By Alena Rivers
Some recent additions to the Butler Center’s 2017 nonfiction collection include picture books for young children exploring birds and insects. In keeping with our review of books that highlight ALSC’s Core Values (collaboration, excellence, inclusiveness, innovation, integrity and respect, leadership and responsiveness), the books selected for this week’s post exemplify integrity and respect for the learning needs of young children. Both books are published by Holiday House; a publisher known for their strength in delivering informational books of this nature.
More than 20 birds and their nests are featured in this illustrated picture book for young children. Readers will enjoy exploring birds of all sizes in a variety of habitats that will prompt discussion about the various colors of birds, their environments and the materials birds use to build their nests. Short sentences describe the location, materials, shape or other special features of each nest type.Large illustrations done in woodcut and digital tools give images of the birds and their environment an etched and slightly, textured feel. The color pallet is realistic and respectful of the blue, green and brown tones found in nature’s color pallet while highlighting the variety of colors found in a myriad of bird species.
A list of additional resources is not included but would be helpful for further exploration of the subject. Birds Make Nests is a clear and understandable introduction to birds and their distinctive nests. Recommended for ages 3-8.
Young children are introduced to P. Mantis, a praying mantis who shares the daily habits that characterize it as an intriguing insect. The lifecycle of the praying mantis is portrayed over a 5-month period from mid-May to mid-October in a first-person, diary format describing selected days’ events. Through the narrative, readers will feel they are getting to know P. Mantis as they learn interesting facts about the praying mantis’ birth, eating habits, living environment, predators and tricks used to keep predators at bay.
Colorful and realistic illustrations are done with acrylic ink and digitally enhanced.End papers are used to provide additional facts about the praying mantis that are supportive of the text and should not be overlooked. Web resources and a short glossary are included on the end papers as well. Recommended for ages 3-8.