Monday, July 18, 2011

Nonfiction Monday: Backyard Wildlife: Raccoons by Emily Green; Squirrels and Chipmunks by Derek Zobel

I’m focusing on our easy reader collection this year, adding replacements for classic easy readers and trying to create a strong, balanced collection with a variety of reading levels and subjects. I’m especially looking to add more nonfiction easy readers, so I borrowed several titles from Scholastic’s/Bellwether Media Blastoff! Readers series, Backyard Wildlife. This series includes various common animals; including the three I borrowed which look at Squirrels, Raccoons, and Chipmunks.

Each book has a table of contents and about 18 pages of information, including basic identification, habits, some special abilities like climbing trees or storing food in pouches, what the animal eats and where it lives... A very brief glossary, additional book titles, and a link to the publisher’s website for more information and links to other websites and an index complete the book.

Each spread has one or two simple sentences on the left and a colorful photograph of the subject animal on the right. The photographs are attractive, but I found the overall design of the pages a little annoying, as the top quarter of every spread is taken up by a colored swirl matching the cover of the book. I’m not sure why, but it looks kind of silly to me.

Verdict: This is a good easy reader series for kids who like animal nonfiction and want to learn some basic facts about the animals they may see every day. They are library bound, so the discounted $18 price is a bit steep – I usually don’t pay more than $12 for hardback easy readers, but I’ll probably splurge on a couple of these because I haven’t found anything similar and they’ll round out all the “weird animals” nonfiction easy readers and juvenile I’ve purchased.


Published August 2010 by Scholastic; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library

Chipmunks
ISBN: 9781600144387

Raccoons
ISBN: 9781600144448

Squirrels
ISBN: 9781600144479



1 comment:

Jackie Castle said...

These look like they would make for great research books in primary classrooms. I think starting with the animals they see everyday would make for some interesting projects.