While I am tempted to promote an endangered species book every week on Picture Book Perfect Fridays, I have been holding back and trying to vary my offerings. But today I am back to one of my favorite topics, but with a difference!
Written by Suzanne Slade, Illustrated by Joan Waites
Published by Slyvan Dell Publishing, 2010
Themes: Endangered/threatened species, subtraction, habitat, ecology
Three sleeping eaglets wake;
each looks like the rest.
Two stretch their wings and fly.
How many in the nest?
Each double page offers a simple rhyming stanza asking the child to look carefully at the animals illustrated and do the simple subtraction problem. The book could be read to young children with just the rhymes and math. However, for the older children there is a text box describing in simple terms, the species, the habitat dangers they have been facing and how things have improved for the species over the past years. So, for example, DDT had been causing the shells of these birds to become so thin that hatchlings were being born before they were fully developed and thus dying. DDT was banned in ’72 and the population of these eagles has increased from around 1000 to 20,000 over the past 50 years, and they are no longer on the endangered list!
Why I like this Book: Soooo many books focus on what is wrong (and indeed the situation is dire for many animals), I love the ‘What’s right?’ focus of this book. Many of the species cited have been transferred from the endangered to the threatened list. Kids will be able to learn this distinction. Combing the easy take-away sums will not only make the book very interactive, but of course, subtly highlights, the loss many species have suffered. I was introduced to the Mississippi Gopher frogs and Prairie dogs, which I don’t know so well. Illustrations are in gentle water color and have a retro feel. This book celebrates the difference that caring people can make in looking out for these species!
The book itself is a math activity. the back four pages contain some great facts on: Endangered animal vocabulary, food chains and webs, animal groups and some additional math problems.
On the Sylvan Dell Website there are over 60 pages of activities across the curriculum related to this book. I was very impressed with their resources, and recognized other titles I have enjoyed on their lists.
For more books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.