#Nonfiction Monday Saving the Countryside: The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit

Let’s take a look at a picture book biography, Saving the Countryside: The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit* by Linda Elovitz Marshall and illustrated by Ilaria Urbinati.

Beatrix Potter is a beloved children’s book author and illustrator, best known for her book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit*, but she did much more. In addition to writing and illustrating 23 books, she also studied fungi, designed tea sets and toys, became an astute business woman, and later in life took up farming.

Linda Marshall’s biography covers highlights of Potter’s entire life in chronological order, but emphasizes the later years when Beatrix turned her efforts to preserving open land in England’s Lake District. All in all, Beatrix Potter donated over four thousand acres to the National Trust so that they could be preserved for future generations. That’s an amazing accomplishment.

The illustrations do a good job of paying tribute to Beatrix Potter’s artistic side without copying her style. They are at turns playful and serious, setting just the right tone.

At her website and in her “Author’s Note” in the back matter, Linda Marshall reveals she was stirred to write about Beatrix Potter after visiting the Lake District during a children’s author tour of England. Now Marshall’s rousing biography is likely to inspire and encourage her readers, as well.

Saving the Countryside is a wonderful choice for women’s history month, for budding artists and writers, and for those interested in conservation issues. Read a copy today and see how it stirs you.

Related activities:

1. Read The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter and some of her other books.

2. Make a blackberry and apple upside down cake and read a review with an extensive look at the interior of the book at Jama’s Alphabet Soup blog

3. Learn more about Beatrix Potter’s years studying fungi (with activity) at Growing With Science blog

Grade Level : Preschool – 3
Publisher : little bee books; Illustrated Edition (January 28, 2020)
ISBN-10 : 1499809603
ISBN-13 : 978-1499809602

Disclosure: The book was provided electronically for review purposes.

*I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

#Nonfiction Monday #Kidlit Rare and Blue: Finding Nature’s Treasures

 

Have you spotted the gorgeous new picture book Rare and Blue: Finding Nature’s Treasures by Constance Van Hoven and illustrated by Alan Marks? It is both a celebration of a color and our planet.

Although we are used to seeing blue skies and bodies of water every day, blue plants and animals are less usual, and some are extremely uncommon. Most of us may have seen a blue jay, but what about a cerulean warbler? Take a trip around the world to find eight rare or endangered species that are shades of blue, then learn about why their numbers may be dwindling and what can be done. End with a trip that is out of our world.

The layered text works well. In bold print is a challenge for the reader to find a blue plant or animal:

To find electric blue,
hike into a tall forest,
Listen for…

with the answer appropriately in blue font. The secondary text gives more details about the organism and why they are in decline.

Educators will love the extensive back matter, with the categories of species occurrence (rare to extinct), more facts about each species, a glossary of terms, and a bibliography.

Alan Marks” watercolors make use of every hue and value of blue found in nature. The way he captures the iridescent shine of the male pupfish is particularly outstanding.

Rare and Blue  is a visual treat that will intrigue young scientists and artists alike.  Tour a copy today!

Blue Morpho Butterfly (Morpho peleides)

Blue Morpho Butterfly (Morpho peleides)

Activity suggestions:

  • Visit Charlesbridge for a learning guide and activity kit (under the downloadable tab)
  • Do an art or craft project featuring the color blue inspired by the illustrations in the book.
  • Learn more about one of the plants or animals in the book.

For example, the caterpillars of the Karner blue butterfly  grow faster and survive better when they are tended by ants. In exchange, they provide the ants with sweets.

A Karner blue butterfly caterpillar tended by ants:


Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (September 1, 2020)
ISBN-10: 1623540976
ISBN-13: 978-1623540975

 

Disclosure: The book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

Nonfiction Monday #Kidlit Secrets of the Loon by Laura Purdie Salas

 

Tomorrow is the book birthday for a beautiful new picture book, Secrets of the Loon by Laura Purdie Salas and Charles Dayton.

Loons are water birds that live in lakes in northern North America in the summer where they dive under the water to catch fish and other small swimming animals. They are known for their haunting calls that travel great distances over the water, and for their striking black and white plumage.

According to a recent interview with Chuck Dayton, Secrets of the Loon started with his amazing photographs of loons taken over years spent at a family retreat on a lake in Minnesota. He wasn’t, however, used to writing for children, so his editor brought fellow Minnesotan and prolific children’s author/poet Laura Purdie Salas on board to write the main text. The combination is a winning one.

The main story, which is written in rhyme, follows the life of a loon named Moon from hatching to taking off for her first migration flight.

Below white pines at water’s edge,
in guarded nest of mud and sedge,
squeezed inside an olive egg,
bill meets wing meets folded leg.

Dayton’s original text is included as four pages of back matter, revealing some amazing facts. For example, loons have heavy bodies, which makes it hard for them to lift off out of the water. Once in flight, however, they can fly faster than a cheetah can run. Wow!

Secrets of the Loon is a must-read for budding ornithologists, especially ones who live near lakes where loons swim. It is also a treat for the rest of us who wish we could visit a cold lake and listen to these fascinating birds. Dive into the book today!

Related:

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press (April 28, 2020)
ISBN-10: 1681341581
ISBN-13: 978-1681341583

Interested in more children’s books about birds? Check our growing list at Science Books for Kids.

 

 

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

New #kidlit #Nonfiction Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera

For the the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2020 we have a new title that is sure to create a buzz, Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann.

If you have any interest in nonfiction picture books or honeybees at all, you need to read this one. Both the text and the illustrations are phenomenal!

The concept is straightforward enough, follow the life of a single adult worker honeybee from emergence from the pupal chamber, starting with:

One summer morning deep in the nest,
a brand-new honeybee
squirms,
pushes,
chews through the wax cap of her solitary cell and into…

Just because the story follows an adult, doesn’t mean that the life cycle is missing stages. The worker becomes a nurse bee and tends to the eggs and larvae, so the full life cycle is represented.

After reading this book, my first reaction was that this is a textbook example of how children’s nonfiction should be written. It is full of active verbs, sensory details, and a lovely thread of repetition (about flying) that keeps the reader turning pages. Plus, following the life of a single bee gives it a relatable and memorable structure.

If readers will find anything objectionable about the book at all, it is that it takes the honeybee’s life right to her end. Her death is sad, but tastefully done. The next spread shows a new worker emerging.

Illustrations in Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera are amazing!

Eric Rohmann’s illustrations knock it out of the ballpark. The detailed close-ups make the reader feel like they are right in the hive with the bees. The gatefold-spread section of the honeybee going on her first flight is beyond breathtaking.

The backmatter includes a guide to honeybee anatomy, a section about helping honeybees, and more facts about honeybees.

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera is the ultimate book about these fascinating and important creatures. You don’t want to miss this one!

Related Activities

Fly over to Growing With Science Blog for honey bee STEAM activities .

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Neal Porter Books (February 4, 2020)
ISBN-10: 0823442853
ISBN-13: 978-0823442850

Disclosure: The book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.