Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2016 is a weekly celebration of imaginative children’s nonfiction materials hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy.
This week I’ve got two very different titles, one commercial and one a bit more artsy, but both winners in their own way.
Title: Angry Birds Animal Showdown: 50 Wild and Crazy Animal Face-Offs
Author: Mel White
Publisher: National Geographic
Publication Date: 2014
My Two Cents: This eye-catching animal nonfiction title is a colourful example of the old bait-and-switch technique. Children are drawn in by the cartoony Angry Birds characters and text, but are then treated to some surprisingly engaging and informative animal facts. There’s enough Angry Birds information and illustrations to keep fans happy, but there’s also plenty of the gorgeous full-colour illustrations for which National Geographic is famed. The subject matter is definitely kid-friendly – examples of animals large and small duking it out in the natural world. Some are predator-prey relationships, others are quarrels for territory or dominance, but all are presented with clear, exciting information in small, bite-size morsels, perfect for reluctant readers. Yes, it’s extremely commercialized, but hey, if it gets books that are actually highly educational into the hands of kids and keeps them there, that’s good enough for me!
Title: At the Same Moment Around the World
Author/Illustrator: Clotilde Perrin
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: 2014
My Two Cents: What a strange and beautiful book. Author/illustrator Perrin takes readers on a trip around the world and into the lives of people in different countries. Each page takes place in a different time zone, starting at six o’clock in the morning, with young Keita helping his father in Dakar, Senegal, and going all the way around the clock and the world to the middle of the Atlantic ocean, with little Chloe on a ship at 5 o’clock in the morning.
This is a beautifully diverse book, with people from around the world shown living their every day lives in their very different environments, and the illustrations have a striking, almost eery, dream-like quality to them. The book ends with a detailed introduction to time zones and the history of time keeping, and includes a fold-out world map. This would be a great addition to a unit on time keeping or geography – on its own it doesn’t fully explain how time zones work or what they represent, but it would certainly be an engaging addition to a unit or discussion.
So, welcome to 2016! What nonfiction titles have you discovered recently?