Teaching Life Science with Children’s Literature: Who Eats What?


Who Eats What written by Patricia Lauber and illustrated by Holly Keller explores the intriguing world of the food chain.  This simple text explains  the intricacies of the food chain.  Who Eats What reinforces the understanding that all parts of the food chain are necessary to the success of the overall cycle.  The illustrations in Who Eats What clearly depict how “small fish are eaten by bigger fish, which are eaten by still bigger fish, which are eaten by even bigger fish.”  (pg. 23)   The book explores and explains why “food chains are found wherever life is found” by creating food webs in the sea, on land, and in the air.  (pg. 25)  The informative text as well as the colorful and exciting pictures make this a great book use when teaching about life processes and living systems.

Here are a few excerpts from the book.

  • “All food chains begin with green plants.  Green plants are the only living things that can make their own food.” (pg. 12)
  • “Most animals are part of several food chains.” (pg. 17)
  • “A change in one link is felt up and down that chain.  It is felt through the whole web.” (pg. 32)

Curriculum Connections:
Who Eats What
is a simple text with wonderful illustrations for children in  kindergarten and first grade to learn about the interdependent web of the food chain. For kindergarten students, this book will allow students to trace the entire food chain for one specific plant or animal.  Furthermore, Who Eats What demonstrates that living things change as they grow, and they need food, water and air to survive and that plants and animals live and die. (VA SOL K.6)  For first grade, Who Eats What is the perfect book to explain that plants have life needs and functional parts. (VA SOL 1.4)  

Additional Resources

  • This Enhanced Learning website has great basic information for teachers on trophic levels as well the grassland biome, the pond biome, and the ocean biome.  The website also offers 14 different types of worksheets that can be used as visual aids and well as assignments to  test the student’s overall mastery of the subject matter.
  • This Plant Activity Worksheet allows students to identify different parts of a plant and explain the function of those parts.  (A great teaching tool for VA SOL 1.4!)
  • This Science Teaching Idea Website offers over 50 resources for teaching life science to students in elementary grades.

Book: Who Eats What
Author: Patricia Lauber
Illustrator: Holly Keller
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: December 1994
Pages: 32 Pages
Grade Range: Kindergarten and First Grade
ISBN: 978-0064451307

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