Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Four Picture Books to Help Kids Learn

Four Picture Books to Help Kids Learn

by Susan Stephenson,

Celebrating Picture Books in Picture Book Month!

Picture Book Month is almost over. But don't despair! You'll find plenty of picture books up for grabs in my Chookeriffic Children's Book Giveaway on December 2, 4 and 6, 2013.

Today I have four more wonderful children's picture books (recently published in Australia) to tell you about. The special feature the first two share is that they use well-researched narrative to bring kids to an understanding of their subject matter. They're almost non-fiction in a fiction package, education and entertainment both. The third is rhyming text about Australian animals, a great way to help kids learn to read. The fourth is proudly non-fiction, and beautifully targeted at children under five.

1. Bernard's Plane Trip: Written and illustrated by Adele Jaunn, this children's picture book was published by Working Title Press (2013.) If your youngster is going on a plane for the first time, Bernard introduces him to the experience ahead of time, telling him what to expect. "Bernard is so excited, he has butterflies fluttering in his tummy. He's going on a plane trip for the very first time!" Not overloaded with facts, but just enough to gently introduce kids to air travel, Bernard's Plane Trip educates and reassures.

2. Warambi: Written by Aleesah Darlison, illustrated by Andrew Plant, and published by Working Title (2013.) "When the home of a little bent-wing bat colony is destroyed by a bull dozer, Warambi becomes separated from her mother and the other bats. Lost and alone she finds shelter in an unusual place far away. Scary sounds are all around her. Danger is never far away. Will she find her way home?" Warambi is a children's picture book that's based on a true story and it shows. Darlison brings this true story to life for us. Using fiction techniques, she helps us understand the plight of endangered Australian animals, teaching us indirectly what it's like to be a little bent-wing bat. This is a lovely story, with beautiful, detailed illustrations. It's the perfect choice for school or a home where knowledge and understanding are valued. (I also really like the cover page of facts about little bent-wing bats. Kids and teachers will too!) Teacher's Notes Available.

3. Good Morning Possum: Written by Coral Vass, illustrated by Sona Babajanyan, and published by Koala Books for Scholastic (2013.) "Early one morning, Near Ironbark Creek, Blossom the Possum Had nothing to eat. When Blossom picks herself a red juicy plum, all the animals come, one by one, to share her breakfast treat. Will Blossom ever get a bite?" As soon as I began reading this children's picture book, my inner drama teacher became excited. What a great reader's theatre script it would make! Kids will enjoy the sound words, the rhyme and repetitions as the story proceeds, and it will help beginning readers too. It would be an excellent way to introduce kids to Australian animals by comparing Good Morning Possum with a more factual text.

4. Fabulous Fishes: Written and illustrated by Susan Stockdale, the Australian edition of this children's picture book was published by Working Title Press (2013.) "Fishes come in all sorts of shapes, colours and sizes. Any many of them can do amazing things! Can you imagine fish that leap and glide, fish that crawl on land and fish with flashing lights? They're all here in Fabulous Fishes!" There is beautiful artwork in Fabulous Fishes, accompanied by minimal but educational text that basically names/describes what we see. Back pages hold more detailed facts. Perfect for libraries everywhere, Fabulous Fishes might also be just the gift you want for your young fisherman! Teacher's Notes Available. 

Do consider one or all of these charming children's picture books for the special children in your life!

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