Nonfiction Monday – Animals, Animals

There are many, many books written every day about animals. Here are two recent publications for young readers that take innovative approaches to looking at baby animals.

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Baby Animals: Little Ones at Play in 20 Works of Art by William Lach presents works of art in a variety of media in which baby animals take center stage. Each full page work of art is accompanied by a facing page with two words of text in large font that read baby __. Young readers will find baby dogs, baby deer, baby elephants, baby owls, and more. Below these two-word descriptors is a single sentence on each page that tells what the particular baby animal is called. The baby deer page reads “Baby deer are called fawns,” and the baby bats page reads “Baby bats are called pups.” Looking at the selected pieces of art provides wonderful opportunities to try and guess the media they were created in. Pieces include an embroidered carpet (the cover image), a dragon robe, a bark painting, ivory carving, Japanese scroll painting, lithographs, and more traditional works in oil and watercolor. With few exceptions, nearly all of these pieces come from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Close to You: How Animals Bond by Kimiko Kajikawa presents photographs that highlight animal parents and their young during the intimate moments of bonding. Each full page photograph is accompanied by a facing page containing a short sentence about the animal pair. The rhyming text briefly describes how the animals communicate and/or share affection. Here is an excerpt.

nestle and go for a ride.
walk closely side by side.
pucker up, sniff, and lick.
whistle, clack, and click.

The pictures and text on each double-page spread are matted and framed by layers of color, with pages beautifully framed in purples, yellows, blues and oranges. The text ends by highlighting the ways in which humans show affection and caring. At the end of the book is an informational section that presents a bit of background information on each animal. A chart is also included that presents data on each of the animals in the book, including number of babies typically born, weight at birth, weight at maturity, and age of independence. Also listed are some animal web sites of interest.

Both of these books provide interesting views of baby animals and will make outstanding additions to collections for young children.

Book: Baby Animals: Little Ones at Play in 20 Works of Art
Author: William Lach
Publisher: Abrams Young Readers
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 46 pages
Grades: preK-2
ISBN: 978-1588391827
Source of Book: Copy received from publisher.

Book: Close to You: How Animals Bond
Author: Kimiko Kajikawa
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 32 pages
Grades: preK-2
ISBN: 978-0805081237
Source of Book: Copy received from publisher.

This post was written for Nonfiction Monday. Head on over to Anastasia Suen's blog and check out all the great posts highlighting nonfiction this week.

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