The first one is called "Bugs from head to tail". It's written by Stacy Roderick and illustrated by Kwanchai Moriya. It's an up close look at some really interesting insects. Each double page spread shows one part of a bug (like it's eyes) and asks the reader to guess what insect it is. Then the next two pages show the whole insect and tell a little about it. There is a perfect amount of text to tell about each insect, enough to peak an early reader's attention (and maybe send them for more research) but not so much to be overwhelming. I really loved the artwork in this one. It's paper cuts and they are so closeup you can actually see the texture of the paper, which is so awesome, because it's meant to look just like the insect. I thought this one would be a great addition to our elementary school library.
The second one is also a picture book. It's called "The Elephant Keeper" by Margaret Ruurs. It's about a boy named Aaron who lives with his mom and siblings in a small village in Zambia. His father has died and Aaron needs a job. The manager at a local resort has agreed that Aaron can come and work there. One morning on his way to work as Aaron approached the resort, he finds a baby elephant drowning in the pool. Aaron tries to help, but it's really hard. With the help of some of the other workers, they are able to get the baby out of the pool, but he's very weak. They call the elephant rescue organization and they come and get the baby. Aaron is conflicted about saving an elephant-the elephants trample and steal their crops. People in his village kill elephants to make money. Was saving the elephant a bad idea? His mom convinces him that he did the right thing and when he gets to work the next day, the manager tells him what a great job he did saving the elephant and asks if he'd like to go and visit the baby. Aaron goes and finds that there is a big group of people who work to save elephants and treat them almost like babies. Aaron also finds that he's really good at helping the elephants so he gets a job there. I really loved this story-it was a very moving story and on top of that, in between the narrative story, there are bits of photographs and non-fiction text that support some of the ideas in the story. I think the kids are going to love the fact that this based on a true story. I can't wait to get this one in the library.
Here's a little video of an elephant rescue organization in Zambia that inspired the story.
The last one is also a picture book. It's called "See What We Eat" by Scot Ritchie. It's an introduction to how we get food and how we might prepare food. Each two page spread talks about a different kind of food production-dairy, grain, protein. The last few pages are recipes for some healthy, delicious, kid friendly food. The pictures are bright, highly detailed, and very interesting. I really liked how on each page, the text is divided. There is a part that gives a bit of an overview and then a second part that digs a little deeper. This would be great for reading with different age kids-the little ones just get the first part, the bigger ones get both. Brilliant! This one is definitely coming to live in my library,