My First Animal Library
Series of 50 titles
Kids love animals, and what better way to introduce nonfiction for early readers than with spectacular nature photography and easy-to-read text? Labeled photographs point out body parts and nonfiction stories tell about these animals’ life in the wild. Picture glossary reinforces new vocabulary.
|Interest Level||Kindergarten - Grade 3|
|Category||Beginning Readers, STEM|
|Subject||Animals, Science and Math|
|Number of Pages||24|
|Dimensions||7.75 x 7.75|
|Guided Reading Level||E|
|ATOS Reading Level||0.7-1.0|
|Accelerated Reader® Points||0.5|
|Features||Glossary of key words, Index, and Table of contents|
Library Media Connection (Carrie Randall)
These titles all have boldly colored page layouts. Full-page photographs draw readers in and show detailed parts of the title animals, their predators, food, eggs/babies, and habitat. Most page spreads consist of controlled vocabulary, emergent reading text. Each book begins with information about the animal’s activity at night followed by “Parts of the Body,” “Picture Glossary,” and “To Learn More.” The latter feature provides a safe, relevant site for beginning web searchers. Pages that highlight terms are separated in a bright contrasting text box, making a strong visual impact. This series is recommended for libraries in need of more primary nonfiction titles.
Series Made Simple
With simple sentences; sharp, uncluttered photos; and just a handful of facts, these animal profiles are generally on target for the intended audience of new readers. Each book narrates one day in the life of the animal, introducing basic behaviors within the story. Iguanas, for instance, mentions the importance of tails, scales, and other specifics, neatly reinforced by well-chosen photographs. The absence of details such as size and geographic range is appropriate, given the consistently simple vocabulary and minimal text. The daylong narrative format is not completely effective. While words describe a particular animal’s day, photos clearly depict several different species. Attempts at drama have limited impact because the described interactions with other animals, such as an eagle’s search for a sloth are obviously two separate, unrelated photographs. The set will answer only the most basic questions about these animals but should spark the interest of the youngest readers.
Series Made Simple
These “day in the life” snapshots of wild animals are designed to entertain children while teaching basic animal traits. The content highlights key physical characteristics, behaviors, diets, and nesting spaces. Bald Eagles and Opossums, the only titles using feminine pronouns, also reference the species’ young. Chipmunks focuses on the fall season leading into winter, while Badgers and Opossums take place at night. Anthropomorphisms and exclamation points are used in every book, mostly to convey fear or happiness (for example, in Eagles, “Wow! A fish!…. Yum!”). The bright colors and clear photos are mostly well chosen, although the occasional use of obvious stock photos does detract from the text. For instance, in Skunks, a skunk is featured outdoors in a grassy area, but the threatening bobcat appears surrounded by white space, and the difference in setting is likely to confuse readers. VERDICT The short sentences and carefully selected vocabulary will please new readers.