Monday, July 25, 2011

Non-Fiction Monday: Elephants!

So, I love elephants. Not quite sure why or how I got into them, but they are just such gorgeous, majestic creatures that live quiet and peaceful lives. The husband and I were even pretty close to having an elephant theme for the bookworm-on-the-way's nursery, but it was outranked just a tad by another animal. More on that in a later post. Back to the elephants!

I had a chance this season to review two awesome elephant books and both are pretty fantastic and would make nice additions to any middle grade or high school library shelf. 

The Elephant Scientist by Caitlin O'Connell and Donna M. Jackson with photographs by Caitlin O'Connell and Timothy Rodwell

This one is part of the AMAZING "Scientists in the Field" series that I've featured a ton of times on the blog. Following American scientist Caitlin O'Connell as she studies African elephants, we learn about how O'Connell started in the field and all sorts of cool facts about elephants and their families. It's so incredibly fascinating to me how these huge animals care for one another and work together to help their young prosper and survive, as well as how they aren't afraid to stand up to one another or protect each other. 

The photographs are an essential portion to these books, illustrating just how "into" a species these scientists get. They're brilliant and clear, some even suitable to be art on the wall! 

Covering a huge range of information, this book, along with others in the series would best be used in a classroom setting or for projects, not as simple reading material (unless you are like me and love this stuff!). There are even cool sections in the back including instructions to watch O'Connell's elephant experiments, different pachyderm terms, and even how to adopt an elephant. 

The Elephant Scientist
Caitlin O'Connell and Donna M. Jackson
80 pages
Non-Fiction
Houghton Mifflin
9780547053449
July 2011
Review copy provided by publisher

Elephant Talk by Ann Downer

Focusing more on the actual communication aspects of how elephants communicate with one another using different sounds and movements. The author writes a lot about the scientific studies that following the sounds, smells, and movements the elephants use to stay in communication with each other, as well as the relationship between elephants and humans, including poaching and treating elephants as gods in certain parts of the world. 

Definitely not a book to just sit down and read, the sections in the book could easily be used alone or in conjunction with another book to teach a unit on communication in the animal world. I was again impressed with the level of photography and how well it solidifies the information in the text. Visual learners, like myself, need the aid of photographs to really "get" what the author is trying to tell us. 

Readers can also go "beyond the book" and download educational resources at www.lerneresource.com. Great for teachers!

Elephant Talk: The Surprising Science of Elephant Communication
Ann Downer
112 pages
Non-Fiction
Twenty-First Century Books
9780761357667
January 2011
Review copy provided by publisher

1 comment:

MSTEELADY said...

Great blog...reading is truly fundamental!