Literacy Matters Vol 24 Winter 2024

Windows, Mirrors, and Sliding Glass Doors: A Children’s Literature Review Column for Teachers

by Jill Shelnut with Landry Baenninger, Maris DePalma, Madelyn Hurley, Lily Kruft, Natasha Kudlak, Morgan LeFils, Kyleigh Murphy, Mary Marshall Steele, Bianca Tierno, Ally Windham

In this column, you’ll find diverse children’s literature focused on the natural world. Each book combines engaging narratives with vibrant illustrations, ranging from chickens to bioluminescent creatures, beaks to camouflaging animals, and whales to squirrels. These educational and playful stories cater to young readers of various interests, providing insights into the lives of animals and the ecosystems they inhabit. With a balance of scientific information and captivating storytelling, these books aim to foster a love for nature and inspire curiosity about our planet’s diverse creatures.

A Chicken Followed Me Home! Page, Robin. (2015). Illus. by Robin, Page. Unpaged. Beach Lane Books. 978-1481410281. $14.76 (Primary) —Maris DePalma

benefit the bird. On each white page, the bird and its magnificent beak are sure to captivate the reader. The beak is depicted in a sizeable up-close version so that you can absorb its beauty and intricate details. However, I found the smaller illustrations of the birds that span the pages to be just as enchanting. In these, you will see the beak in action. As you turn the pages, you will notice that the text and illustrations are extensions of each other, allowing the reader to become fully enthralled. If you are still curious about the various beaks, flip to the final double page spread. Here, you will find a helpful graphic about each bird’s beak shape, diet, and natural environment. All beaks are stunningly different, which makes studying them so much fun!

Literacy Matters General Articles

What do you do when a chicken follows you home? Find out in Robin Page’s A Chicken FollowedMe Home. In this fun and colorful book, Page tells the reader about her knowledge of chickens and how to appropriately care for them and their needs. This nonfiction picture book leads the reader on a step-by-step journey through the life of a chicken. During this journey, the reader will learn about chicken coops, different breeds of chickens, and other fun facts about the chicken lifestyle, such as hatching eggs! Page uses bright colors, an engaging font, and a question-and-answer style storytelling technique. Page writes and illustrates this book with genuine authenticity as she has gained much of her knowledge of chickens and other farm animals through her real-life experiences. As a child, Page grew up surrounded by many farm animals at home and took an interest in caring for them and helping around the family farm, where she could dive deep into the world of chickens and learn all about them! This engaging and playful book is suitable for readers of all ages. This book is fun, filled with educational material, and keeps you hooked with its easy-to-navigate storyline. So, if a chicken follows you home, read this book to make sure you know how to feed them and take care of their eggs!

Masters of Disguise: Camouflaging Creatures & Magnificent Mimics Martin, Marc. (2021). Unpaged. Candlewick Studio. 978-1536214055. $13.99 (Primary) —Landry Baenninger Have you ever played hide-and seek with an owl? Or how about a snake? It might seem easy, but what if I told you these animals have real life superpowers that would make

winning nearly impossible? In Masters of Disguise , Marc Martin combines different art mediums to create vivid illustrations that take readers on a journey with twelve exciting animals across six continents. Throughout this informational book, readers will be transported from North America to Africa to Europe and will indeed discover a new creature in each place. Readers are given a map in the endpapers to refer to while reading. Eye-catching images and bold headings draw the reader to fun facts about each animal and their unique capabilities. Each page is organized, highlighting each animal’s unique characteristics, like an owl’s firm grip or a sloth’s surprising speed in water. After reading about a chameleon’s kaleidoscope camouflage or a leopard’s blending spots, readers are invited to hunt for their camouflaged friends, hidden in lifelike images across double-paged spreads. This book would be great for readers interested in learning about animals and their superpowers. They will learn to look out for an owl’s patterned feathers or a snake’s leaf-like head during that game of hide-and-seek!

The Beak Book Page, Robin. (2021). Illus. by Robin, Page. Unpaged. Beach Lane Books. 978 1534460416. $18.99 (Primary)

—Morgan LeFils

Aren’t all beaks the same? Robin Page answers this question again and again in The Beak Book .

She highlights the design and function of each beak and how seamlessly they work together. Page incorporates strong word choice to distinguish between the different uses of certain beaks. Some beaks shred while others climb. Some are used to battle, while others are used to filter. The unique attributes of each beak

Literacy Matters | Volume 24 • Winter 2024 | 39 |


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