Posts tagged ‘crocodiles’

#WinnerWednesday

Two more winners in the Easy Reader and Early Chapter categories:

Easy Reader

ONE SENTENCE SAYS IT ALL

I Like the Farm

Written and illustrated by Shelley Rotner

 

 

 

 

This book is a Step A Guided Reading book which features one sentence I like the…… Blanks are filled in with the names of familiar farm animals. There are full-page multicultural photographs of a child with the associated animal. Especially recommended for preschool and kindergarten children just beginning to read who love animals.

 

 

Early Chapter Book

No Need to Be Perfect

Princess Cora and the Crocodile

Written by Laura Amy Schlitz

Illustrated by Brian Floca

Poor Princess Cora is a victim of parents who are obsessed with her development into the role of future ruler of the kingdom. Cora is beset with a nanny who is obsessed with cleanliness and forces her to take three baths a day, a mother who forces her to read boring books all day, and a father who wants her to be strong and forces her to skip rope every day. When Cora requests a dog for a pet, her parents are horrified. She writes a note to her fairy godmother asking her to intervene. To her surprise and dismay, the next day a crocodile is delivered to her in a cardboard box.

This crocodile assures her that he will take charge and teach her tormentors a lesson. He demands only to be fed cream puffs as payment. So, Cora escapes into the woods for a day of adventure, climbing trees, eating strawberries, picking buttercups, and getting dirty. In the meantime, her pet crocodile is taking revenge on the nanny, the queen, and the king. At the end of the day when Cora returns she makes her request once more. What has happened at the castle? Have the adults learned a lesson? How will Cora be treated in the future?

This story presents the inner conflicts of Cora, and the adult versus child conflict clearly. Cora is a strong female role model, who is also obedient and respectful. The soft watercolor illustrations with a vintage feel are soft and appealing. The crocodile character adds humor and a hint of naughtiness. I would especially recommend this chapter book for second and third graders who are comfortable with the seventy-page length and some challenging vocabulary.

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A BAD DREAM

National Park (National Park Trilogy Book 1)

Written by Hinesh Vithal

nationalparkpic

An interesting tale narrated by Rajah, a puggle comfortably ensconced with the Patel family in suburbia. When the family decides they will take a vacation trip to the game preserve, he is excited but remains haunted by a dream that his life will be cut short by a lion attack.

Readers will learn about life in the wild as they meet lions, cheetahs, elephants, rhinos, crocodiles, buffalo, and wild dogs. As the family ride through the game preserve, readers feel as if they are a part of nature. The personified animals have a complicated system of government to which all inhabitants of the national park adhere led by a Council of the Big Five. When the vehicle in which Rajah is riding is overturned, he is injured and rescued by the animals. Rajah becomes an integral part of a habitat that is far out of his comfort zone, yet he is rapidly assimilated into their culture and conflicts. When internal discord threatens to wreck the government of the animals and their safety, Rajah becomes an unwilling hero.

This book contains one or two curse words, but is appropriate for readers twelve and older. The plot is cleverly done, if sometimes a bit wordy. Readers will take away factual knowledge of the game preserve, its inhabitants, and some messages that animals and humans might well take note of. Looking forward to see what happens in the rest of the trilogy.

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THE COURAGE TO TRY

Dearie: A Tale of Courage (Chapter Books Book 1)

Written by Gita V. Reddy

Dearie,pic

Beginning chapter book of approximately thirty-five pages which is just right for a new or reluctant reader. The protagonist is a deer named Dearie. At first, it appeared that Dearie was too weak and frail to survive. Beating the odds, he soon grew strong and fast. As time went on, a bigger problem surfaced. Whenever danger appeared, Dearie froze. He could not respond to danger. That put the rest of the herd at risk.

Despite the pleadings of his mother, it is agreed that Dearie must leave the herd to learn how to overcome his fears and master the skills needed to survive. Dearie must face wild boar, wolves, lions and crocodiles. Will Dearie find his courage, and more importantly, will he ever rejoin his beloved herd?

This is an animal coming of age story that teaches children we all must not be afraid how to learn to be independent. Simple pen and ink drawings accompany the short chapters. I think the plot begins a bit slowly; the real story unfolds halfway through the book in Chapter 5. Recommended as an independent read for eight to ten year olds or for reluctant readers who feel challenged by the length of most middle grade chapter books. Short enough to be used as a read aloud classroom discussion.

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CLOSE ENCOUNTERS

Outback Hero: Max Conquers Outback Australia Book 2 in the Max series

Written by Sally Gould

outbackhero,pic

Max and his family are ready to embark on an adventure vacation, except Max does not really want to go. They are going to the outback; Max is deathly afraid of crocodiles. His older brother Charlie delights in frightening him making matters worse. Mom and Dad insist that he must overcome his fears.

Max’s fears are confirmed when he falls overboard and must escape the crocs. Charlie and his brother will have to flee for their lives more than once, and Max narrowly escapes death when he falls off a cliff. Charlie and Max are typical brothers who are constantly competing with each other, yet deep down love each other to death. On the journey, the boys will meet up with another family who appear to be dauntless and unafraid. Upon their insistence, the two families climb up the Uluru. Will they be able to make it down again safely? Will Max be able to overcome his fears and insecurities?

This is the second book in this series targeted for middle grade readers ages nine through twelve. Lots of adventure, sibling rivalry, competition, and somewhat complicated family relationships keep the plot moving. Boys especially will find the series interesting. Readers unfamiliar with Australia will enjoy learning about the outback. While the text is age appropriate, the vocabulary is not overly difficult and the length at less than 150 pages allow the read to be appealing for reluctant readers. This is a series worth investigating.

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THE DIRT ON DINGOES

Dingo Facts: Easy Learning For Kids (Amazing Australian Animals)

Written by Sara Woods

DingoFacts,pic

This book is one of the amazing Australian animal series. It will enlighten the reader about what kind of animal a dingo is, where it lives, what it eats, how it moves and breeds, how it is threatened, and why it is important. The book packs a lot of information in thirty-four pages. While the author targets the book as a read aloud for younger children as well as an independent reader for older children, I think it more appropriate for the latter group.

Unfortunately, my travels have not yet taken me to Australian so I am unfamiliar with this animal. Looking at the photos, I immediately thought of a gray wolf and later learned from the author that the dingo is a subspecies of that animal introduced to Australia by seamen about 4,000years ago. I was fascinated to learn that dingoes are double jointed at all their joints, and that they use their paws as we do our hands. They can even open door knobs. Their ears stand straight up and can rotate backwards; they can rotate their heads 180 degrees for better vision. Most dingoes are monogamous and will mate yearly averaging four to six pups for about ten years. The mother will eat, swallow and regurgitate food to feed young much like a bird.

Landowners and hunters are the biggest threat to the dingoes, but crocodiles, snakes, and lack of food and water also factor in their survival. More contact with domestic dogs as urban sprawl progresses could eventually lead to extinction. Farmers who see them as a threat have engineered the world’s largest fence (3,488 miles) to protect sheep and farm lands. But dingoes are special animals because as the only native dog to Australia, they are apex predators at the top of the food chain who protect many smaller mammals and the native natural grasses. Some areas of Australia have set up sanctuaries to protect the dingoes.

This series will eventually include eighteen books about Australian animals. It certainly makes an excellent, well-organized reference source for classrooms in the elementary grades and libraries. Teachers could also use many of these books in science units comparing and contrasting with other animals. Highly recommended for children age seven and up. Adults who read these books to children will find themselves being entertained and informed as well.

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