________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 15 . . . .March 21, 2008

cover

The ABCs of Oceans. (The ABCs of the Natural World).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (rlb.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3432-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3412-3 (rlb.).

Subject Headings:
Marine animals-Juvenile literature.
Ocean-Juvenile literature.
English language-Alphabet-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9.

Review by Mary Thomas.

*** /4

   
cover

The ABCs of Habitats. (The ABCs of the Natural World).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (rlb.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3431-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3411-6 (rlb.).

Subject Headings:
Habitat (Ecology)-Juvenile literature.
Biotic communities-Juvenile literature.
English language-Alphabet-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9.

Review by Mary Thomas.

*** /4

   
cover

The ABCs of Animals. (The ABCs of the Natural World).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (rlb.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3430-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3410-9 (rlb.).

Subject Headings:
Animals-Juvenile literature.
English language-Alphabet-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9.

Review by Mary Thomas.

*** /4

   
cover

The ABCs of Plants. (The ABCs of the Natural World).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (rlb.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3433-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3413-0 (rlb.).

Subject Headings:
Plants-Juvenile literature.
English language-Alphabet-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9.

Review by Mary Thomas.

*** /4

   

excerpt:

Nn

National parks.
National parks are huge safe habitats for wildlife. People are not allowed to hunt or build in these parks. National parks are run by the governments of countries. Yellowstone National Park was the very first national park in the world. It is home to animals such as wolves, grizzly bears, elk, and bison. Today, there are national parks in many countries around the world. (From
The ABCs of Habitats.)

 

Given the titles of the books in this series, it hardly takes a genius to recognize that one of their unifying features is a working through of all the letters of the alphabet. And as anyone who has ever read an abecedarium, other than one listing single nouns and having no unifying theme, can attest, the problems come at the end of the alphabet. These books are no different, but they solve the difficulty in ingenious ways.

     It might be possible to find a habitat beginning with an X, but to use "eXplore" and include "eXciting animals and eXotic plants" is preferable to an esoteric alternative. The plants book, on the other hand, introduces the word "Xylem," a useful word, and the animal one the family of the Xenarthrans (sloths, anteaters, and armadillos), which was a new one on me but rather fun. The "Xmas tree worms" in the ocean book is a less happy choice. Better to have reused the eXplore theme, in my opinion, as was done for the letter Q, which is a Quiz in both the plants and the habitats book.

      All of the books are lavishly and colourfully illustrated with photographs and pictures. A few lines of text, seldom longer than that given in the excerpt above, appear on each page, explaining and/or emphasizing the points made in the pictures. A lot of these pictures include young children, placing them squarely in the midst of the worlds that are being described.

      Not surprisingly, there is overlap. The animal volume, for example, has A (Animals Adapt) illustrated by pictures of animals in varied habitats around the world, habitats that are described in greater detail in their own book. The oceans book has Reefs; an almost identical entry is found in the habitats book under C, for Colorful Coral reefs. U is Under the ground in the plants book, talking about root systems, and Underground in the habitats one, as a place where worms and groundhogs live.

      Each book has a strong bias in favour of saving the earth, its species, and its habitats from the onslaught of expanding populations and industry. This is a Good Thing! Only if children learn to know and love what is around them will they do what needs to be done to help preserve their world.

      The final page of each volume has a separate index and a glossary of the words highlighted in the text entries, and there is also an initial table of contents. These make the books a useful tool for students just beginning to do research, but mostly the books will appeal to younger readers who prefer nonfiction to stories but who still require lots of pictures to help with understanding a piece of text. For older children, the books could be a starting point for a project, but there would not be enough information on any one subject to take them very far.

Recommended.

Mary Thomas works in an elementary school library in Winnipeg, MB, and can see the primary grades being very eager readers of these books.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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