proseandkahn (proseandkahn) wrote,

Non-Fiction Monday: Hummingbirds: Facts and Folklore from the Americas

Summer Reading Day 19! It's also Non-Fiction Monday! And, I'm hosting for the first time! Please leave links to your posts in the comments section. Hopefully, I will do this right. I'm looking forward to reading everyone's contributions. Here's mine:

Written by Jeanette Larson and Adrienne Yorinks. Illustrated by Adrienne Yorinks. 64 p. Charlesbridge Publishing Inc., February 2011.

This slim, attractive volume delivers exactly what it advertises: everything you'd want to know about hummingbirds, from its size and general characteristics, through its diet and food, plumage, flight, habit, migratory patterns, reproduction, vocalization and predators. A short folk tale that is related to the topic each chapter covers follows. These are set apart by featuring a double-page quilt/ illustration with the story superimposed on the illustration. Smaller quilts serve as spot art to illustrated points that the factual text explains. 

The text is easy to follow and well-organized. The text will be useful to students who are interested in hummingbirds for themselves or for report writing. There is a three page glossary at the end of the book, followed by eight titles recommended for additional reading, a bibliography and source notes on the tales that were retold. Further resources include birding organizations, hummingbird societies, websites for hummingbird sanctuaries, and websites on birding and hummingbirds for kids. 

I have one small quibble about the design of the book. I wasn't in love with the font. Here we have these lovely mixed media quilts laid out and lots of dense, standard textbook style text on top of and next to them. I don't know font types - I thought it looked quite Times New Roman to me, but there were two fonts used: Alcoholica and Goudy Oldstyle. Alcoholica? Wasn't there a more arty font to choose? Maybe, it's just me. 

The illustrations invite poring over. The colors are brilliant and the details are meticulously rendered. I just wanted to stroke the hummingbird's nest on page 40, or just run my fingers over just about any page. 

I happen to have an fair amount of interest in birds. Personally, I never saw a hummingbird until five years ago, when I was in Colorado with two of my sons. It was just a year or so ago that I spied a ruby-throated hummingbird in my northern New Jersey garden. I learned from this book that northeast birders only ever see one kind of hummingbird. It just took me forever to finally see it. 

I also have an interest in storytelling and keeping the oral tradition alive. I love how the authors chose to juxtapose the ancient stories with the scientific facts. What are scientists, really, but astute observers who try to explain the natural world? The mythologies and folklore of the old times were based on observation and were an attempt to explain the natural world as well. These are great connections for young students to make. 

There are plenty of cross-curricular opportunities to explore using this lovely book. I'm actually very glad that I became Facebook friends with the author, because that's how I learned about it. Much as I try to read my SLJ and Booklist cover to cover, lovely titles slip beneath the radar. Through my FB friendship, I learned that the author and illustrator were signing at ALA Annual, so I have myself a personally autographed copy.

Mary Ann Scheuer, of Great Kids Books, reviewed A Butterfly is Patient by Diana Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long.

Personally, I have great love for this book, as well as this reviewer. I am also a huge fan of Aston and Long's two previous books, A Seed is Sleepy and An Egg is Quiet. I am also a huge fan of Mary Ann and her blog. Her enthusiasm for children's literature is infectious. So, click the follow button or pop the link into your feeder. 
The folks over at Gathering Books are making their debut Non-Fiction Monday contribution this morning with Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People by Monica Brown and illustrated by Julie Paschkis.
I love it when bloggers choose books that fit the day. Tomorrow is Neruda's birthday! So cool. I also loved the photographs of the book interiors, the background info on the author and illustrator, the hunky photo of Neruda and the links to readings. Wow! 
Jone, over at Check It Out, reviewed Kathryn Lasky's, Silk and Venom: Searching for a Dangerous Spider.

While I don't share Jone's love for spiders, I do find them intriguing, as long as I'm looking at photographs of them. This looks like a great addition to my collection of "scientists in the field" books for a seventh grade science unit that the science teacher and I work on together.
Lisa over at Shelf Employed brings us, National Geographic Little Kids' First Big Book of Why by Amy Shields.

I just love National Geographic. This one looks like it might also be fun in my middle school.
Jennifer, of Jean Little Library, was tickled pink despite herself over a "mostly good"  Rapunzel retelling by Sarah Gibb.
I know we shouldn't judge books by their covers, but without Jennifer's recommendation, I would've passed on this one. Thanks for the heads up, Jennifer!
The folks over at Wild about Nature are featuring an interview with April Pulley Sayre, whose latest book is Rah, Rah Radishes.
One of the drawbacks to reading blog posts in a feeder is the fact that the "extras" are stripped, like the headers and such. I had forgotten how cool Wild about Nature's was until I clicked on the link. Check it out!
C. Lee McKenzie, author of The Write Game blog and published author of two YA books, The Princess of Las Pulgas and Sliding on the Edge gave five stars to Deborah Halverson's Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies, despite being skeptical that the "Dummies" format was a good one, at first. 
Abby, of Abby the Librarian, snagged a galley of Allen Say's, Drawing from Memory and declares it a treasure.
I am now kicking myself for not stopping for one at Annual. The line was really long and I had to be elsewhere. Kick, kick. 

Travis, of 100 Scope Notes, definitely knows what kids like. He highlights DK's Ask a Bug
And while you're there, check out the latest entry in his Covering the Newbery project. It was great to finally meet you at Annual, Travis! 
9:55 AM: Phew! I'm exhausted! Except for walking my dogs, I have been at the computer since 7. I know I always appreciated people for hosting in the past; but now I know what kind of time was invested. And I'm not doing anything particularly creative. It's a good thing I didn't try and host while I was in school. 

I happen to be at the beach. It's gonna be a hot one on LBI, NJ today and I got a bit too much sun yesterday, so it's good that I have a project to keep me indoors, other than cleaning. I do have a Yoga class in a little while, so, keep the entries coming. I will be back at noon-ish. 
12:35 PM: Ah! Back from yoga class, energized in spirit. Just had lunch, and I'm ready to go again. Two people emailed me their posts saying that they had trouble using LiveJournal's comment box. Sorry for that. If anyone is having difficulty, you can email me at kahnbrenda(at)yahoo(dot)com or labsnbooks(at)aol(dot)com. 

Roberta of Wrapped in Foil wrote about a biography of J.K. Rowling that will appeal to tweens. 
I agree with Roberta. It is about time to highlight a new biography of J.K. Rowling, what with the release of the final movie and all. Come to think of it, the entire series circulated quite heavily among the fifth graders this year. Well, duh! Of course. I'm not sure these kids were even born when the first book came out! 

Janet, of All about Books with Janet Squires, featured an appealing book about the history of certain foods, Food Creations: from Hot Dogs to Ice Cream Cones by Jacqueline A. Ball.
Just looking at the cover makes me crave my favorite snacks.
Cindy and Lynn, over at Bookends, talk about Strange Creatures: the story of Walter Rothschild and his Museum, by Lita Judge. 

Sounds like a perfect cure for Nature Deficit Disorder. 
We seem to have a little nature theme going here today and Bookmuse continues it with two books on insects and invites us all to go outside: Insect Detective by Steve Voake and Bugs for Lunch by Marjorie Flacklam.
 I'm glad I ate my lunch before read about this one. I'm also happy to learn of some older titles as well.
Thanks to Sue Heavenrich, from Archemides Notebook, for not only sharing a wonderful review of A Butterfly is Patient, but also sharing her interview with the dynamic duo, Aston and Long.

 Jeff Barger, of NC Teacher Stuff, shared another book that I was glad I read about after lunch was safely digesting, After the Kill by Darren Lunde and illustrated by Catherine Stock.

This one is literally hot off the presses, with a July 1 publication date. 
Betsy Bird, of Fuse#8, reviewed a galley of Meghan McCarthy's upcoming, The Incredible Life of Balto. It's due out on August 8.
Betsy, we must get you over to the dog side. Some day, you're a tad busy right now. But dogs are just the best. 

The musing Carol H. Rasco of Rasco from RIF fame, highlighted a picture book biography called, Django: World's Greatest Jazz Guitarist by Bonnie Christiensen and winner of The Schneider Family Book Award (young children's book category).

This entry reminded me of a sort of resolution that I had made to read more titles featuring main characters with disabilities. I attended a panel on the subject, which featured Dr. Schneider, as well as Terry Trueman. The Schneider Family Book Award is a good place to start.
 Heidi at Geo Librarian submits, for your reading pleasure, How They Croaked: the Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous  by Georgia Bragg and illustrated by Kevin O'Malley.

This is one that has been sitting on TOM (aka the tbr pile) for awhile. I may have to move it up. Or at least get to it this summer, so I can booktalk it come September.

Looks like A Butterfly is Patient is today's "It" book because Alexandra Suen also highlighted on her Picture Book of the Day Blog. And, on her Chapter Book of the Day Blog, she booktalks, We Are Not Beasts of Burden: Cesar Chavez and the Delano Grape Strike, California, 1965-1970, by Stuart A. Kallen.

And we have another entry for A Butterfly is Patient. The Non-Fiction Detectives also offer, Hurricane Katrina by Peter Benoit (due out this September); The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs: A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle (due out this October); and Drawing from Memory by Allen Say.
When I was in NOLA for Annual, I visited the Hurricane Katrina exhibit at The Louisiana State Museum. It was a powerful experience. I'm eager to see the book.

Loree from Loree Griffin Burns: A Life in Books, blogged about Sally M. Walker's, A Blizzard of Glass: the Halifax Explosion of 1917, which is due out this coming November.

Tags: birding, folklore, hummingbirds, informational, non-fiction monday

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