My First Day: What Animals do on Day One
by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
Houghton Mifflin Books, 2013
Another great title from this terrific team shows what happens when different animals are first born. The reader learns how some like the turtle are ready to take care of themselves as soon as they hatch, while others need moms to feed them and keep them safe. Some things are particularly sweet – like the zebra mom who memorizes the pattern of her babies stripes so she can find him among thousands of zebras in the herd. While the focus is on what happens on the first day, the end of the book provides more information on each animal. The illustrations are once again top-notch with the cut and torn paper bringing the animals to life against simple backgrounds with natural colors. Lovely addition to any collection – home, school, or library.
by Brenda Z. Guiberson, illustrated by Gennady Spirin
Henry Holt, 2013
Beautifully detailed and realistic paintings make this book about frogs a stand-out in picture book nonfiction. The illustrations take the reader into the setting, as a short paragraph on each type of frog tells about their origin, their song, and a bit about them. “In Ecuador, the song of the Surinam toad rattles across the swamp. CLICK-CLACK.” I'm not sure that the description of the tunes as CHIRP-CHWEET and SWEE-SWEE are really enough for me to "hear" the songs, but it's a nice angle for a new book about frogs. The book’s end gives range, length, and a quick fact about each featured frog, along with a note to the reader about the plight of our frogs. A bibliography and online resources are included at the end and the website has additional learning activities (Which maybe should include the sounds. Think about it?) Overall an informative and genuinely gorgeous book.
Eye on the Wild: Gorilla
by Suzi Eszterhas
Francis Lincoln, 2012
I’ve been keeping an eye out for books about animals that feature great photography. Well, add "Eye on the Wild" to your Smithsonian and National Geographic titles. The series has several titles available already, including ones on a cheetah, lion, and brown bear. The photos take center stage with a couple of short sentences on each page. There is a personal touch to the writing, which seems intended for younger readers, “The gorilla mom loves her baby very much. She holds her all the time and gives her lots of hugs and kisses.” As the book really follows one baby gorilla growing up, there is some additional information about gorillas in general at the last page of the book. The only issue for the book is a lack of bibliography, but otherwise a great addition to animal nonfiction with appealing photography.
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