When you are a writer, sometimes it can be disappointing to find out there is already a book published on a topic you were thinking about exploring. This week two nonfiction books for middle grades came across my desk that show magnificently how two books on the same topic, in this case the animal kingdom, can have very different voices and each finds its own place on the shelf.
The two books are:
TIME For Kids Book of Why: Awesome Animal Kingdom by Editors of TIME For Kids Magazine
Overall, with its question-and-answer format and smaller size, Awesome Animal Kingdom has many characteristics kids will find attractive. It is a quick read and contains a great deal of information about humans to draw the reader in (facts they can relate to). The format is also highly appealing to reluctant readers. In fact, it is likely you will find children taking turns quizzing each other on fun facts like “why do birds sing” and “how do eyelashes work” when they read this book.
Animalium (Welcome to the Museum) by Jenny Broom and illustrated by Katie Scott
Animalium is larger and denser, and also covers the topic of the animal kingdom in much richer detail. For example, the two page spread about sponges is titled with the phylum name “Porifera.” Underneath is a description of sponges as a group. What catches your eye is the illustration of nine different sponges on the right side, laid out like classic scientific illustrations. Each is labelled with the scientific name of the species, its size and a fact or two about each one. The end of each section shows a common habitat where the members of the group can be found, such as “coastal waters” or “arctic tundra.”
Below is an infographic with a point-by-point comparison of some of the features of the two books.
(Note: Actually humans are mentioned once on the primate page of Animalium, so the percentage is a very small amount above 0%).
The bottom line is that Awesome Animal Kingdom and Animalium are two different books on the same general topic that serve two different audiences. It is likely that even the same child may find them both useful, as his or her needs and interests change. Consider both when studying the animal kingdom.
See Classification of Organisms at Growing with Science
Disclosures: Awesome Animal Kingdom was supplied 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.
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