Today is Endangered Species Day 2012 and my book selection pays homage to this. You can find out much more about events/reading/films and other resources fot this day at www.stop.extinction.org, for example they have a list of ten easy things you can do at home to protect endangered species.
Gone Wild – An Endangered Animal Alphabet
Published by Walker Books, 2006
Ages: 3 up
Themes: Endangered Animals, the alphabet, pictograph
Award: Caldecott Honor Book
“Chinese Alligator; Class: Reptilia; Habititat: Swamps, rivers, lakes, ponds; Range: China; Threats: Habitat loss from farming; Status: Critically endangered.”
There is an introduction where children can read that more than 5000 animals face extinction in the 21st century. McLimans defines the three categories: critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable. The actual alphabet letters are a return to the origins of picture writing or pictograms, and symbolic, simple, bold and in black. The capital and small letter are in red as is a small box of facts for each animal. Each animals then has a paragraph and illustration at the back of the book also in red and black.
Why I like this Book:
It is a book that will appeal to very young children and to adults. It is a mix of simple, A is for alligator, but then you can read the latin name too, as well as what animal family the creature falls into. Although there are more mammals represented proportionally, all the animal families are included. Children will recognize some (zebra, black rhinoceros..) and will be intrigued by others (spotted tail-quoll, swan goose). The illustrations are graphic, symbolic and fun. I think this is a striking way to bring this important issue to even our youngest children in a playful way.
American Museum of Natural History: www.amnh.org/nationalcenter/Endangered/
Endangered Species Coalition: www.stopextinction.org
Defenders of Wildlife: www.kidsplanet.org (great educational resources here)
I would get younger children to reproduce a letter each from the book and older ones I would get to research their own animal and design an animal-letter with fact box. If this is with a class, you could make a class book!
To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books. Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays badge in the right sidebar.
This is also part of Gathering Books’ Award Winning Books 2012 Challenge.