Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Small Readers: Turtles by Laura Marsh

National Geographic easy readers are pretty standard buys for me; I have a lot of beginning readers who like nonfiction and I also find them a good choice for adult readers who need something that's a lower level but not too "kiddish." I usually only read them when I'm using them in a program though. I selected a couple titles we hadn't used yet for my upcoming September book club meeting and so I needed to read them first!

This is a pretty typical National Geographic easy reader, full of simple facts and colorful photos. It starts by explaining how turtles are categorized as reptiles, the difference between turtles and tortoises, and the general makeup of their bodies. Turtles' diets, habitat, and reproduction are all covered. There are also sections of interesting facts about turtles, a section on sea turtles, and descriptions of various unusual turtles. The final spread lists some of the challenges facing turtles and how kids can get involved from not keeping them as pets to collecting garbage. The back matter includes close-up pictures to solve and a simple picture glossary of four terms.

While there is an image of a turtles' skeleton, I would have liked to see a more clear statement that a turtle can NOT come out of its shell without dying. Kids see that way too often on cartoons and turtles are killed or injured often as a result. Other than this quibble, this is an excellent introduction to turtles. Although it's labeled a level 1 though, it's more suitable for more advanced/older readers. The vocabulary is generally simple but it does have more complex sentences, especially in the facts sections - those have smaller font as well. It would also be a good book for partner reading with the child reading the big, simpler sentences and the partner filling in the other text.

Verdict: The colorful photographs and interesting text make this a good addition to your nonfiction easy readers. I expect it to be a pick for many kids in my upcoming book club as well. Plus, who doesn't like turtle pictures?

ISBN: 9781426322945; Published 2016 by National Geographic Kids; Purchased for the library

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