introduces the younger grades to the scientific details about butterflies. Each
picture highlights a species and describes its common behaviors. My first grade
classes use this book as they hatch butterflies every spring. The simple
informative text is easy for the students to understand.
From the moment I
read the title to my third graders, they were fascinated with this book. I
even had a classroom teacher stay to hear it read aloud. At first glance,
monkeys and chocolate seem to have nothing to do with one another. Once
the text starts, the students are enthralled to find out about the ecosystem
and the life cycle of the tree. After reading this book, we researched the rain
forest and chocolate and then created a circle story that was illustrated with
both the ecosystem and the cocoa beans. The story of the original development
of the book, the rainforest preservation in the back matter, and the book worms
throughout the book make this a favorite read aloud for my students.
There are four
kinds of squirrels introduced in this book—the gray squirrel, the fox squirrel,
the red squirrel, and the flying squirrel. My kindergarteners love the lyrical
text. I paired it with Nuts to You
by Lois Ehlert and did a fiction/nonfiction lesson. We recorded the squirrel
facts in categories: what they eat, where they live, and how they contribute to
the ecosystem. Steve Jenkins artwork, as always, is brilliant!
When I did a Steve
Jenkins author/illustrator study with my first graders, this was their favorite
book. They were fascinated by his cut paper illustrations. As we read, we made
a chart with facts about the animals in the book. One group was assigned tails,
one had noses, one had ears, and the last had eyes. When the chart was
complete, they illustrated the animals themselves. The back matter has more in
depth facts about animal adaptations for students who are still curious.
This is a book
about baby animals. Some babies look like their parents, and some need time to
grow. Fun clues and multiple choice photographs make my students want to know
more. I pair this with Born in the Wild
by Lita Judge and My First Day by
Steve Jenkins to start my kindergartners’ baby animal research project in the
(@capecodlibrary) is a K-3 library media specialist in the Dennis-Yarmouth
Regional School District on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She is starting her fifth
year at M. E. Small Elementary.
Melissa Stewart is the award-winning author of more than 180 nonfiction books for children. Her lifelong fascination with the natural world led her to earn a B.S.
in biology and M.A. in science journalism. When Melissa isn’t writing or speaking to children or educators, she’s usually exploring natural places near her home or around the world. Website: www.melissa-stewart.com; Twitter: @mstewartscience
• AAAS/Subaru Prizes for Excellence in Science Books • ALA Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award • CRA Eureka! Nonfiction Children’s Book Award • Cook Prize for STEM Picture Book • Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices List • Cybils Nonfiction Awards • NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People • NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children • NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 • YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfictionfor Young Adults