I’m continuing to read through the lists of Cybils picture book finalists. This first book by author Jason Chin does a really remarkable job of taking a very complex topic and making it easy to understand. Island: A Story of the Galapagos looks at the geological and biological processes that led over millions of years to the Galapagos Islands of today. Chin’s simple but lyrical text is as beautiful as his illustrations. I liked that he shows Darwin arriving in the Epilogue but more chooses to focus on the islands themselves than on the scientist. It’s an interesting and unique perspective to the story. If you aren’t someone who believes in evolution, this may not be the book for you. I happen to be a Christian who does believe in evolution and I would find this book a wonderful addition to an elementary science curriculum.
We read Dolphin Baby by Nicola Davies sometime last year but I never got around to reviewing it. In all honesty, I liked it but it wasn’t a book that struck me as particularly special so it just slipped back into the library return pile. I decided to take a second look when the Cybils finalists list came out. It is a good book but I still think it’s not as good as many of the other nonfiction picture books we read last year. I do like that the text reads very much like a story, this makes it appealing to kids who aren’t huge non-fiction fans and to younger kids. The story follows a newly-born dolphin calf as he takes his first breath of air to when he learns his very own particular whistle (his “name” in Dolphin). It’s a sweet book and Davies does do a nice job of weaving in many fascinating facts about dolphins to the story of this one mother-baby dolphin pair.
If this book was nothing else but photographs it would be amazing but Nic Bishop Snakes is packed full of information on every sort of snake imaginable. I’ve always been scared of snakes but have had to get over that a bit as John has always loved them. His favorite house at the zoo for many years was the reptile house and we have gone many times to gaze on the pythons and boas and vipers. The more venomous and deadly the more fascinating in John’s eyes. I have found that over time I’ve become less creeped out by snakes (although I do think a healthy respect for an animal that can be deadly is just common sense) and more convinced that they are indeed fascinating creatures. Nic Bishop’s book will delight future herpetologists and perhaps win a few over some of the snake haters.
Nonfiction Monday is hosted this week at 100 Scope Notes.
And come back again tomorrow for an Armchair Cybils wrap-up. I hope to have read all the finalists in both the fiction and non-fiction picture book categories by then and share my predictions for the winners.