Nonfiction Monday

August 26, 2012

Welcome to Nonfiction Monday.

Add your link in the comments and I’ll update the books throughout the day.

BROWN BEAR

Brown Bear

Eye on the Wild Series

Written and photographed by Suzi Eszterhas

Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2012

ISBN: 9781847802057

Nonfiction PB

Grades K-3

“Far away in the mountains of Alaska, in the middle of winter, two baby brown bears are born. It is so cold outside that they spend the first few months of their lives tucked away in a warm and cozy den, fast asleep next to Mom.”

Professional wildlife photographer Suzi Eszterhas has filled Brown Bear with an up-close look at brown bears, often called grizzly bears. The book begins with the birth of the cubs and traces their lives for the next two years as they learn to live on their own with their mother. The narrative text provides excellent details about their lives and explains the bears’ activities without anthropomorphizing them in any way. By the arrival of spring following the young bears’ third birthday, the young venture out on their own.

The writing is descriptive and well-done, and the photography is fantastic. The pictures show the bears in their natural setting engaged in activities that develop naturally and the up-close photos are amazing, showing them in their own environment.  

This is a terrific book to illustrate life cycles. It shows the bears in their natural habitat and could lead to a discussion of omnivores. It would be a good read-aloud and is full of fascinating facts about these animals. The final page provides more brown bear facts. This book is a fun read and I absolutely loved it. Other Eye on the Wild books in this series are about cheetahs, gorillas, and lions.

Activity

Look up information about polar bears and black bears. Create a way to compare the three different kinds of bears. You may want to include size information, young, food habits, and anything else you can learn. Present your information in an interesting way.

National Geographic has more information about brown bears.

Learn about polar bears here.

National Geographic has information about black bears here.

Take a look at the author’s new work on lions here.

National Science Standard: growth and development of organisms; social interactions

Book provided by the publisher, Francis Lincoln Children’s Books.

NONFICTION MONDAY BOOKS

Tammy at Apples With Many Seeds has posted about Alphabeasties and Other Amazing Types by Sharon Werner and Sarah Forss.

Jeff at NC Teacher Stuff has a review of When Did Columbus Arrive in the Americas? by Kathy Allen.

The Swimmer Writer  has Justin Bieber by Lynn Peppas.

Charlotte at Charlotte’s Library has Robotics: Discover the Science and Tecnology of the Future  by Kathy Ceceri with 20 projects.

Ms. Yingling Reads has The Red Tails: World War II’s Tuskegee Airmen by Steven L. Jones.

The Red Tails: World War II's Tuskegee Airmen

Louise at The Nonfiction Detectives has The Boston Tea Party by Russell Freedman.

Engaging Educators has “Five Paths Toward Literacy Immersion.”

Shelf Employed has a pair of informational books for the preschooler about to receive a new sibling, You’re Getting a Baby Sister! (Brother!) by Sheila Sweene Higginson.

Sue at Archimedes Notebook has  posted a review of City Fish, Country Fish  by Mary M. Cerullo.

Jennifer at Jean Little Library a review of Ancient Celts by Jen Green.

 

Tara at A Teaching Life has reviews of Allen Say’s memoir Drawing From Memory and Walter Dean Myers’ Just Write  on writing tips for young writers.

Anastasia at Anastasia Suen’s Blog has T is for Tutu by Sonia Rodriguez.

Roberta at Wrapped in Foil has Baby Flo: Florence Mills Lights Up the Stage by Alan Schroeder.

True Tales & A Cherry on Top  focuses on Marcel Marceau – Master of Mime ,with a shout-out to teachers.

Tricia at Miss Rumphius Effect has Potatoes on Rooftops: Farming in the City.

Janet at All About the Books With Janet Squires has Life in the Ocean : The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle, written and illustrated by Claire A. Nivola.

Lynn and Cindy at Bookends  review Tag, Toss & Run.

Rourke Educational Media reports on their new eRead and Report tool.


BROWN BEAR

August 22, 2012

Visit STEM Friday for more good nonfiction books.

Brown Bear

Eye on the Wild Series

Written and photographed by Suzi Eszterhas

Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2012

ISBN: 9781847802057

Nonfiction PB

Grades K-3

“Far away in the mountains of Alaska, in the middle of winter, two baby brown bears are born. It is so cold outside that they spend the first few months of their lives tucked away in a warm and cozy den, fast asleep next to Mom.”

Professional wildlife photographer Suzi Eszterhas has filled Brown Bear with an up-close look at brown bears, often called grizzly bears. The book begins with the birth of the cubs and traces their lives for the next two years as they learn to live on their own with their mother. The narrative text provides excellent details about their lives and explains the bears’ activities without anthropomorphizing them in any way. By the arrival of spring following the young bears’ third birthday, the young venture out on their own.

The writing is descriptive and well-done, and the photography is fantastic. The pictures show the bears in their natural setting engaged in activities that develop naturally and the up-close photos are amazing, showing them in their own environment.  

This is a terrific book to illustrate life cycles. It shows the bears in their natural habitat and could lead to a discussion of omnivores. It would be a good read-aloud and is full of fascinating facts about these animals. The final page provides more brown bear facts. This book is a fun read and I absolutely loved it. Other Eye on the Wild books in this series are about cheetahs, gorillas, and lions.

Activity

Look up information about polar bears and black bears. Create a way to compare the three different kinds of bears. You may want to include size information, young, food habits, and anything else you can learn. Present your information in an interesting way.

National Geographic has more information about brown bears.

Learn about polar bears here.

National Geographic has information about black bears here.

Take a look at the author’s new work on lions here.

National Science Standard: growth and development of organisms; social interactions

Book provided by the publisher.


MAMMALS

August 24, 2011

MAMMALS

by David Burnie

Kingfisher, August 2011

Navigators Series
Grades 4 to 7
ISBN #978-0-7534-6610-0
Middle grade nonfiction

“The first mammals lived side by side with the dinosaurs, more than 200 million years ago. Dinosaurs died out, but mammals survived to become the most successful animals on Earth. They vary hugely in size and live on land, in water, and even in the air. But all mammals share three special features—they are warm-blooded, they have hair or fur, and they raise their young on milk.”

Mammals begins with the definition of the characteristics that make a mammal, but it continues with so much more. Each spread of the 48 pages addresses the beginning of life through the varied ways of existence of a range of mammals and their characteristics specific to each group. The text on each spread addresses the specific information and includes fascinating sidebars about those mammals relating to the topic. The “Strength in Numbers” spread addresses rodents, but sidebars provide information about beavers, capybaras, rats, and ground squirrels. Small captions explain each of the numerous photographs and one quote relating to the topic is included.

“Follow the Leader” shows a herd of wildebeests across the Serengeti Plain while “A Better Bite” grabs the reader’s attention with a huge photo of a mountain lion—tongue, teeth, and snarl. Comparative skulls illustrate different kinds of jaws and the teeth they contain. The book ends with “Mammals In Danger” and what is being done to preserve these mammal species.

Back matter includes a glossary, index, and suggestions for further investigation by the reader in museums, documentaries, and conservation groups. The photos are a mix of large and small and engaging as well as adding information to the narrative text.

This book will appeal to younger readers who may marvel at the photos and read to learn more as well as the middle grade reader who can pore over each mammal group with a mature looking book. It would be a good way to introduce mammals and their characteristics and provoke interest in the different mammal groups and characteristics. It’s a fascinating book for elementary and middle school libraries.

Activity 1

Look up placental, marsupial, and monotremes in the mammal group. Develop a way to compare these different mammal groups and show why they are all mammals. Ideas may be shown using a PowerPoint presentation, an art project, or a classification chart.

Learn more about mammals here

The San Diego Zoo site has excellent mammal information.

Activity 2

Investigate a selected mammal and find out specific adaptations the species has developed to aid in its survival.

This site has individual mammal information.

Here’s more mammal information.

Activity 3

Look up endangered mammals and write an explanation of why that mammal is endangered and what is being done to protect that species.

Roberta at Wrapped in Foil suggested that the award-winning Can We Save the Tiger would be a good book to read for this activity.

Here’s good information about endangered mammals.

Learn more about endangered mammals here.

National Science Standard: structures and processes; biological evolution

Book provided by Kingfisher


Meerkat

June 1, 2011

Meerkat

A Day in the Life: Desert Animals Series

By Anita Ganeri

Heinemann Library,  Capstone, 2011

ISBN #978-1-4329-4773-6

Grades K-2

“What Is a Meerkat?

A meerkat is a mammal. All mammals have some hair on their bodies and feed their babies mil. Meerkats are about the size of large squirrels. They belong to a group of mammals called mongooses.”

The meerkat, in the mongoose family, are endearing little mammals that stand up tall to peer at the world, dangling their long front claws. The gray brown mammals are introduced to the reader in chapters that answers the chapter heading question. The book covers the description of meerkats, their activities day and night, food, babies, predators, and homes in simple language. The book’s large, up-close photographs support the text on each page.

Back matter includes a body map page with labels, a picture glossary, book and website recommendations, and an index in its 24 pages. The cover illustration shows a group of meerkats standing up and one has its mouth wide open, showing the pink tongue. This picture should attract kids to the book and the text will keep them reading.

Activity 1

Look up information about prairie dogs. Then create a Venn diagram to show the similarities and differences between these two groups of social animals.

National Geographic has good information about prairie dogs.

The Prairie Dog Coalition has interesting prairie dog information.

Activity 2

Look up the characteristics of mammals. Write an explanation about why meerkats are mammals.

This site has simple facts about mammals.

Enchanted Learning has mammal information.

National Science Standard: characteristics of organisms

Book provided by Capstone


Mountain Lions

May 11, 2011

 

Welcome to Nonfiction Monday at SimplyScience.  Add your links in the comments and I’ll update the list throughout the day.

Mountain Lions

by Sandra Markle
Animal Predators Series

Lerner Publications, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1-58013-538-2

Nonfiction

Grades 3-6

“It’s late June in Montana, but snow still lingers in the high forests. In open patches, new green sprouts peek through the winter brown grass. The tawny brown female mountain lion blends in perfectly. She moves slowly—almost silently—on big, padded paws, stalking a mule deer that’s grazing just ahead of her.”

Traveling from Los Alamos, New Mexico, toward the Jemez Mountains, right before dusk, I was surprised to see a mountain lion stride across the two lane road and leap onto the rocky cut along the side of the road. I’d never seen a mountain lion in the wild and the power and strength it showed in the short time I watched it move surprised me. I knew they were strong and big, but this was a real, wild animal. The thought crossed my mind that I lived not too far away and maybe I shouldn’t be taking such carefree walks through the trees.

Sandra Markle’s text and stunning photographs make this book a fascinating read. The book is in the series Animal Predators, and it begins with an explanation of predator/prey and the relationship. It explores the names mountain lions are called, and then moves on to explain in depth the life cycle and habits of the mountain lion. Mountain Lions traces the growth of the kittens until the mother moves on, starting the cycle again.

The book’s back matter includes a Looking Back section, which sends readers to specific pages to observe details. It has a glossary, further information section, recommended websites, and an index. One of my favorite pictures is one of the badger confronting the female, who has her ears pinned back.

This is an excellent book filled with facts, and while a reader may pick it up for the photographs, they’ll be drawn in for the detailed information.

Activity 1

Research another member of the big cat family, like lions, tigers, juaguars, or cheetahs. Choose one and create a Venn diagram comparing the cat with the mountain lion.

National Geographic has good information about mountain lions and the cat family. Scroll down to find out about the big cats.

Activity 2

Write a description of the habit a mountain lion needs in order to be successful. Conclude with the reasons why the big cats are threatened.

National Science Standard: life cycle of organisms; organisms and their environment

 Book provided by publisher

Take a look at the Nonfiction Book Blast blog. If you’re attending the 2011 ALA Conference, here’s what our panel is doing.

NONFICTION MONDAY

Take a look at all the excellent books and blogs featured on Nonfiction Monday.

Spam gobbled up the Three Turtles and their Pet Librarian, but I rescued it from the evil folder. My apologies–I moved you to the front!

Miss Ami and the turtles at Three Turtles and their Pet Librarian of southern NM went with the big dogs today with The Best Dogs Ever series.

Mary Ann at Great Kids Books has Michael Townsend’s new take on the greek myths with Amazing Greek Myths of Wonder and Blunder, a graphic novel retelling with plenty of humor and farce.

Roberta at Wrapped in Foil has Autism Spectrum Disorders  by Ana María Rodríguez.

Lisa at Shelf  Employed has What’s the Difference?

Abby at Abby the Librarian has a review of The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman.

Kim at Wild About Nature reviews SEED, SOIL, SUN: EARTH’S RECIPE FOR FOOD by Cris Peterson.

Jennifer at Jean Little Library has a review of Mathemagic by Lynda Colgan.

Brenda at  Proseandkahn reviewed a title to be added to her  library’s collection that will support a research activity.

Lori at at Lori Calabrese Writes!  reviews National Geographic’s Tornado! The Story Behind these Twisting, Turning, Spinning, and Spiraling Storms.

Amanda  at A Patchwork of Books has a review of Meet the Planets.

Jama at Jama Rattigan’s Alphabet Soup is featuring a review and mini interview with Leslie McGuirk about her amazing new alphabet picture book, If Rocks Could Sing.

Sarah at Books and Dogs and Frogs has books for the Summer Reading theme: One World, Many Stories. 

At Nonfiction Book Blast, Carla Killough McClafferty, author of The Many Faces of George Washington, answers five questions about her writing.

Sue at Archimedes Notebook reviews Seabird in the Forest by Joan Dunning.

Tammy at Apples With Many Seeds has Out of Sight, an animal book with many interesting facts.  

Alex at The Children’s War has a post on a book called The Cat with the Yellow Star.

Carol at Rasco from RIF has Way Out in the Desert this week.

Heidi at Geo Librarian has a review of The Many Faces of George Washington by Carla Killough McClafferty.

Janet at All About the Books has Soar, Elinor! by Tami Lewis Brown with pictures by Francois Roca.

Catherine at The Cath in the Hat has  The Human Body, a lift-the-flap book that’s ideal for beginning readers.

Anastasia at Picture Book of the Day has Stable and at Chapter Book of the Day has Skywalkers: Mohawk Ironworkers Build the City.

Tricia at Miss Rumphius Effect returns with The Story of Salt.

Lynn and Cindy at Bookends have Elephant Talk:  The Surprising Science of Elephant Communication by Ann Downer.


ELEPHANT TALK

March 16, 2011

Elephant Talk

The Surprising Science of Elephant Communication

By Ann Downer

Twenty-First Century Books, Lerner, 2011

ISBN #978-0-7613-5766-7

Nonfiction

Ages 11-18

“It is early morning in Amboseli National Park in Kenya, Africa. A baby elephant hurries to keep up with his mother and sisters and aunts as the herd moves out, following the eldest female to a stand of acacia trees. They will spend the morning browsing o acacia bark and grass.”

This fascinating insight into fellow mammals and the capabilities they display in communication and  to their families delights and amazes. From the first page, author Ann Downer takes the reader on an exploration of the ins and outs of the latest research information about elephants to the final chapter, where she revisits a zoo.

From early studies to research pioneers to the current body of knowledge growing about the various kinds of elephants, a fantastic language comes to life. Elephants have a set of trumpets, chirps, rumbles, and other calls identified by elephant scientists and set down in a universal language of elephant talk. The bonds of the herd, babies and care, and maturing males, females, and grandmothers are explored in detail. The newest information concerning elephants’ ability to sense rumbles and vibrations through their feet promises more knowledge. It abounds with science and details and is filled with vibrant, interesting photographs that add to the wonder of this mighty animal.

The author explores the changing human relationship between elephant and humans. She looks at changes in elephant training and how elephants bring out the “wow” factor. She discusses the problems of zoos versus loss of habitat and poaching as the possibly looms of the elephants’ eventual extinction in our lifetime.

Full back matter includes a bibliography, further reading, glossary, index, source notes, timeline, TOC, and websites. This is a book sure to please budding scientists, reluctant readers, nonfiction lover, and anyone interested in animals–and it’s a fun read. This book belongs in every nonfiction collection.

Ann directed me to the eSource materials up on the Lerner website: a comic activity tied to the Laikipia Elephant Project in Kenya, and “Elephant Trek,” a Google Earth Tour that takes you to all the sites in the book.

Now this is a fun one. Listen to elephants here. I had make myself stop listening. Keep clicking through and start the sound, too.

I loved this book and it fits right in with NOVA’s “Secret Life of Scientists” web program and scientist Dave Sulzer. Take a look at what he’d done with elephants—and it involves music! I’ll be guest blogging about his musical elephants soon.

Scan the scientists to find him if he’s not right up front.

Wrapped in Foil has a great review of Elephant Talk.

Another excellent elephant book for younger kids is Beco’s Big Year by Linda Stanek and the Columbus Zoo. Stanek does a wonderful job in showing the baby elephant’s development without being cute or anthropomorphic. See my review of Beco.

See a terrific Beco review and more at Growing with Science.

Activity 1

Compare the differences between Asian and African elephants and write about them to explain those differences in relation to their habitats and characteristics.

Activity 2

Choose one of the elephant researchers discussed in the book and research their studies. Write about what they’ve learned and what’s yet to learn about elephants.

Activity 3

Give an example of how the scientific method was used by one or more of the researchers from the book and explain how it contributed to the body of knowledge.

See more about elephants at the American Zoological Association site.

How you can help.

National Science Standard: biological evolution and behavior of organisms

Book provided by publisher.


MAMMOTHS AND MASTODONS

January 12, 2011

Mammoths and Mastodons

Titans of the Ice Age

By Cheryl Bardoe

Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2010

In association with The Field Museum, Chicago

ISBN #0-8109-8413-X

Grades 3-7

Nonfiction

48 pages

This is an Orbis Pictus honor book.

This book is one of my favorites. It came my way through the nonfiction picture book category of the Cybils, the blogger award. It was one I championed and one not to miss with its fascinating story of these legendary mammoths of the Ice Age. While I review many picture books, I feel this book is far more. Take a look at it.

“Ten-year-old Kostia squinted through the snow that blows across northern Siberia even in May. He and his brother Edik had just loaded their reindeer sledge with firewood when they noticed an odd lump by the river. Kostia guessed it was an injured reindeer. But when the brothers drew closer, Kostia could hardly believe his eyes. The strange dead animal had no antlers—but it had a trunk like an elephant. Kostia and Edik poked at the animal and then hurried home.”

I remember the excitement when this baby mammoth named Lyuba was found in Siberia. After this astonishing find—an entire frozen baby woolly mammoth—scientists had the unique opportunity to study this extinct species. This find provided information that traced the relationship of mammoths, mastodons, and modern elephants and may provide clues to saving the elephant from extinction.

Scientists pieced together fossil information along with this find to present theories and attempt to answer questions concerning these huge mammals from the past. Bardoe presents the story of the find and presents the latest research in a fascinating story. Diagrams, photographs, and art with captions add to the information to create a readable story of this now extinct group of Ice Age titans. From cave art to the current day elephant, this book opens the door to the latest body of knowledge about these animals.

The book combines up-to-date research with a wondrous, story narrative that is sure to interest any animal lover. It’s a great way to introduce the process of science and how science works to uncover answers to some of our greatest mysteries.

Activity

Compare the Asian elephant with the African elephant. Find the similarities and differences. Create a chart or diagram to illustrate the mammoths, mastodons, and elephant and show their characteristics.

This site has good information.

This site has information and photos of Lubya.

National Science standard: understandings about scientific inquiry; populations and ecosystems; structure and function is living organisms

Book provided by publisher to Cybils committee members


ANIMALS

December 15, 2010

Welcome to Nonfiction Monday. Add your links in the comments below and I’ll update them throughout the day.

The Little Brainwaves Investigate…ANIMALS

Illustrated by Lisa Swerling and Ralph Lazar

DK Publishing, 2010

ISBN # 9780756662806

Ages 5-10

Nonfiction

“What is an animal? All living things fall into two main groups. They are either an animal or a plant. They all grow, feed, and have young. But animals can do something plants can’t do—they move) or at least most of them can)? Join the little Brainwaves to find out more.”

This is a book I wish I’d written. From the beginning, it captures the spirit and joy of learning about animals and reveals the fascinating side of this area of life science.

This series, for younger audiences, follows the Brainwaves series for older kids using the little characters called the Little Brainwaves, a set of helpful guides to direct the reader throughout the book.

The book begins with an introduction to animals, distinguishing vertebrates from invertebrates. It also introduces scientific nomenclature in a simple way. It’s divided into clear sections, with small segments of information explained in an easily understandable way. Spreads following further distinguish the animals and their activities, including details about the different groups. It covers life cycles, parents, habits, habitats, and invertebrates. The concluding spread gives interesting facts and a little history about animals and grouping. A detailed glossary and index make up the back matter.

Bright, inviting photos are mixed with the Little Brainwaves guys in an attractive layout. The designer did a wonderful job on this book. It’s appealing and bright, friendly and fascinating. It would make a great story time book or would be a good book to book talk. It’s a great reference and an even better bargain at a reasonable price for a resource kids will return to again and again.

Activity

Choose an animal from the book. Look up its scientific name. Then create that animal’s life cycle in an interesting way, showing the stages it undergoes as it is born, develops, and becomes an adult. Include a timeline in the project. This might be a power point, a chart, or a diorama. Maybe you can create another way to show information about your animal.

For more animal information, see National Geographic’s pages.

The Animal Diversity Web has examples of animal life cycles.

Enchanted Learning has good life cycle examples.

This site has a variety of information.

Growing With Science has lots of great life cycle ideas.

National Science Standard: life cycle of animals; organisms and their environment

 Book provided by publisher.

NONFICTION MONDAY

Welcome to Nonfiction Monday. We have some great books and posts about literature for kids today and every Monday. Take a look at them all!

Wild About Nature blog has a review of Jean Marzollo’s new book, Pierre the Penguin: A True Story. They will also be giving a copy away to one lucky reader!

Abby the Librarian has  a review of OLD ABE, WAR HERO by Patrick Young.

Bookends  Booklist Blog has BONES by Steve Jenkins.

 NC Teacher Stuff has a review of SHATTERING EARTHQUAKES by Louise and Richard Spilsbury.
 
Bookends  reviews Steve Jenkins’ fascinating  BONES.

Stacey has Ubiquitous at her blog.

The Cath in the Hat has She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story, a picture book biography about the first woman inducted into the Hall of fame. It’s by Audrey Vernick and illustrated by Don Tate.

Bookish Blather continues  reading the YALSA nonfiction award shortlist titles with The Dark Game by Paul Janeczko.

Roberta at Wrapped in Foil offers a book nominated for a Cybils in the nonfiction MG/YA category.  Journey into the Deep is by Rebecca L. Johnson.

Pink Me has a review of Code Quest: Heiroglyphs by Sean Callery and  illustrated by Jurgen Ziewe.

Jone at Check It Out reviews three dinosaur books from the Cybils NFPB nominees–and dinosaurs are always a hit with kids.


I Like Weird Animals!

July 14, 2010

 

Fainting Goats and Other Weird Mammals

By Carmen Bredeson

Enslow Publishers, 2010

I Like Weird Animals Series

ISBN# 978-0-7660-3122-7

Grades K-3

“Mammals live all over the world. People are mammals. So are dogs, elephants, and whales. Some mammals look strange. Others do strange things. Which mammal is your favorite?”

Following a table of contents and short glossary, an introduction leads to a toothy vampire bat staring out at the reader with the words, “The vampire bat is the only bat that drinks BLOOD!”

Kids are sure to be fascinated with the selected, strange mammals in this book for young readers.

The fainting goats title got my attention, having seen the video of the fainting goats online. Their odd behavior is described accurately in short sentences and the clear, full page photographs pull the reader onward through the book, viewing the platypus, anteater, and sloth, among other interesting mammals.

Back matter includes other books, web sites, and an index. A great way to interest children in science is to start with animals, and this book introduces them to a fascinating group. Other books in the series cover other animal groups.  This fun book invites young readers to the world of animals.

Activity

Look up the characteristics of mammals. Then choose one animal to study. Find out what it eats, and one way it is suited to get its particular kind of food.

Find out more about mammals here.

Here’s more information about animals.

National Science standard: characteristics of organisms

Book provided by publisher


PIKA–Life in the Rocks

June 13, 2010

PIKA

Life in the Rocks

By Tannis Bill

Photographs by Jim Jacobson

Boyds Mills Press, 2010

ISBN #978-1-59078-803-5

Nonfiction

Picture book

Grades K-3

Join me Monday, June 21, when I host  Nonfiction Monday.

 “High in the Rocky Mountains, a loose pile of rocks lies at the base of a cliff. Soaking up the sunshine is a pika. His colors blend with the rocks.”

 It’s not a rodent! The pika, a relative of rabbits and hares, lives in the talus piles at the foot of cliffs and eroded mountains. The busy habits of this small mammal throughout the summer to set up stores of food called a hay pile illustrate the adaptations this animal has made to survive without hibernating through the long, harsh mountain winters. The book traces the life cycle of the pika from its food gathering, to its mating, and subsequent birth of three offspring, who then leave after a couple of months to begin their own food gathering.

The photographs are close-ups of the animals and capture the details clearly. The wording is young child friendly and the photographs perfectly and clearly illustrate each activity carried on as described in the text.

The back matter is thorough and extensive, supplying excellent additional information about this lagomorph. Further information, related reading, and the state of this animal’s existence regarding the climate changes affecting its habitat and the consequences it makes rounds out the facts of the pika. This is a wonderful book about a less well-known animal and should be fascinating to young readers.

Activity 1

Use the book to create a diagram of the pika’s life cycle. Use a graphic of your own design or choose one from here.

 Activity 2 (for older readers)

Look up hares and rabbits and their characteristics. Compare and contrast how this group, the lagomorphs, are different from and similar to rodents.

More information 

Another comparison

National Science Standard: life cycle of organisms; organisms and their environments

Book provided by publisher


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