Monday, June 1, 2015

Nonfiction Monday: Daylight Starlight Wildlife by Wendell Minor

I can hardly write this review I am so dazzled by the gorgeousness of this book. Wendell Minor's stunning paintings and it uses one of my favorite words, "crepuscular"!

*deep breath*

So, every bit of this book if perfectly, amazingly designed. Starting with the endpapers, which show animal tracks on yellow at the front and on blue at the back. I am no good at animal tracks, but I assume they are the track of diurnal and nocturnal animals. The first spread gives a simple explanation of how day and night works with a selection of animals on each side. Then the book moves to comparing specific animals. Diurnal red-tailed hawk has a full spread, then nocturnal barn owl. A woodchuck with babies wanders across the top of a page in the sunlight, while a skunk and her family walk in the opposite direction, at night, across the bottom. The simple story ends with an encouragement to imagine the animals out at night and watch for those coming out during the day.

The final spread of "Fun Facts" explains diurnal, nocturnal, and crepuscular (hello favorite word!) and then has thumbnails of all the creatures in the book with more information about each and their designation.

Minor's lush paintings are both detailed and engrossing, with hidden animals to search for and plenty of color and light to create a feast for the eye. The subjects are skillfully chosen to be both similar and different, creating a wealth of concepts for discussion in storytime or in a classroom. Comparing butterflies and moths, gray squirrels and flying squirrels, and more, would make this an excellent subject for a flannelboard or craft as well.

Verdict: This is an absolute must for your library, from the stunning artwork to the masterful presentation of concepts, to the opportunity to explain and explore similarities and differences. Highly recommended.

ISBN: 9780399246623; Published 2015 by Nancy Paulsen/Penguin; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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