I haven’t posted in a few weeks, but am ready to start the challenge of Alyson Beecher at Kid-Lit Frenzy, to read and share non-fiction picture books that are not only beautiful, but filled with good information in text and illustrations. It’s easy to fall in love with these books, and easy to learn something from each one. Here are the first books I want to share in 2015.
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No Monkeys, No Chocolate – written by Melissa Stewart & Allen Young, illustrated by NicoleWong
With a couple of cartoon bookworms adding humorous asides in the lower corner of the book, Stewart & Young tell the terrific story of the inter-relations of all those animals that help us get chocolate. They tell the story backwards, from the cocoa bean itself, to the midges that pollinate the flower, the leaf-cutter ants that are stopped from destroying the tree’s leaves by female coffin flies’ eggs, which turn into maggots that eat the ants’ brains. I hope you’re getting this picture, because eventually this complex path ends with monkeys! Remember, “no monkeys, no chocolate”. The authors tell the story, helped along with detailed and interesting illustrations by Nicole Wong. This would make a wonderful mentor text for students who are studying “how things grow” and “what they need”.
Something About A Bear - written and illustrated by Jackie Morris
It’s another wonderful bear book! This time, it’s about eight real bears, shown in their habitat in beautiful paintings, and the text tells quite a bit about each, although spare. The surprise is at the end, the best bear of all… What a cover!
On The Wing – poems written by David Elliott and illustrated by Becca Stadtlander
I adore books/poetry about birds, and this by David Elliott, displaying the look beautifully by Becca Stadtlander is a wonderful anthology of avian word play. Think crows: “caw-caw-phony” or hummingbirds, “always in a tizzy…busy, busy, busy”. And there’s more. The variety and cleverness of each bird featured delights, touches on either the look or the behavior of each bird. It’s a good book to add to the nature collection.
Neighborhood Sharks – written and illustrated by Katherine Roy
I love to open books and be surprised, and this one really surprised me. I thought it was a basic picture book that told about Great White Sharks, but it is that, and more. Roy uses such beautiful images, sometimes violent images, that show what a white shark does, hunt for food. And that food is primarily, in this book, pinnipeds. These are seals and sea lions and means “fin-footed”. So she begins with artistic paintings shwing the real hunt and the kill, but in between are numerous pages that discuss unique charactistics of sharks. There is a good page of back matter too. It’s a great book.
Everyone Prays: Celebrating Faith Around The World – written byAlexis York Lumbard, and illustrated by Alireza Sadeghian
My book-loving colleague shared this with me and I wanted to share with you. With so much strife and heartache in our world that seems to be about religious differences, I wonder why everyone doesn’t know that there are such connections among all the religions. This book is for young children, with simple text and gorgeously detailed illustrations, it’s a beginning look (and conversation) about where we are alike in our spiritual lives, praying. Although in slightly different ways, the author shows that all faiths use prayer for their own comfort and for celebration. I would have liked if more information had been included in the story itself. There is more in the backmatter, but it seems very basic, and doesn’t include some religions that might have been.