Monday, August 17, 2009

Non-Fiction Monday

Chronicle Books has a pretty good thing going in their Explorers Series, with books taking a unique and interesting approach to how kids can learn about specific individuals in history, as well as a bit of geography and some animal facts. Not a bad combo! Animals Charles Darwin Saw: An Around the World Adventure and Animals Marco Polo Saw: An Adventure on the Silk Road, are both written by Sandra Markle and follow the explorers on journeys to find new worlds.

Darwin sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and around South America, then made stops in Tahiti and Australia, finding all sorts of new animals and insects before returning to England, all helping to provide information for his theory of evolution.

The illustrations in this one, done by Zina Saunders were a bit bland, kinda boring. Done in very muted colors, I wouldn't really expect the illustrations to completely hold the attention of the reader, but being non-fiction for middle schoolers, that is probably not a necessary quality for a book.

Marco Polo, long before Darwin, traveled the Silk Road from Italy to modern day China, via Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Far Easy, finding new landscapes, encountering animals like giant elephants and Persian lions, all while trying to learn about the family's silk cloth business.

Illustrations, done by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini completely captured the lovely colors and styles of China and the silk business. The clothing and cloth were made to be bright and cheery even amidst a cold, dreary landscape.

Both books are incredibly informative in the realm of the lives of the explorers and also throw in fact boxes on almost every page to fill the reader in on different cultural norms, ideologies of the time, and animal facts. Pronunciations are included for words that may be a bit more difficult and each has a glossary, map section, index, and further resources.

Nice choices for middle school libraries.

There is a third and fourth book in the series, of which I did not review, entitled Animals Christopher Columbus Saw: An Adventure in the New World and Animals Robert Scott Saw: An Adventure in Antarctica.

Thank you to Chronicle Books for the review copies!! To learn more about either of these, or to purchase, click on the book covers above to link to Amazon.

Animals Charles Darwin Saw: An Around the World Adventure
Sandra Markle
48 pages
Chronicle Books
January 2009

Animals Marco Polo Saw
Sandra Markle
48 pages
Chronicle Books
April 2009


The Wild About Writing Trio said...

This sounds like a wonderful new series. Thanks for sharing.


hollybookscoops said...

These sound like great resources for kids writing reports and wanting to find out more information about these fascinating people.