Monday, September 11, 2017

5 Faves: Expository Nonfiction Recommended by Margie Myers-Culver

On March 7, 2017, author Melissa Stewart wrote a guest post for the Nerdy Book Club asking us to think about the value of expository literature. She concluded the post with a list of fifty titles. This school year, 2017-2018, she is hosting a series of posts asking teachers and librarians to list five expository titles. Expository titles inform, describe or explain. I decided to focus on the world of animals

The Big Book of Beasts by Yuval Zommer (Thames & Hudson, 2017)
Last year we were introduced to the fascinating world of insects and invertebrates in The Big Book of Bugs (Thames &  Hudson, 2016). In this companion volume, we venture into a marvelous collection of mammals. Each page turn will remind you of the familiar but is guaranteed to present something new and astounding. Sifting through extensive information, Yuval Zommer selects those details most likely to be remembered by readers. In a series of conversational statements, beginning with a question, we are given valuable insights into individual mammals and overviews of special areas.

Can An Aardvark Bark?  by Melissa Stewart (Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster, 2017),
For nineteen years author Melissa Stewart has been acquainting readers with the results of her passion for and meticulous research of all forms of science. In this most recent publication, she explores sounds made by animals in a variety of habitats. The rhyming questions she asks in one section, and then answers in another, elevates interest. For each sound, seven in total, she discusses five animals. At the close of the book Selected Sources and For Further Reading sections are shown. Melissa Stewart designed a Storytime Guide and a Teacher’s Guide to go with it.

Lesser Spotted Animals: The Coolest Creatures You've Never Heard Of  by Martin Brown (David Fickling Books/Scholastic, 2016)
This upbeat, informative, and completely hilarious book, introduces us to twenty-three animals we rarely encounter in books. The manner in which Martin Brown weaves together facts and humor captivates and fascinates. For each one, Martin Brown provides a clever remark referencing a distinctive quality followed by a half to whole page discussion revealing the animals most intriguing characteristics. He also includes a sidebar with their size, what they eat, where they live, their conservation status, and an extra fact. At times, Martin includes an additional sidebar with other items of interest. He dedicates two pages to a glossary at the end.

Wild Animals of the North by Dieter Braun (Flying Eye Books, 2016)
No single day passes without observations of creatures in the wild. It can be as normal as birds flying from one place to the next or as surprising as looking out your window and seeing the local fox trotting down the sidewalk at dusk. We are most fortunate to be sharing this planet with beings who have adapted as best they can to their habitats. This book is a stunning visual presentation of eighty animals that live in North America, Europe and Asia. Woven into conversational paragraphs are items of interest to a wide range of readers.

What Makes A Monster?: Discovering the World's Scariest Creatures by Jess Keating (Knopf/Penguin Random House, 2017)
Most dictionaries define the word monster by using the word imaginary. Monsters are simply not real. Or are they? If you want to read a book, gasping at every page turn, this is a title you can't miss! Armed with knowledge of her subject and gifted for knowing exactly what readers need and want to know,
Jess Keating educates her readers like a master teacher. For each of the seventeen animals, she begins with an informative narrative paragraph. This is followed by local superstitions, feeding habits, a detailed explanation of unique traits, and more. She also includes information about the animals’ size, diet, habitat, and predators and threats.

Margie Culver can’t remember a time when she was not reading. With every turn of the page, her views, impressions, and understanding of the world--past, present, future, and fantastical--have increased. She’s been educated and entertained; had her heart broken and made whole again. She began her career as a certified teacher librarian in 1973, fostering life-long reading and adept gathering and use of information for her students and staff. In Margie’s words, “It has been the single best decision that I have ever made.” She writes posts about as many wonderful books as possible on her blog, Librarian’s Quest. You are welcome to follow Margie on Twitter @Loveofxena


  1. I loved Can An Aardvark Bark as well as What Makes a Monster. And Lesser Spotted Animals was a lot of fun. I recall hearing about both the Beast & Wild Animals books, but our library didn't have them at the time. Time to request them! Thanks for the recs, Margie, and thank you for championing nonfiction, Melissa! I'm excited to have 2 NF books coming out next spring :)

  2. Thanks, Margie and Melissa. I have a longer list now as "Can An Aardvark Bark" is the only one I know. I can't wait to read some new books! A baby mountain lion was just spotted in our timber. Another critter for me to learn about!