My First Look at a Food Chain.
A New Butterfly:
My First Look at Metamorphosis.
A Seed Grows:
My First Look at a Plant's Life Cycle.
Pamela Hickman. Illustrated by Heather Collins.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, l997. Each book 17 pp., hardcover, $6.95.
Preschool - grade 3 / Ages 3 - 8.
These are the owlets
that were fed by the owl,
that caught the snake,
that swallowed the toad,
that gobbled the bug,
that fed on the wildflower,
that grows in the field
where Jill plays.
The above excerpt represents the entire text (excluding description and fold-out explanations) of, as you may guess, Hungry Animals: My First look at a Food Chain. Pamela Hickman and Heather Collins have created a delightful nature series that is sure to entertain, as well as instruct. These attractive books are mid size, approximately six by six inches. The realistic, full-colour illustrations should make them a useful resource for any early years teacher with spring and science on the brain.
The books all follow a narrative pattern wherein each page builds on the preceding page. For example, A New Butterfly begins, "This is the tree that Connie climbs." Page two continues, "This is the leaf that grows on the tree that Connie climbs." Page three carries on, "This is the butterfly that landed on the leaf, that grows on the tree that Connie climbs." The repetition, along with easy-to-read large print and simple vocabulary, will encourage independent reading as readers become more familiar with the text. The rhythm makes the books enjoyable to read aloud. The simple narrative and pictures will interest younger audiences, and older children wlll appreciate the book's scientific, informative aspects.
Every second page of each book folds out to supply more detail about the text or to point the reader to new areas of interest. The first fold out of A New Butterfly illustrates and names insects that can be found under the bark of a tree. The fold-outs help explain the scientific drama underlying the main text and are generally clear and helpful.
'Notes to Parents' offers tips on how to expand the ideas in the books, provides things to try at home (eg. how to successfully keep a caterpiller until it turns into a butterfly), and suggests how to explain the necessity of the food chain, brutal as it might seem to some children.
These economical, user-friendly and colourful books deserve a place on home and school bookshelves.
Leslie Millar is a mother and substitute teacher.
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Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Manitoba Library Association
TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS ISSUE - APRIL 11, 1997.
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