Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Two Amazing Books About Animals

    Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From Alyson and others, you will discover terrific nonfiction picture books!
      I have a second post and giveaway today, a YA spooky book that will please those who love creepy books.
While at the Highlights Poetry Retreat, I had time to read this book, a beautiful non-fiction picture book. It follows a year in a red fox's life, and this one happens to be named Vixen. The reader observes her finding food in all the seasons, hunting and digging, escaping enemies, finding a mate and raising her new kits.  At the end, Vixen and her mate know it's time to say goodbye to the adolescent kits, off to live their own secret lives. Illustrations by Kate Garchinsky show well the beauty of a fox's habitat, and Lawrence Pringle includes interesting facts as he tells this story of a red fox's year.  The book also includes back matter with added information, a glossary, and further resources. 

         I've had this book on hold from the library for a while, and finally, it arrived. What a gorgeous, fascinating, and beautiful picture book Katherine Roy has created. She states that her fascination with elephants began with a stuffed one in her earliest years, and continued. She's researched and spent time on safari through several African countries (there's a map), consulted countless resources, including those interested in saving this species, and illustrated the book with both scientific diagrams (like the 'many-tooled trunk) and poignant 'family' pictures of a herd and a baby growing up. What did I love especially: learning how a 200-pound baby's legs and feet are prepared for it to talk within an hour of birth. And, how the trunk may be "the most versatile animal appendage in the world." Eventually this "six foot long, 300 pound nose" will help an elephant bathe, communicate, dig, pick up things like a fork or a pincer, and act as a snorkel. Roy's way of showing the written text is diverse. The page about the way an elephant uses its extraordinary ability to interpret different smell, filled with color swirls. Amazing!
         Roy organizes the story from birth on, sharing the ways a baby elephant must learn in order to survive, like standing, eating, staying cool and communicating. Sounds like humans, yes, a little bit, perhaps also because elephants are one of the special species that travel in families, caring for each other and their young. Roy arranges the pages with long prose segments explaining the each "how-to" in the learnng of baby elephants. In between, she writes shorter parts that explain that particular behavior in elephant actions, usually with gorgeous illustrations. The sight in one spread shows a large group of elephants, marching on, looking for food and water. And another wonderful "look" at the baby is its first visit to a water hole, splashing and, yes, smiling!

Additional resources are found at the back of the bus, including a wonderful author's note. It is a book to savor!


  1. I hope your Highlights visit was wonderful!

  2. I can't wait to read How to Be an Elephant. It looks visually stunning.

  3. Yes! I love both of these books, so much! I've got Elephant on my Mock Sibert and Caldecott lists.


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