Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Non-Fiction Picture Book Wednesday

Thanks to Alyson at KidLitFrenzy for hosting this weekly challenge.  There are so many wonderful non-fiction picture books these days - I just don't want to miss any of them!

The Eagles Are Back by Jean Craighead George and illustrations by Wendell Minor

In this book Jean Craighead George tells the story of how the American Eagle was brought back from possible extinction.  It is told as a narrative story about a young boy who helps a park ranger watch a pair of adult eagles - hoping the pair will take care of an egg inserted into the nest.  The boy helps the parents find food for their young adopted eaglet.  I liked how the book explained the reason the eagle was endangered and told how important the eagle was to to it's ecosystem.  One of my favorite lines was, "A nation of small animal citizens is sustained by the magnificent bald eagle."  This book is part of a series that George created with painter Wendell Minor.  There is also The Wolves are Back and The Buffalo are Back.  I haven't read the other 2 books but the collection would make a great addition to a study on the environment and endangered animals.  I enjoyed the book a lot - I am a big fan of Jean Craighead George, but the story left we wondering if the part about the boy helping the ranger and eagles is true.  What was the inspiration for the story?  Unfortunately, the book does not include an author's note.  I know my young students will definitely have lots of questions about the story too, which makes me think it could lead to a nice inquiry unit on eagles.  If you have never read any of George's books be sure to visit her website and checkout some of her books.  She was a prolific fiction and non-fiction writer, and has left nature lovers a wonderful collection of books.

Hip-Pocket Papa by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Alan Marks

How did I miss this wonderful book?  The book is written in narrative form and tells the interesting story of the tiny hip-pocket frog.  The little tadpoles are carried in the hidden pockets on the father frog's hip, until they have turned into froglets and can find food on their own.  The story reads like a little adventure as Papa frog bravely hides from predators, hunts for food and finally delivers his young froglets to a nice damp home.  The book is full of facts about the frog and includes other animals found in the Australian temperate forest.  This book would be a great addition to a study on frogs or amphibians, as well as Australian animals.  There is also a section in the back of the book that describes the other animals found in the book.

A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrated by Sylvia Long

What a beautifully, poetic book chock full of facts and information on seeds and plants.  Anyone doing a study on plants must have this book!  The illustrations are exquisite.  The drawings alone can be a focus on observing and drawing nature.  I checked this book out from my library, but I must get my own copy!  You should also check out related books by the same authors - An Egg is Quiet and A Butterfly is Patient.  You can find teacher's guides for these books here.

What non-fiction picture books have you been reading?


  1. These look like great nonfiction books for kids. Thanks for posting about them.

  2. All of the Dianna Aston and Sylvia Long books are favourites of mine. I think An Egg is Quiet is the most spectacular for me. Have you seen A Rock is Lively? I love your description of the Hip-Pocket Papa - looks like a great book and very accessible if it is told in a narrative style! Thanks for sharing these titles!

  3. Oh yes! I forgot about A rock is Lively.