ZooBorns: The Newest, Cutest Animals from the World’s Zoos and Aquariums

zooborns: the newest cutest baby animals from the world's zoos and aquariumszooborns: the newest cutest baby animals from the world's zoos and aquariums
Title: ZooBorns: The Newest, Cutest Animals from the World’s Zoos and AquariumsZooBorns: The Newest, Cutest Animals from the World's Zoos and Aquariums
Authors: Andrew Bleiman, Chris Eastland
Genre: Non-Fiction Picture Books
Age Category: 6 to 9 years

Non-Fiction Picture Book Summary

ZooBornsZooBorns: The Newest, Cutest Animals from the World's Zoos and Aquariums is a non-fiction picture book portrait gallery of roughly 100 baby animals born in zoos and aquariums around the world.  Each “zooborn” is featured with several photos, and basic biographical information—name (if the baby has one), species, location of the zoo or aquarium where it lives, date of birth, and the conservation status of its species (e.g., extinct in the wild, endangered, critically endangered, threatened, etc.).

Along with the basic data, the book provides information and anecdotes about each animal, sometimes including part of the story of the particular baby animal in the photos (e.g., if it was rescued, what its personality is like, what it likes to do, etc.), and interesting facts about the species.  In particular, the book highlights connections between zoo breeding programs and efforts to conserve threatened or endangered animal populations. Continue reading

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The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau: Summary and Review

the fantastic undersea life of jacques cousteau by dan yaccarino cover artthe fantastic undersea life of jacques cousteau by dan yaccarino
Title: The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteauthe fantastic undersea life of jacques cousteau by dan yaccarino
Author: Dan Yaccarino
Genre: Picture Books for Children (Nonfiction)
Age Category: 6 to 8 years

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Today, in honor of Nonfiction Monday, I’m reviewing Dan Yaccarino’s The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau.  I must say, this picture book made me nostalgic: I grew up fascinated by Cousteau’s television programs.  That history made me especially excited to weigh in on Yaccarino’s book.

Picture Books for Children: Summary

The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteauthe fantastic undersea life of jacques cousteau by dan yaccarino is a delightful picture book biography of the revolutionary underwater explorer, filmmaker, and scientist, Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

The picture book begins with Cousteau’s boyhood, in which he overcame difficult health conditions by swimming in the Mediterranean Sea.  Yaccarino points to Cousteau’s fiercely determined and innovative spirit, even as a boy.  The picture book also brings out the fact that Cousteau loved to tinker as a boy; Yaccarino describes one occasion on which Cousteau bought a movie camera with his own money and then promptly took it apart to see how it worked.

The turning point in the picture book comes when Continue reading

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Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman: Summary and Review

Are you my Mother? by P.D. Eastman, cover art
Title: Are You My Mother?Are you my Mother? by P.D. Eastman
Author: P.D. Eastman
Age Category: 3 to 5 years
Genre: Picture Books (Beginner Books / Easy Readers)

Well, I’m a bit late with this—Mother’s Day was last Sunday—but I couldn’t resist.  This is one of my favorite Beginner Books / Easy Reader picture books.  A classic.  I still remember reading it with my mom when I was about four…

Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman: Summary

Are You My Mother?Are you my Mother? by P.D. Eastman by P.D. Eastman opens with a mother bird sitting on a big yellow egg in her nest.  The egg starts to jump and shake, so the mother bird decides she had better go and find some food to feed her baby bird, who is about to arrive.  Soon after she flies away, the egg hatches, and the baby bird asks, “Where is my mother?”

Since the baby bird can’t see his mother anywhere, he decides to go looking for her.  He steps out of the nest, falls to the ground (can’t fly yet!), and sets off on an adventure to find his mother.  He encounters a series of things—a kitten, a hen, a dog, a cow, a steamboat, an airplane, and a large steam shovel that he calls a “snort” (because it snorts!)—and asks each in turn, “Are you my mother?”.

Finally, as the baby bird is puzzling over the snort, the huge machine Continue reading

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Easter Stories for Children: Petook, by Tomie dePaola, Caryll Houselander

Petook: An Easter Story, by Tomie dePaolaTitle: Petook: An Easter StoryPetook: An Easter Story, by Tomie dePaola
Illustrator: Tomie dePaola
Author: Caryll Houselander
Age Category: 3 to 5 years +
Genre: Picture Books

Creating good traditional Easter stories for children is difficult for a couple of reasons.  First, the traditional story is quite violent, so a graphically illustrated version of the story could be quite shocking or disturbing for a young child.  Second, the deep significance of the story can be pretty complicated for a young child, and so creating a picture book that tells the story in a way that is both true to New Testament theology and understandable for a young child is challenging.

Some picture books navigate these challenges by simply presenting the text from one (or several) of the Gospels along with illustrations that are not overly detailed.  I think Easter: The King James VersionEaster: The King James Version, by Jan Pienkowski, by Jan Pienkowski is a tasteful example of this approach.  As the title suggests, Pienkowski just presents relevant parts of the King James text, which she illustrates using silhouettes so the pictures are not too gory.

However, as I see it, the trouble with Easter stories for children that take this approach is that Continue reading

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Story for Children about Saint Patrick: Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland, Tomie dePaola

Tomie dePaola, Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland, story for children about Saint PatrickTomie dePaola, Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland, story for children about Saint Patrick
Title: Patrick: Patron Saint of IrelandTomie dePaola, Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland, story for children about Saint Patrick
Author: Tomie dePaola
Age Category: 6 to 8 years
Genre: Picture books

If you are looking for a story for children about Saint Patrick to help explain the significance of St. Patrick’s Day to 6-to-8-year-olds, Patrick: Patron Saint of IrelandTomie dePaola, Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland, story for children about Saint Patrick is a great one.  This children’s book is a brief, charming biography of St. Patrick, with the added bonus of several interesting legends about Patrick appended after the strictly biographical part.

Story for Children about Saint Patrick: Summary

As dePaola tells it, Patrick grew up in Britain near the Irish Sea during the late 4th- and early 5th-century CE, in the twilight of the Western Roman Empire.  One night warriors from Ireland landed on the shores near his home, raided local farms, and took many people into captivity, including the teenage Patrick.  Patrick was sold into slavery, and was forced to Continue reading

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