibly even wearing a beloved fire chief hat.
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Biblio Links: I love that there’s so much to discover in this book! The illustrations invite us to take a second look (and third, and fourth…) and the text is so catchy that even pre-readers will be reciting the text after a few read-alouds.
If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using All Through My Town in a lesson or with a small group, what might we see or hear?
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Jean Reidy:  You might find kids dressed as community helpers and performing jobs in a classroom make-believe town, complete with a post office, library and grocery story. The class could be playing community helper Bingo or make-a-match with rhyming words or acting out the many action verbs used in the story. Students might be performing an oral reading – with the honking, beeping, shrieking, ringing, city sounds – as well as rapping with the rhyme, rhythm and repetition in the book. Or you might find a fireman or policeman visiting as a special guest speaking to the kids about safety. The class may even be “out” of the classroom, touring a local bakery or library or touring their own neighborhood and then drawing neighborhood maps. Many, many more ideas for use in the classroom can be found in my free downloadable teacher’s guide here

Biblio Links: The teacher’s guide really is amazing–so many activities to choose from! It also includes author and illustrator interviews, which are great for classrooms who do author/illustrator studies.  
Where can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?  
 

Biblio Links: Thanks for joining us, Jean!

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The Nitty Gritty~

Read the glowing reviews here.

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s

Publication Date: March 2013

ISBN: 978-1619630291

Interest Level: 3-6 years

Number of Pages: 32

Thanks to Sheila at Book Journeys for starting this meme, and Jen (Teach Mentor Texts) and Kellee (Unleashing Readers) for turning it into a kid-lit meme! Click here for more Monday reviews.

Thanks to Sheila at Book Journeys for starting this meme, and Jen (Teach Mentor Texts) and Kellee (Unleashing Readers) for turning it into a kid-lit meme! Click here for more Monday reviews.

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And the Winner Is…Amazing Animal Athletes by Etta Kaner, illustrated by David Anderson

amazing animalThere’s a lot packed into these 31 pages–a comic-style layout, sidebars with quick facts about the featured animals, running jokes from the peanut-gallery sports fans and event participants–yet it doesn’t feel too crowded or overwhelming. Even the page set-up is well planned, with a double page spread introducing four animals and their attributes, then asking the reader to guess which of the four would take the gold medal in a particular skill–speed, high jumping, etc. Turn the page to find out the winner and how a human’s performance in the same event would compare. Each animal’s size is taken into consideration, so the winner isn’t always the animal you’d think. For example, the best long-jumper is the Rocket Striped Frog–in proportion to its size, the length of its jump would compare to a human jumping the length of a football field.

Although the publisher says that this is for readers from ages 4 to 8, I would definitely hand this to older kids who are struggling and/or reluctant readers.

Publisher’s description:  In this unique facts book, animals compete in sporting events such as high jump, swimming and weight lifting. Readers are encouraged to guess which animal will win before turning the page, while walrus and cockatoo “announcers” provide funny commentary and interesting statistics about the athletes’ amazing abilities. This is a winning format for kids who want to know which animals can be faster, stronger and more powerful, and how humans compare.

Hand this book to the kid who:

* is interested in animal facts

* reads joke books, riddles, and plays on words

* enjoys comics and graphic novels

* loves numbers, stats, and math challenges

Use this to teach:

Animal Units–All students in the U.S. study animals and habitats at some point during their elementary school years. In addition to the animal facts, there’s also a quick review of habitats around the globe at the start of the book.

* Research--This would make a nice springboard for kids’ own animal research projects. Using the same format, students could come up with their own events and animal participants.

*Predicting–Children can use their own background knowledge to make predictions at first. Once they’ve caught on that the winners aren’t always the obvious choices, they’ll likely make more thoughtful predictions as they read further.

*Proportion–Challenge older  kids to calculate how other animals would fare in similar competitions.

* Olympics–Display this alongside traditional sports books for a winning Olympic display.

The Nitty Gritty~

Click here for reviews.

Publisher: Kids Can Press

Publication Date: April 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1-55453-904-8

Number of Pages: 31

Reading Level: Fountas & Pinnell: N (3rd grade)

Interest Level: Ages 4 to 8 (Although I’d give this to older struggling readers in a heartbeat…)

Thanks to Anatastia Suen for creating Non-Fiction Mondays, and to Prose and Kahn for hosting today!

Thanks to Anatastia Suen for creating Non-Fiction Mondays, and to Prose and Kahn for hosting today!

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Click here for more children’s book recommendations that highlight science, technology, engineering and math!

Bogart and Vinnie: A Completely Made-up Story of True Friendship by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Henry Cole

Did you know that in 2011, the United Nations designated July 30 as International Friendship Day?  If not, no worries–you can celebrate friendship any day of the year with Audrey Vernick’s newly-released picture book Bogart and Vinnie: A Completely Made-Up Story of True Friendship.

9780802728227Publisher’s Description:    When Vinnie, a crazy-happy dog, gets lost while visiting a nature preserve with his family, he finds comfort in the company of Bogart, a big, lazy rhinoceros. Vinnie loves his new friend, but Bogart would rather just take a nap. A friendship soon blossoms–even if Vinnie’s definition of “friendship” is very different from Bogart’s–and when word of their unique situation spreads, Bogart and Vinnie are a worldwide sensation! But as soon as their fifteen seconds of fame ends, what’s left is a bond even Bogart can’t ignore.

Pairing picture-book veteran, Henry Cole, with up-and-coming author, Audrey Vernick, this clever spoof of the unendingly popular interspecies animal-friendship story is full of heart and humor.

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As an elementary school librarian, books on friendship are in high demand, not only from kids, but from teachers and guidance counselors, as well. Far from being didactic, Bogart and Vinnie is funny and poignant and entertaining–exactly what we’ve come to expect from Audrey Vernick. Illustrator Henry Cole has also done an amazing job. His work is so diverse, from the serious…

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to the silly:

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Take a look at the expressions of the faces of Bogart and Vinnie on the book’s cover, and you’ll have a good idea of how both Cole’s art and Vernick’s words make a pitch-perfect match.

obj469geo247pg8p25I asked Audrey how readers  connect with Bogart and Vinnie.

Biblio Links: A student walks into my library and I think: That kid needs a copy of  Bogart and Vinnie: A Completely Made-Up Story of True Friendship. Who is this kid?

Audrey Vernick: It’s actually a few different kids.

First, it’s a kid who likes to laugh. I recently read it with a child entering second grade and we both had so much fun. While she needed help with some words, her delight in discovering the humor herself was infectious. I think she was accustomed to being read to, especially her first time through a book. But the way she both decoded text and then understood, about a second later, that what she was reading was funny was absolutely delicious to watch. In terms of humor, I think a child who pays special attention to illustrations will have a lot of fun with this book–Henry Cole brought a tractorload of hilarious details.

I also think Bogart himself will be appreciated by the kind of reader I was–one who, even at a young age, had a respect and need for solitude. I still remember sitting with a book in the rocking chair in my bedroom, by myself, by choice, at a very young age. Though Bogart the rhinoceros would not fit in a rocking chair, the idea of time to himself is as appealing as it is impossible, once Vinnie enters his life.

Biblio Links: If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using your book in a lesson or with a small group, what might we see?

Audrey Vernick: I think the teacher might have recently read Owen and Mzee, FC9780439829731or one of the many, many, many interspecies friendship picture books. And the teacher might be asking about the difference between those nonfiction tales and this completely made-up story of true friendship. He or she might also wonder, as I did, how the authors of those books defined friendship–does interaction always imply friendship? Does being photographed next to each other mean animals are best friends? The teacher might also ask the students in that small group to focus on the illustrations to see if sometimes what’s being shown in the pictures doesn’t exactly line up with what the text says–for example, are the animals really playing follow the leader, or is Bogart trying to lose Vinnie?

 Biblio LinksWhere can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?
Audrey Vernick: My websitewww.audreyvernick.com,
bloghttps://literaryfriendships.wordpress.com,
facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/AudreyVernick (as well as pages for my books), and
twitter: @yourbuffalo

Biblio Links: Thanks for stopping by, Audrey!

Check out Audrey’s middle grade novel, Water Balloon (Biblio Links interview hereand picture books, Bark and Tim,  Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? (Biblio Links interview here) and Teach Your Buffalo To Play The Drums, So You Want to Be a Rock Star? (Biblio Links interview here) and picture book biographies She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story and Brothers At Bat Biblio Links interview here).

The Nitty Gritty~

Publisher: Walker Children’s

Publication Date: June 2013

ISBN-10: 0802728227

ISBN-13: 978-0802728227

Interest Level: Ages 4 and up

Number of Pages: 40

Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons by Sara Levine, illustrated by T.S. Spookytooth

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Publisher’s description: What animal would you be if your finger bones grew so long that they reached your feet? Or what if you had no leg bones but kept your arm bones? This picture book will keep you guessing as you read about how human skeletons are like—and unlike—those of other animals.

My thoughts: As soon as I read the e-galley of Bone by Bone, I ordered a copy for our school library. It’s rare to find a book on life science that’s so appealing for very young children, yet has lots to offer for upper elementary kids, as well.

The various fonts are visually appealing without feeling too busy, and delightful illustrations  help readers to imagine what they might look like if they had, say, extra vertebrae (a tail) or finger bones that reached the ground (like a bat’s webbed fingers). The information is delivered in a clear, straightforward manner with a Q&A format that will get kids predicting before each page-turn.

The back matter–sections titled More About Bones and More About Vertebrates, and recommended books and websites for further reading–can all be used for differentiating instruction for kids who want to go more in depth with the information in the book. Struggling readers or English Language Learners can use the illustrations to grasp the book’s main idea.

Although this is an any-time-of-year book, it would be fun to include Bone by Bone in a Halloween display. Highly recommended.

P.S.: Scroll down this post’s comments section for some great ideas suggested by the author herself, Sara Levine.

Hand this book to the kid who:

* is curious about how things work

* loves animals (Bone by Bone‘s author, Sara Levine, is a veterinarian)

* claims to be a budding scientist

* Enjoys “guessing” books with a Q&A format

Use this to teach:

Animal Units–All students in the U.S. study animals and habitats at some point during their elementary school years. Most non-fiction animal books for young children cover the basics: habitat, diet, life cycle, protection, etc.. But if you’re teaching kids to use more than one print resource in a research project, this would give them additional facts not usually found elsewhere.

*Comparing–One of the things I like best about this book is that every skeletal feature that the reader learns about an animal is compared to what that same feature would look like in a human. Older kids can use math to calculate comparisons by percentage. For example, the book tells us that a giraffe vertebrae is 10 inches long. Let kids research how long the average human vertebrae is and calculate the giraffe-to-kid ratio.

*Health–With all of the math, language arts, science and social studies standards that we have to cover in a year, health is that subject on the report card that often gets the short shrift. Using Bone by Bone in the classroom covers language arts, science, math and, that report card step child known as health.

* Non-Fiction Text Features–Introduce young readers to these non-fiction text features from the book: labels, key words in color (vertebrates and non-vertibrates), and glossary

The Nitty Gritty~

Classroom resources and author interview here.

Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group/Millbrook Press

Publication Date: August 1, 2013

ISBN-10: 0-7613-8464-2

ISBN-13: 978-0-7613-8464-9

Number of Pages: 32

Interest Level: K-4

Thanks to Anatastia Suen for creating Non-Fiction Mondays, and to Sally's Bookshelf for hosting today!

Thanks to Anatastia Suen for creating Non-Fiction Mondays, and to Sally’s Bookshelf for hosting today!

stemfriday.tiny

Click here for more children’s book recommendations that highlight science, technology, engineering and math!