Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Non-Fiction - Must Reads

  
              Thanks to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at Kidlit Frenzy, everyone shares wonderful non-fiction picture books. I am fortunate that my library had both the following books, and that I didn't have to wait long for them. 



Will’s Words: How William Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk - Jane Sutcliffe and John Shelley

          It’s a simple format, author letter at the beginning and the end, and in between, lots of information presented clearly. Each double-page spread overflows with people, those living in London, on their way to the theater, especially to the Globe Theater. On the left, a small explanation of some part of life connecting to Shakespeare’s writing and the theater. For example, explaining that the Globe was more like a football stadium than our traditional thoughts of theaters today. And there were no restrooms. Jane Sutcliffe shares that looking for one “would have been a wild-goose chase,” which is a phrase that Shakespeare gave us. It is found in Romeo and Juliet, Act Two, Scene IV.
        On the right sits another box explaining the words, what they meant then, and now, and where they can be found in one of Shakespeare’s plays.  


        The illustrations are fabulous double-page spreads, bringing colorful crowds of people into life in their communities, on the way to the theater, and watching the plays. There are scenes of the actors and the audience with varied expressions on the faces, which add to the story, too. Scenes that are found in the explanations are sometimes played out in the illustrations, which are as fascinating to view as the words are to learn about.  A timeline and an extensive bibliography can be found at the back.


a close-up - Every face with great expressions


From Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore, the team that wrote and illustrated Parrots Over Puerto Rico and The Mangrove Tree comes Prairie Dog Song!
           With Denver spreading ever further into the prairie, there has been continuing controversy over taking habitat away from prairie dogs, and although this book is not about Denver, I now know even more why these animals, now determined to be a keystone species, are important to an ecosystem. Using beautiful collages, and an old folk song, known as a “piling up” song, the authors first tell the tale of grasses, then how prairie dogs help them diversify, then burrowing owls, bison, golden eagles, and on. You will recognize the song. It begins with “There were some holes/in the middle of the ground,/The prettiest holes/That you ever did see./And the grasses waved/ All around, all around, And the grasses waved all around.”

            Below the song’s verse, there is a thorough explanation for each topic. For instance, this starting page speaks of grasses across North America, and prairie dogs. The next page tells more of prairie dogs, and the next of the alliance with burrowing owls, and on, all the way to experimenting with bringing back the original ecosystem, and keeping it safe. The book’s back matter is extensive, showing more of the collaboration of several organizations to keep a vast area as a preserve, the Janos Biosphere Reserve, in Chihuahua, Mexico. There is a timeline, more about the song, gorgeous photos, a glossary and source list.  If a class or individual is studying any part of how the environment works in balance, this will be a great beginning text that explains it so well. It could serve as a mentor for one’s own investigation elsewhere in our amazing earth.
One page to see! The author said she cut many blades of grass for the pages.

10 comments:

  1. I just watched a production of As You Like It and was startled by how many everyday expressions were in it--I assume invented by Shakespeare. I'm looking forward to reading this book.

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    1. That's terrific, Annette. This is exactly what the book is about. You will love it!

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  2. I think Kellee just read Will's Words too, sounds like a good book to find!
    When I was younger we would go on a road trip to Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico and my dad would tell us about the prairie dogs! Animals of my youth!

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    1. There is one place that I used to go to watch them, but it's nearer my other home, so haven't been there in a while. Yes, Will's Words is a great book, an interesting look at Shakespeare.

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  3. These both look like must-haves for me. Thanks for the reviews!

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    1. You're welcome, Jane. They are both terrific.

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  4. I am a Shakespeare fan so I'll be looking for that one. :)

    The second one looks good too. I loved the wonderful job they did with Parrots Over Puerto Rico.

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  5. Thanks Crystal! Both books are terrific.

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  6. William Shakespeare is definitely someone who I've been meaning to read but am so intimidated by the magnitude of his words and works.

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    1. I've studied and read plays during college (a long time ago), but with students, am no expert, but try one, like A Midsummer Night's Dream, so funny, & if you get the right edition it could have some notes to help. Thanks, Earl, enjoy these pic books!

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