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Reading My Library

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jim Arnosky Plays in the Water

Continuing our discussions regarding books by Jim Arnosky, check out these titles, all having to do with animals who live in (or very near) the water.

Turtle in the Sea follows a mother sea turtle as she is coming to shore to lay her eggs. This mother has been through a lot and the book focuses not so much on her egg laying, but on her previous adventures which brought her to the shore. She has been caught in nets, attacked by a shark, plowed under a boat and had her shell cracked. This mother sea turtle has led a very amazing life and now the circle of life is continuing by the laying of these eggs. Soon, there will be new baby turtles to explore the great blue sea.

"Tiny flippers to propel them.
Tiny shells protecting.
Tiny eyes to see their world.
Tiny turtles in the sea."

In A Manatee Morning we meet a manatee mother and her baby.

In the Crystal River,
where the water's warm and clean,
something big is moving.
It's a swimming manatee.
This book talks about the fact that manatees are gentle giants and all of the pictures are soft and peaceful. This book is an excellent companion to Sam the Sea Cow, by Francine Jacobs which is a Reading Rainbow book/episode. If you are studying manatees, check out these two picture books as well as the Reading Rainbow episode where LeVar meets some manatees! (So far that particular episode as ranked as one of our favorites.)

Come Out, Muskrats opens in the late afternoon "when the cove becomes calm." Cattails are reflecting in the water and its time for the muskrats to come out of their house (which, of course, is a den in the water). The muskrats are good at "making hay while the sun shines" and enjoy their excursions in the water, racing around those cattails and diving among the lily pads.

"When it gets dark and the birds end their songs -
stay out, muskrats, stay out,
and swim until dawn."

This book has very simple sentence structures so that toddlers are able to dive right on in with the muskrats who have a very funny name, after all, and can be very appealing creatures.

But! The piece de resistance of the books about water animals that we found at our library was Gobble It Up! (A Fun song about Eating.) This story is definitely set to music and it's kind of difficult to read aloud as a story (even though that's what we did because the library's copy of the CD with the music had gone missing - not our fault). It's an awkward read aloud but my son could have cared. less. IT HAD A "PINOCCHIO WHALE" (aka, sperm whale) in it! What more could any child in any universe ever ask for!?!?!

To quote from the book jacket:

"It's supertime in the wild - and the animals are hungry! Clap your hands and sing along with renowed wildlife artist and folk musician Jim Arnosky in this catchy, factual picture book/song that follows animals as they engage in everyone's favorite daily activity - eating!"
I don't know about eating but I SHOULD REMIND YOU THAT IT HAD A PINOCCHIO WHALE *AND* it was EATING A GIANT SQUID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Be still our beating hearts. We have stared in wide-eyed wonder at this book, daily, ever since it came home. Furthermore, we have our toy Pinocchio whale and giant squid available for close inspection and recreation of various eating activities. Brilliant. We highly, HIGHLY, highly recommend this one for the pictures.

Arnosky has several other water animal books but these were the ones on hand at our library for this go around. Now I just have to convince my child to let go of Gobble It Up! so that it can be returned before we incur fines.

Wish me luck!

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