Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2016 is a weekly celebration of imaginative children’s nonfiction materials hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy.
Elise Gravel is back with another entry in her so-gross-it’s-cute Disgusting Critters series! Having looked at such icky critters as slugs, flies, spiders, worms and head lice, this newest critter doesn’t really seam all that disgusting by comparison! It’s time for the common toad to get the Disgusting Critters treatment, and once again Gravel blends interesting facts with silly illustrations to create a very kid-friendly nonfiction entry-level graphic novel.
I’ve used this series twice with my Early Readers’ Book Clubs at the library, and plan to use them again in the future. I love being able to give the kids some choice in what they read, while still creating that traditional book club atmosphere where everyone talks about the same book. In our last meeting we created little books about our different animals, which allowed the kids to take on the role of expert and teach their friends all about the different disgusting critters.
The Disgusting Critters series is so much fun because it introduces kids to the idea that nonfiction can actually be read for enjoyment and recreation, and that fun and educational need not be mutually exclusive. Informational texts can be cartoony, silly, light-hearted, and still informational.
Elise Gravel is Canadian, too, which makes the whole thing even better. 🙂
Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2015 is a weekly celebration of imaginative children’s nonfiction materials hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy.
Title: The Rat
Author/Illustrator: Elise Gravel
Publisher: Tundra Books
Publication Date: 2014
Genre/Format: Nonfiction/Early Reader
Publisher’s Summary: One in a series of humorous books about disgusting creatures, The Rat is a look at the black rat. It covers such topics as the rat’s long, agile tail (it’s good for balancing and picking noses), long teeth (they can chew through anything, including books) and disgusting taste in food (delicious electrical wires in tomato sauce, anyone?). Although silly and off-the-wall, The Rat contains real information that will tie in with curriculum.
My Two Cents: I used Elise Gravel’s series Disgusting Critters with an Early Readers book club back in the summer, and it was a big hit! The children each picked a book from the series (which also includes such kid-pleasing titles as The Slug, The Fly, and The Worm) to read, and shared what they learned with the rest of the group.
This series works so well because it matches real biology with a zany sense of humour and wacky illustrations. The rat, a potentially frightening creature, becomes a cheeky little rascal, challenging any preconceived notions about this highly intelligent animal. Kids learn about the animal’s diet, anatomy, habitat, and behaviour in a way that doesn’t actually feel like learning (perfect for a summer program). The last thing an educational text should feel like is, well, an educational text! The entire series is kid-friendly from top to bottom, with a cute font that appears almost hand-written, and a balance of text and illustrations that makes each book an accessible nonfiction text for early readers. Highly recommended – and Canadian, too!
So, which nonfiction books have caught your eye this week?