Archive for January 30, 2014

Fly, Butterfly

Written by Bonnie Bader

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Beautiful real-life photography illustrates this well written non-fiction narrative book for first grade readers. It begins by explaining in lyrical language how a butterfly chooses a damp milkweed leaf on which to lay an egg.

The various stages of a butterfly’s life are described and shown clearly. This book designed with the core curriculum in mind shows the migratory habits and path of the monarch butterfly.

Differences between winter in the mid-continental United States and Mexico is used to explain the reason for the migration of the butterflies. Photographs showing them flying in huge cloud-like formations and covering ponds in search of a drink during their travels will amaze even the adults using the book.

This book makes an excellent read aloud for a preschool teacher or any librarian. The glossy finish on the paper makes the fantastic photography stand out.

  • Fly ButterflyTitle: Fly, Butterfly
  • Author: Bonnie Bader
  • Illustrator: photography
  • Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap, January 2014
  • Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
  • Format: paperback
  • ISBN:  978-0-448-47919-4
  • Genre: nonfiction, nature

The Swamp Where Gator Hides

Written by Marianne Berkes
Illustrated by Roberta Baird

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In the Florida Everglades, an alligator lurks in the swamp beneath a thick layer of algae. He’s hungry and looking for his next meal. Who will it be? The duck that paddles in ooze? The turtle taking a snooze? Written as a cumulative rhyming story, in the same vein as “The House that Jack Built,” Berkes’ expressive language brings the still swamp to life: This is the egret / nesting up high / who watches the deer / grazing nearby / the bullfrog with / a rumbling sound / eyeing the snake who slithers around…

On every page, kids can search for half-submerged Gator, camouflaged in layered shades of green. As the poem builds, you can almost hear first graders shouting their guesses during a classroom read-aloud. The story concludes when Gator finally surfaces from the water. Out in the open and with a great big SNAP, he lurches at a hapless sunfish (cleverly designed so that the fish’s fate depends on the reader’s interpretation).

This book introduces young readers to swamp ecosystems and the critters that inhabit them, the role of camouflage, and predator-prey relationships. Back pages offer teachers and parents additional information on each animal featured, which can be used to foster discussion and/or lesson plans. “Tips from the Author” includes curriculum-related literary activities on rhyming, sequencing, and poetry, while “Tips from the Illustrator” provides a peek at Baird’s process into creating beautiful digital illustrations. More classroom resources can be found on the publishers website:

  • Swamp where the gator hidesTitle: The Swamp Where Gator Hides
  • Author: Marianne Berkes
  • Illustrator: Roberta Baird
  • Publisher: Dawn Publications, March 2014
  • Reviewer: Lauren Abbey Greenberg
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-58469-470-0
  • Genre: Picture Book / Wildlife