Stripes of All Types

November 22, 2013

stripes of all types

Stripes of All Types

by Susan Stockdale

Peachtree Publishers, 2013

ISBN #978-1-56145-695-6

Grades PreK-3

Nonfiction Picture Book

Visit STEM Friday

Exciting news! Anastasia Suen and I co-wrote a new book. It’s based on my blog and is packed full of lesson plans, STEM, mentor texts, and the Common Core.

coverimage - Copy (2)

Stripes of All Types follows animal life with stripes as part of their coloration in their native habitats. The book reveals simple information in a rollicking rhyme and bright art.  It takes the reader from the ocean to land to a familiar striped animal at home.


Define the word “camouflage” in nature as protective coloring that helps animals hide in plain sight. Then show these images and together locate the animal. You may have to point out where it is in some pictures. Discuss why animals need to use camouflage and the ways it helps them.

Pair the book with the nonfiction book Toco Toucan Bright Enough to Disappear by Anastasia Suen.  Compare the ways the toucan uses colors to the stripes in the Stripes of All Types book.


Next Generation Science Standards


ESS3.A: Natural Resources

§ Living things need water, air, and resources from the land, and they live in places that have the things they need. Humans use natural resources for everything they do. (K-ESS3-1)

ESS2.E: Biogeology

§ Plants and animals can change their environment. (K-ESS2-2)


LS1.A: Structure and Function

§ All organisms have external parts. Different animals use their body parts in different ways to see, hear, grasp objects, protect themselves, move from place to place, and seek, find, and take in food, water and air. Plants also have different parts (roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits) that help them survive and grow. (1-LS1-1)

LS1.B: Growth and Development of Organisms

§ Adult plants and animals can have young. In many kinds of animals, parents and the offspring themselves engage in behaviors that help the offspring to survive. (1-LS1-2)

LS1.D: Information Processing

§ Animals have body parts that capture and convey different kinds of information needed for growth and survival. Animals respond to these inputs with behaviors that help them survive. Plants also respond to some external inputs. (1-LS1-1)

LS3.A: Inheritance of Traits

§ Young animals are very much, but not exactly like, their parents. Plants also are very much, but not exactly, like their parents. (1-LS3-1)

LS3.B: Variation of Traits

§ Individuals of the same kind of plant or animal are recognizable as similar but can also vary in many ways. (1-LS3-1)


LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans

§ There are many different kinds of living things in any area, and they exist in different places on land and in water. (2-LS4-1)

For a Common Core experience, discuss the main idea of the book. Use each spread and talk about how that animal’s stripes are located and positioned. Ask the listeners why animals have stripes. Then show the spread with the striped images. Identify each picture in turn to review the animals’ names and where they live.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.2 With prompting and support, identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.3 With prompting and support, describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.5 Identify the front cover, back cover, and title page of a book.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.6 Name the author and illustrator of a text and define the role of each in presenting the ideas or information in a text.

Look up the CCSS to see the remaining Literacy.RI.1-2 standards.

Animal Homes

April 11, 2012

Nonfiction Monday is at The Nonfiction Detectives today.

Animal Homes

By Angela Wilkes

Kingfisher, 2012

Discover Science Series

ISBN #9780753467756



“Animals need home for all of the same reasons that people do. Homes provide shelter and keep animals warm in the winter. They are a safe place to rest and raise babies.”

Animal Homes introduces the variety of homes and locations where vertebrate and invertebrate animals live. An introductory paragraph sets the facts included about the specific home; short text passages give detailed information about animals living in that sort of home. Large, clear photographs support the text information that will appeal to the readers of this age range. Each spread discusses a specific kind of home following the introduction.

After defining homes, the book covers homes along the water and in it, nests of all kinds, underground homes and hibernation, colonies and cells such as honeycombs, and snow homes. The animals inhabiting each location are described by explaining how and why they live there.

This book addresses many areas of science. Life cycles, habitats, adaptations, and animal habitats are included within the information. Something else I noticed is the attention to aspects of the Common Core. Topics address the nonfiction reading and information. Rings point out details in photos to illustrate specific information. Back matter suggests specific activities to do that relate to the reading and extending the knowledge. It also has parent and teacher notes that include extension activities across the curriculum, as well as table of contents, glossary, a short quiz, and a find out more section.

The beauty of this book and its series is that it covers so many parts of life science. This book in a library will not only enhance the collection but it will provide a wide range of science for one reading. Kingfisher books are excellent choices for their quality and well-chosen information.


Set up a field notebook for recording observations to use throughout the year. Inlcude qualitative observations and quantitative observations. Qualitative observations include information observed using the senses. Quantitative observations are those that include recording facts numerically. Choose one of the activities on pages 50-51 and do it. Record the findings in your field notebook.

National Science Standards: growth and development; adaptation

Book provided by publisher


September 28, 2011

Nonfiction Monday is a 100 Scope Notes today.

Polar Lands

By Sean Callery

Kingfisher, 2011

Life Cycle Series

ISBN # 978-0-7534-6691-9

Ages 7 to 10

Nonfiction PB

“The Arctic and Antarctic regions are known as the polar lands. These are the toughest habitats in the world: dark all winter long, with freezing temperatures and storms. Against the odds, plants and animals live there.”

If you’re looking for a book about biomes/habitats and life cycles, Polar Lands (and other books in this series) is the perfect one for elementary-aged learners. Sean Callery takes a region and introduces it, then takes the reader along the food chain page by page. This book includes Arctic and Antarctic animals ranging from krill (which I especially liked, having never seen this organism’s life cycle in a book) to seals to the Arctic wolf. The first page of the spread introduces the organism and traces its life cycle in four steps. A sidebar adds the animal’s adaptation in three picture bulleted details and one more fact at the bottom, which leads the reader to the page turn and next animal in the food chain.

Bright photographs illustrate the text and a circular graphic presents the life cycle, interspersed with more photos. The spread out text and chunks of information make the book inviting and readable. Back matter includes a large silhouette diagram of the entire food chain, a glossary, websites, and an index.

This is one of the most clever ways of writing about and illustrating a food chain that I’ve seen in a book. It’s clear and concise, making both the concept and life cycle easy to follow. I’ve read another book in the series, Grassland, and it’s just as good.  This is a terrific book for libraries and schools, and is great for reading and holding the interest of kids, especially animal lovers.

Activity 1

Take one of the animals from the book and create a graphic to show the food chain in which it is involved. Illustrate the steps along the way or print and cut out pictures for the animals.

National Geographic has good animal information and pictures.

Activity 2

Look up more information about the Arctic and Antarctic. Make a diorama or mural to illustrate its features and the life there. Label each animal.

National Geographic has lots of excellent information on ecosystems and biomes.

Activity 3

Choose an animal. Read more about the animal and create a list of ways it is adapted, or suited, to fit into its environment.

National Science Standards: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems; Growth and Development of Organisms; Growth and Development of Organisms

Book provided by Kingfisher.


Prairie Storms

August 10, 2011

Prairie Storms

By Darcy Pattison

Illustrated by Kathleen Rietz

Sylvan Dell, 2011

ISBN: 9781607181293

Ages 4-9

Picture book

“Low, thick clouds dump snow, covering the prairies. Whistling winds shape and mold the snow into drifts and hollows. The prairie chicken claws into a drift, digging a winter roost.”

Darcy Pattison, known for her fiction, changes her writing direction in this book about animals, the prairie, and the variety of weather that blasts the prairie grasslands. Tracing the weather month by month, Prairie Storms features a different animal on each spread as it survives, aided by its specific adaptations to this habitat. The language is lovely and engaging for young children.

Soft art by Rietz portrays the animals in a realistic manner within their prairie environment and surroundings. As in other Sylvan Dell books, this book has a six page set of activities relating to prairies, animals, and weather that will encourage discussion and opportunities to reread the book. The book would be a good one for story time, studies of habitats, weather, or animals.


Find out more about each of the animals named in the book. Divide the children into groups and have them look up interesting facts about the animal. Make a poster showing a picture of that animal, the facts, and the animal in the month’s prairie weather from the book. Present the information.

National Geographic has good animal information.

The website for Prairie Storms gives a number of activities and lesson plans that accompany the book.

The site also has a coloring page link.

Roberta at Growing with Science has a great set of weather activites and a vocabulary list.

National Science Standard: organisms in their environment

Ebook provided by author Darcy Pattison

A Place for Fish

August 3, 2011

A Place for Fish

By Melissa Stewart

Illustrated by Higgins Bond

Peachtree, 2011

ISBN # 978-1-56145-562-1

Nonfiction picture book

Ages 6-10

 A Place for Fish is the fourth book from Peachtree in this series by Melissa Stewart. The book tells of the environmental threats to fish and how the actions of human affect fish, along with ways people can help stop harmful actions that threaten fish and change them to improve the habitats of fish. Sidebars fill in specific fish information such as how fins help them swim, why certain fish are nearly extinct, and interactions of shelter and how their demise affects fish.

Lush, colorful spreads draw in the reader and show the physical features of the fish in their environments. Inset art with the name of the fish adds more information. The acrylic art is done in the lovely style for which Peachtree is known and provides an up close picture of a variety of fish in their habitats.

This book would make a good introduction to a study of environments, Earth Day, habitats, and interactions of animals in their environments. Read it to introduce children to the importance of human actions on environments and the effect people have on them.

Activity 1

Make a list of the actions people take in the book that harms the environment of fish. Add additional ideas to what young people can do to help keep the environment cleaner for fish.

Activity 2

Look up what one of the fish from the book eats and what eats it. Create a simple food chain to show the importance of their relationship.

 Activity 3

Find out what an invasive species is and read to see how it hurts fish and their environments.

Learn more about oceans and pollution here.

Learn about water pollution at this site.

Here’s a fun coloring activity about fish.

This page has  another  interactive activity.

National Science Standard: organisms and their environment

 Book provided by publisher for Librarian’s Choice book review committee.

Nest, Nook, and Cranny

December 1, 2010

Nest, Nook & Cranny

Poems by Susan Blackaby

Illustrated by Jamie Hogan

Charlesbridge, 2010

ISBN #978-1-58089-350-3


Grades 3-6

“A doe will pick a thicket

As a place to place her fawn,

Its speckled hide well hidden

In the dappled forest lawn.

A bed safe in the shadows—

Mossy cushion, leafy crest—

A doe will pick a thicket

As a place to make a nest.”

This stunning book of poems has it all. “Poetry, animal behavior, ecosystems, habitats, figurative language,” says the Charlesbridge site. I agree.

Plus, I’d add mood and voice.  And art.

I read Nest, Nook, & Cranny for the science. Open the book and look at the fabulous endpapers. I was hooked before I’d read a word.

But it’s so much more than science. The book does an excellent job of fitting each animal within the context of its habitat while using evocative language in a variety of poetry styles. The language within each poem whisks the reader away to that habitat in the imagination.

The charcoal line drawings fit the mood perfectly and rendered the images in a realistic way that suited each poem and introduces each habitat across the spread with simple lines and shading.

Any teacher or librarian could enjoy reading this book to students, and it’s a wonderful place to continue either science or poetry activities. Lessons stem naturally from the wealth of carefully researched science information and the back matter, which explains the poetry forms by poem. An introduction tells the reader about the author’s inspiration for the book and she introduces her habitat in Beaverton, Oregon.

I loved this book and encourage it as a read-aloud. When time is short, as it often is during the school day, there’s not a better way to combine two lovely subjects.

Activity 1

The author describes her habitat. Use figurative language to describe your own habitat.

Activity 2

Look up habitats. Choose a habitat that isn’t used in the book. Write the characteristics of that habitat using interesting vocabulary. Include science words, too.

Challenge: Write about the habitat you chose in poetry form. Choose the style you want to use and fit your habitat information into it.

Habitat information

Interview of author and illustrator

See another review at Wrapped in Foil, March 29, 2010 and at Fuse 8.

National Science Standard: organisms and environments

Book provided by publisher


May 12, 2010

A Place For Frogs

By Melissa Stewart

Illustrated by Higgins Bond

Peachtree, 2010

ISBN #978-1-56145-521-8

Grades 2-5

Nonfiction picture book

“Frogs make our world a better place. But sometimes people do things that make it hard for them to live and grown. If we work together to help these special creatures, there will always be a place for frogs.”

This book is the third in a series of A Place For books from Peachtree Publishers. Short, narrative text describes the general topic along the top of the spread and inset sidebars cite a specific example to support the text. Another inset picture illustrates the frog in the example. The book describes the interactions of humans, other animals, and frogs and the resulting, harmful effects on the frogs and their habitat. Suggestions for making changes follow the frog descriptions.

Specific ways children can make a difference in keeping the natural environment safe for frogs is included in the back, along with frog facts, a bibliography, and websites for more information. The realistically rendered artwork by Bond depicts in beautiful detail the environment and the different frogs in their natural habitat colors. Kids should have fun poring over the frogs in this book while teachers and librarians can coordinate it with a lesson on life cycles, the environment, and habitats.

Activity 1

Draw and illustrate the life cycle of a frog.

Activity 2

Create a food chain that includes the frog, tadpole, or frog eggs. Use the information from the book (spread with Other Animals Need Frogs) or look up more information about what frogs eat and expand the food chain to a food web.

Activity 3

Research toads. Look for information about their habitats and environmental problems they may have. Write your own frog page in the style of this book.

Here’s good information with more details.

Life cycle information about frogs

Label the life cycle

Higher level frog food chain activity—reminds me of the project Wild activity Oh Deer!

 Older students may want to read The Frog Scientist by Pamela Turner. See my blog post on The Frog Scientist.

National Science Standards: life cycle, organisms in environment

Book provided by publisher to Librarian’s Choices Committee



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 113 other followers