Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Linking Non-Fiction Books

art by Sarah S. Brannen
      Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  This 2018 is her seventh year hosting this meme. Just imagine all the marvelous books she has shared!
      From her and others, you will discover and want to celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books!
      





       
           Kings Play Chess On Fuzzy Green Squares, well sometimes. And when you read this book about Carolus Linnaeus and his "Naming of Everything", you will also learn "Kangeroos Play Cellos, Orangutans Fiddle, Gorillas Sing". Either one can be used as a mnemonic for the classification Linnaeus created through his lifelong and painstaking work identifying and problem-solving the "how-to" make order from the millions of living things on earth. The first is one I used with my own students and the second is one given in the added author's notes in this book. The first letter of each word coordinates with Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species. In this story of Linnaeus by Anita Sanchez, she tells of his passion for learning about the living things in their garden, hence the title's words, "Karl, Get Out of The Garden." His mother and father wanted their son to become a minister, but he hated the endless study indoors and his parents were told he "wasn't smart enough to become a minister". He was headed for apprenticing as a shoemaker, but thank goodness one teacher suggested that Karl's love of plants suggested he might be a doctor. At that time in the early 1700's, "plants" meant "medicine". His parents consented!
       Karl was undaunted in his motivation to create a system of organizing all living things and he is credited with naming more than 12,000 plants and animals throughout the world. During the time he was doing this work, he also taught, and took many students out into the world to journal to note a plant's or animal's characteristics. (My students did this, too. What wonderful learning is involved when one examines a single thing and creates observations in words and sketches. It is exciting to learn about and apply classification.) Those students who then traveled all over the world also collected for their teacher, took notes and sent the species (if possible) and the notes back to him which is one way Linnaeus was able to identify so many, many species.
       Catherine Stock's illustrations are like detailed journal sketches in lovely watercolor that show the action in the story, from young Linnaeus being calmed by flowers brought in to him to the crowds who opposed him. Sometimes dialogue is added when it seems necessary. There are balloon speeches giving the words that many thought should be names for dandelions, like "Swine's snout" and beautifully written words that Linnaeus himself wrote added to the pages. All gathered together makes quite an inspiring and fascinating story of one man's legacy to scientists and lay people everywhere who want to know the science of living things. 
       Anita Sanchez has added more information about Linnaeus and classification, a timeline, resource notes, and a bibliography in the back matter. On the inside front and back covers are lovely browntone sketches of plants by Catherine Stock.


        Owen Davey's books teach much about the animals he's chosen to research. The fascinating thing about the book is that Davey owes much of his research to other work, and directly to Carolus Linnaeus. This particular book is wonderful, offering, in beautifully-wrought collages (including a life-sized side picture of the head of a roaring tiger), terrific information about cats, from the house cat to all the wild ones. Included is their behavior and ways of survival (how to capture prey, which lives where, specific characteristics in looks, ways to hide, speed, families, etc.) There is a small part of the mythology of cats: human interactions and stories. For anyone wishing to learn basic information and/or for young researchers, this is certainly a terrific book to have.

10 comments:

  1. I really loved Karl, Get Out of the Garden! Just put Crazy About Cats on reserve. If Randy wasn't allergic, we would definitely have a kitty. I miss them all...Calico, Peppy, Sweet Pea, Zorro...

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    1. I wish I had had the book about Linnaeus when I taught. We studied classification all the time in our field work. I wish I had a cat, too, but my son & daughter-in-law are allergic, too. I understand! Thanks, Laura!

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  2. I hadn't heard of Karl, Get Out of the Garden, but I just ordered it from the library.

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    1. I enjoyed it very much, Annette. Hope you do too!

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  3. Great pairing. It's always nice to build upon something new learned.

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    1. Yes, you're right, Earl. These two books will be loved by kids!

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  4. I love the Owen Davies books. I have Smart About Sharks and Mad About Monkeys too. Children really enjoy them.

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    1. When I looked for this Davies book on Goodreads, I did discover the other two, new to me. Yes, I'm sure they're terrific, too. I really loved this one about cats!

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  5. "Karl" would've been a great book to use in high school to learn why we had to learn the naming of everything!

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    1. Yes! I did a lot of classification and learning about it with my middle school students, too. Great book!

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