Sunday, December 12, 2010

Animals All Around: pairing amazing books with a set of animal figures (ages 2 - 8)

Children are fascinated by animals. Young children want to learn their names, older children soak up facts and information about each animal. I love pairing great visual books with a set of quality animal figures for children to play with. Here are three of our favorite books.
Creature ABCCreature ABC
by Andrew Zuckerman
SF: Chronicle Books, 2009
ages 2 - 8
available on Amazon and at your local library
Zuckerman has created an amazing ABC book, based on his adult coffee-table book Creature. Animal are photographed in crisp, vivid details, against stark white backgrounds. First, you read just the letter and see one photograph of the animal. Young readers will try to guess the animal name. On the next page, you read the animal name and see another striking photograph of the animal. Throughout, the animals are photographed in striking poses full of movement or placed in interesting compositions focusing on a particular detail. Preschoolers will have trouble holding this thick book on their laps, but they will come back to it again and again. Older children, far beyond typical ABC books, will be fascinated by the photographs. Yes, the facts at the end are a bit random, but in our local library, every single copy is checked out. Here's a sample to take a look at:
Creature ABC
Out of SightOut of Sight
by Francisco Pittau and Bernadette Gervais
SF: Chronicle Books, 2010
ages 3 - 8
available on Amazon and at your local library
This striking book drew my 1st grader and my 4th grader right to it. They loved looking at the clues, guessing the hidden animals and lifting the flaps to read a brief fact. Each page spread uses a different technique to show just a part of the animal: silhouettes, patterns, and cutouts only showing noses and tails. Beneath each flap, there is a clear painting of the animal, and on the inside flap is a brief fact. This is a perfect partner book to share, as it's large enough to fit across two laps. My younger daughter even started to read some of the facts along with her big sister. One criticism does stick: the facts are brief and a bit random. This book would have benefited from added information in the back, perhaps with details about the animals and a map showing where they live. Even so, it will be a big hit in our home and library.

Schleich Set of 6 Wild AnimalsBoth of these books would be great with a set of quality animal figures. We have loved Schleich animals, adding to our collection each year. You can also search for single Schleich animals like a hippo, hedgehog, ostrich or giraffe. Learning Resources also does a set of jumbo animals you might like.

Check out the Nonfiction Monday Blog Roundup at Books Together this week for more great nonfiction reading.

The review copies were kindly sent by the publisher. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion will go to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you). Thank you for your support.


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