Monday, March 25, 2019

Spinning, flipping and popping to learn

A couple of nonfiction books that recently caught my eye are from the publisher 360 degrees. What I liked their approach to lift-the-flap books for older kids. 

In Focus: Close-ups, Cutaways, Cross Sections, 10 Illustrators created by Libby Walden is a general information book that covers a range of topics from both the natural and human-made worlds in a unique way.  Each double spread focuses on a theme providing a random but interesting selection of facts about the creatures or things represented. These two pages then fold out to a four page spread to take the reader even deeper into the facts.

For example, the first spread is about the ocean. Featured are various sea creatures such as the blue whale, sea horse, puffer fish, swordfish, jellyfish and starfish, to name a few. We learn a pertinent fact or two about the animals from the front pages such as the blue whale is the largest animal to have ever lived on the planet and typically lives between 80 to 90 years.  Or that starfish are not fish and though commonly seen with 5 arms they can have as many as 40. Or that jellyfish have been around more than 650 million years!  Flipping open the top pages, we see cross sections of the animals exposing their skeletons and internal organs. From here, there is more detailed information. Did you know that the heart of the blue whale is the size of a small car weighing in at 770 kg or 1550 lbs? Amazing.

Topics covered are: the physical structure of homes found worldwide, space and space vehicles, international landmarks, various plants, animals and geological features, everyday objects, well-known buildings from around the world, fruits and vegetables, land animals and modes of transportation.  Wide ranging, indeed.

The second book is Wilderness: an Interactive Atlas of Animals by Hannah Pang. This one also uses flaps, pop ups and spinning wheels to engage readers about an array of animals from all continents both land and water.

The formats are the draw here and there are many of these kinds of trivia/random information books out there.  The illustrations are well done and support the informational tidbits.

I see these as interesting resources for classrooms but not necessarily crucial.  These books will appeal to some kids  and could be used in centres or for individual reading time. Elementary and middle grade students are the best audience for these books.


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