Saturday, June 19, 2010

Kid Konnection - Non-fiction Picture Books

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a (hopefully) regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. Today, I'm going to share with you something a little bit out of the ordinary for Kid Konnection -- some non-fiction picture books from EarlyLight Books.

Summary: This bright, colorful book explores the wild and wonderful variety of tongues in the world’s animals. Discover long tongues, sticky tongues, trick tongues, tube tongues, black tongues, blue tongues, red tongues, fork tongues, spike tongues, brush tongues, straw tongues, smelling tongues, curly tongues, cooling tongues, heating tongues, cleaning tongues, talking tongues, glow-in-the-dark tongues, and so many more.

Snakes and some lizards use their long, flickering tongues to smell predators and prey, while chameleons use the sticky tip of their long, stretchy tongues to catch bugs for dinner. Crocodiles use special glands on their tongues to remove salt from their bodies, while newborn whales and dolphins use small bumps on their tongues to hang on to mom while she swims.

The book also includes fun, easy experiments that illustrate the way animal tongues work, and cool tongue facts to gross out family and friends. Real science has never been so much fun!

Animal Tongues is the first in a series of books designed to explore the amazing diversity in function and morphology of the world’s animals. Future titles will include Animal Tails, Animal Eyes, Animal Fur & Feathers, Animal Beaks & Teeth, and more.

Includes glossary and index. -- EarlyLight Books

ANIMAL TONGUES by Dawn Cusick sure has a lot to offer to kids and parents alike. This book was filled with fantastic photographs of animals and their tongues which is guaranteed to capture your attention. But it was also a book that is just filled with fun, educational facts.

I had a great time reading ANIMAL TONGUES. I loved the photographs, especially the ones with the giraffes; and I couldn't believe how much there is to learn about animals' tongues. Each page layout delves into the details about a specific animal's tongue. For instance, there are pages about cat tongues, crocodile tongues, and hummingbird moth tongues to name just a few.

ANIMAL TONGUES was also filled with lots of fun trivia facts. Not only were there interesting tidbits on each page, but there were also a few pages at the end of the book called Tongue Trivia. Did you know a giraffe's tongue is almost two feet long? You can also learn about a tuatara fung-tongue which actually glows in the dark!

This book is definitely geared for children who are a little older -- elementary age and up. That's not to say that younger children won't enjoy the photographs, but there are quite a few words per page. And the content is written for children who are starting to grasp more scientific concepts.

ANIMAL TONGUES was definitely my favorite of these three picture books. It is the first book in a series about the many ways that animals are amazing. I am looking forward to more of this fantastic series.

Summary: From feathers to fur and scales to skin, Animal Baths explores the fun and creative ways the world’s animals get clean.

Human baths are kinda boring: all you need is soap, water, and a fluffy towel. Animal baths, however, are great fun. Imagine rolling in dust or mud to get clean— horses, elephants, and rhinoceros do. Imagine using your paws like a washcloth and your spit like water — cats, squirrels, and rabbits do. Imagine cleaning yourself by shedding your outer layer of skin — snakes, frogs, and lizards do.

Tired of cleaning yourself every day? Just get someone else to do your dirty work. Water buffalo and giraffes use birds to clean their fur, while zebras use their large teeth to clean a friend’s fur.

Monkeys and lemurs have their fur groomed by close friends and relatives, while turtles and coral animals have their shells and surfaces cleaned by fish and shrimp. Charming illustrations and fun text will make this book a favorite bedtime story.

Includes glossary and index. -- EarlyLight Books

ANIMAL BATHS: WILD & WONDERFUL WAYS ANIMALS GET CLEAN by Beth Fielding was another big hit in our house. Booking Son and I both enjoyed this book. I enjoyed learning about all of the different ways that animals get clean, and Booking Son did too. But I think he most enjoyed how the book explored some of the strange ways that animals bathe.

ANIMAL BATHS is divided into sections on different ways that animals clean themselves including Mud, Dust & Poop (Yes, Poop!); Tongues, Claws & Teeth; and Scamming, Shedding, & Slamming. Each one of these sections is divided into a two page layout on the specific animals. Some of the animals included in the book include elephants, birds, and chimpanzees.

This book had beautiful and very unique illustrations by Susan Greenelsh.The colors were kind of muted (just like the animals look in nature) and seem like they might be painted with watercolors (but I'm not really not sure.) I definitely enjoyed looking at the drawings and I thought they enhanced the book.

Like ANIMAL TONGUES, this book is geared towards older children as well. The subject matter is definitely intended for school age children, but it is presented in a very fun (and informal) way. There are loads of interesting facts, and I think Booking Son and I were both amazed by some of them.

Summary: From blowing bubbles to shooting poop, the world’s insects do amazing things with their butts.

Discover the wild and weird ways insects use their butts to avoid predators. Spittlebugs blow bubbles from their butts and hide under them, while some caterpillars shoot their poop far from their bodies to throw poop-searching wasps off their trail. Ants and beetles spray acid from their butts into the faces of predators, while some caterpillars and larvae build hide-outs with their poop to keep predators away. Insects also use pheromones from their butts to communicate with friends, relatives, and enemies. Still other insects say “thank you for protecting me” by sharing their high-sugar poop. And speaking of poop, some termites and roaches feed their children their poop to give them the microorganisms they will need to help digest wood.

Illustrated by a PhD biologist in a playful yet scientifically accurate style and tech edited by a PhD entomologist, Bug Butts combines the best of real science and real fun.

Includes glossary, index, and anatomy appendix. -- EarlyLight Books

Where do I even start with BUG BUTTS by Dawn Cusick? Perhaps with saying that Booking Son adored this book? I'm not sure it was the book or the book's content as much as it was how many times the word "butt" (a no-no in our house) appeared in the book. Each and every time I said that word, he giggled like a nut.

Like the other two books, BUG BUTTS was filled with lots of interesting facts about bugs and their heinies. In fact, it probably contained more than I ever wanted to know about bug butts. The book was divided into chapters titled Bug Off!, Talk to Me!, and Tasty Treats!; and you can probably guess all of the gross things that were covered in these parts. Within the first chapter, the author explored different types of bug butts including bubble butts, exploding butts, and umbrella butts. The next chapter shared how bugs use their butts to communicate, and the final chapter teaches how bugs eat other bugs' poop. I was extremely grossed out by a lot of this book, but Booking Son thought it was hilarious. And I have to say that the book is about what occurs in nature, but....

While there was definitely a lot of science in this book (and it was very educational), I'm not sure that it's going to appeal to everyone. I can see school librarians, teachers and parents having some issues with the free use of the word "butt." Having said that, I think little boys (and some little girls) would be fascinated by this subject matter.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me copies of these books.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


bermudaonion said...

The photographs on the cover of Animal Tongues makes me want to explore the book. I'm sure Vance would have loved Bug Butts when he was small for the name alone!

Beth F said...

I know my nephews would have loved the butt book -- too funny.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

These sound great! I love kids books with animal trivia. You learn so much, see great pictures, and don't have to wade through 8,000 pages of biological studies!

Sherrie said...

I love the covers on these books! That Bug Butts sounds really good. Have a great day!

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