I stumbled across this book while browsing for some nonfiction texts and I absolutely love it. The photos are wonderful and they take up most of the page to peak your interest. On each page Seymour Simon shares facts that you may not have heard about 20 animals with bad reputations, so that readers gain a new appreciation of what these animals do in order to survive. In the intro Seymour Simon's last line is this: "You may never love a rattlesnake, a cockroach, or an octopus-but his book may help you begin to understand and respect them for what they are." I love how he starts his intro with a question grabbing the readers attention and sparking curiosity. It is a nonfiction text that kids will take time to ponder both the words and pictures while learning new facts along the way.
I have shared this book with a small group of third graders. We used this book to figure out what a page was mostly about and the important details that support the main idea. Each day the students would walk in and try to guess which animal we would read about and discuss. I wanted them to understand that readers read nonfiction and think about what the page is mostly about so that they can then share their new learning with others. I have to say I really enjoyed reading and discussing the animals in the book right along the side of my students.
This book by Nicola Davies has been a longtime favorite of mine for nonfiction. There are so many things I truly love about this book. I love the bold words, how she uses repetition to get her point across to the reader, how she addresses the reader, the diagrams and the circular beginning and ending. I love this part at the beginning of the book, "What's the one word that turns your dream into a nightmare? What's the one word that makes you think of a giant man-eating KILLER? SHAAAAAAAARK! At the end of the book she says, "If you were a shark swimming in the lovely blue sea the last word you'd want to hear would be... HUMAN!
I always use this book to show how writers can use voice in their nonfiction pieces. I love how her factual information is stated in a persuasive way so that readers understand that sharks really aren't monsters. They are important part of the ocean food chain and not all sharks are dangerous to humans. After you are done reading this book you will have gained a new appreciation for sharks that just might surprise you!