CM . . .
. Volume XV Number 5. . . .October 24, 2008
The eight books in this excellent collection all provide concise and valuable information for early-years students beginning their first forays into using nonfiction materials. Each follows a similar format. The chapters in the book Cows, for example, are as follows: Why we need cows; Cows from nose to tail; It's a cow's life; Moo chew; From cow to carton; Why raise cows; Cow cousins; Farmyard fun; Glossary; Index; Ideas for teachers and parents.
Students learn why each of the particular domestic animals being studied is important to human life and how different cultures around the world utilize them for a multiplicity of purposes. The animal's physical characteristics and life-cycle are discussed. The animal's size is shown relative to the height of a six-year-old child so that the student knows they are approximately as high as a cow's nose while a pig, a goat and a sheep will go up to their neck, a chicken to mid-thigh, a duck to the knee and that a bee hive is just above head height. This comparative approach is an excellent fun way to illustrate the concept of height.
The children learn that there are many varieties of each of the domesticated animals and that each has differing characteristics and, in fact, may look markedly different from the animal with which they are familiar in North America. Besides the animals' looking different, the children learn that cultures around the world treat, show respect and celebrate the lives of the animal that are so important to human well-being in a variety of ways.
The inclusion of fish is a valuable addition to the series. Few teachers in central Canada or the United States might remember to include this valuable world-wide food resource in any discussion of animal husbandry. As well, the same may be said concerning the use of bees and other insects as producers of food or as a food source themselves.
Each book contains a hands-on activity that can be easily done in class and a variety of activities to link the animal study to other curricular areas. As well, the publisher has noted that, before undertaking any activity that involves animal products, adults should ensure that no child has allergies or food intolerances.
Ian Stewart is an early-years support teacher at David Livingstone School in Winnipeg, MB.
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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.