Friday, March 3, 2023

Celebrate World Wildlife Day with Animal Books!

It’s World Wildlife Day – so the theme for today is animals. In particular, penguins – and also maps, because mapping things can give us insight into animal lives.

Themes: animals, nonfiction, maps

Emperor of the Ice: How a Changing Climate Affects a Penguin Colony 
by Nicola Davies; illus by Catherine Rayner 
32 pages; ages 5-9
Candlewick, 2023 

It’s April in Antarctica.

That’s not a “beginning of spring” April, but a “winter is coming” April. Most animals are heading north to warmer weather, but not the emperor penguins. Sea ice and bitter cold – that’s what they’ve been waiting for. This is breeding season, and they’ll depend on that sea ice to last as long as it takes to raise a chick. That sea ice is how mama penguin gets to the fisheries and, when she returns to care for the just hatched chick, it’s how papa penguin will get to the fishes.

What I like about this book: The combination of text and illustrations gives a wonderful glimpse into the life of emperor penguins. And it emphasizes why the ice is so important; without it, the penguins could perish. Back matter explains what climate change is and discusses how a warming world affects Antarctic sea ice. There’s also a section about what people can do to slow climate change.

Maps for Penguins and Other Traveling Animals
by Tracey Turner, illus. by Hui Skipp 
48 pages; ages 6 & up
Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2023

Animals find their way without using maps, GPS, a compass, street signs, or any of the things we humans need if we don’t want to get lost.

Some of them travel thousands of miles, from one continent to another, over vast stretches of ocean. Others travel short distances, over to the next meadow to pick up a basket of pollen for the hive. And some mark their territories, warning others to keep out!

What I like about this book: I love maps, so I picked this book for the title. And I was not disappointed – there are ten maps detailing travels of penguins, butterflies, tigers, whales, honeybees, lemurs … and even sea turtles! These aren’t maps for those various creatures to use – but visual representations that help us understand more about their lives and the journeys they undergo on a daily or seasonal basis. Take the map for penguins: it shows a route to the rookery and route back to colony. Plus it’s annotated with short notes about what is going on at each stop. Another spread tells more about penguins lives. Or check out the ring-tailed lemur’s map: which details the territory of one group of lemurs living on the island of Madagascar. Landmarks include a sunbathing rock, the sleeping tree, and a place where territorial fights sometimes happen.

Beyond the Books:

Fold a penguin out of paper. All you need is a sheet of paper. Here’s a video showing how to do it. And here's directions for a slightly easier version.

Hold a Penguin Dance Party. Waddle like a penguin, create slippy-slidy moves, and have fun. Grab some ideas from this post.

What can you do to make the world a better place for penguins and other animals? List at least three things you can do starting today. You can get some ideas here.

Map your travels. Maybe you want to show your daily travels to/from school, or a seasonal journey over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house. Make sure to put in some landmarks and some notes about what happens where.

Today we’re joining Perfect Picture Book Friday. It’s a wonderful gathering where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copies provided by the publishers.

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