Books From Kinderland | Gail Gibbons

February 18, 2017 Books From Kinderland, Reviews 2

kinderland
Welcome to Kinderland, the place I spend most my time! Since I started teaching Kindergarten I read as many books for fun as I do for work. And I decided it’s time to start sharing them! In Books From Kinderland you’ll see the picture books I’m reading with my class from a teacher’s perspective. I’ll also share reviews of books I’m reading that are about teaching. So welcome to Kinderland!

So we recently started our non-fiction unit in my class. And, I’m not going to lie, I’m not a fan of this unit. I struggle with it because, well, non-fiction books tend to be mostly meh for me. If I could do biographies for our non-fiction unit it wouldn’t be so bad… but I’m supposed to be introducing the kids to informational texts. Helping them understand that some books are there to entertain and others, while they may be interesting, are written to give us information. But it’s really important that the kids still love the books. If they don’t they won’t pay attention and the lesson is lost.

Well y’all I’ve learned that Gail Gibbons is an author I can count on to keep the kids interested… and even me a little bit! Kids love learning at this age, so as long as the material is presented in a way that keeps them engaged it works. She does this. Here are three books I read with my class and each was a home run!

Books From Kinderland | Gail GibbonsSpiders by Gail Gibbons
Illustrator: Gail Gibbons
Series: Stand Alone
Published by Holiday House on January 1, 1993
Genres: Children's Picture Books
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Goodreads
four-stars

The physical characteristics, behavior and habitats of different kinds.

I chose Spiders because I knew several of the kids in my class would find them interesting and others are afraid of spiders, so I was hoping to take away some of the fear factor by showing how amazing they are. I think it worked, for the most part.

I found Spiders really interesting because it talked, not only about the different kinds of spiders, but also about the different kinds of webs they make. As I was reading it to the kids, I was thinking it would be a cool book to revisit when we’re talking about geometric shapes in math, since it uses a lot of those vocabulary words and shows them shapes in a real-world context.

It keeps the kids engaged, especially if you read it like I did – using gestures into the carpet of kids every time a spider grabbed it’s meal. Made them jump and they loved it πŸ™‚ And even though I made them jump, they all told me that most spiders aren’t dangerous after we read the story. That most of them are good and harmless.

Spiders was a good pick for teaching about main idea versus details too – they quickly understood that spiders were the main idea of the story and with very little instruction were able to pick out details like, “there are a lot of different kinds of spiders” and “they use different kinds of webs to catch their food” and “spiders live in lots of different places (which we learned are called environments).” I started my unit with this book and am thankful I did, since it was so clear cut on the learning objective of main ideas and details.

Books From Kinderland | Gail GibbonsMonarch Butterfly by Gail Gibbons
Illustrator: Gail Gibbons
Series: Stand Alone
Published by Holiday House on January 1, 1989
Genres: Children's Picture Books
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Goodreads
four-stars

From egg to caterpillar to butterfly, the story of how they live.

I choose Monarch Butterfly because several of the kids in my class, and especially the girls, have talked about butterflies throughout the school year. I thought they’d be interested and I was right. My kids sat so quiet and engaged, raising their hands to ask all kinds of questions throughout Monarch Butterfly.

This is a teacher-win book, too, though. For several reasons:

  • It has all the features you’re looking for in a informational text. Pictures with headings. Pictures with labels. Definitions. Great for teaching the elements of an informative text.
  • Vocabulary! This book teaches about molting, Metamorphosis, and migration. (alliteration I guess too, not that you teach that really in Kinder).
  • If you read the book after reading Spiders, as I did, it’s also reinforces the lesson of text-to text connections. We quickly remembered a book that talked about molting… since Spiders molt too! It also can be used as a text-to-text connection with The Hungry Caterpillar, which is great since it shows how you can connect fiction and non-fiction.
  • If you read the book in the winter, as I did, the talk about migration will fit perfectly with your science winter unit, reinforcing through an example for the kids what migration is all about.

If I were to have any complaint about this book, it would be that it’s on the longer side. It talks about the monarch butterfly all the way from it’s birth as a larva to laying eggs for the next generation. Good for content, but kids attention spans are only so long. And if, like me, story time has to be part of a lesson… by time the book is over you’re going to have some restless bodies that don’t want to finish the lesson.

4 stars Pretty Great

Books From Kinderland | Gail GibbonsDinosaurs! by Gail Gibbons
Illustrator: Gail Gibbons
Series: Stand Alone
Published by Holiday House on 2008
Genres: Children's Picture Books
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Dinosaurs ruled Earth for millions of years. Some were small and could run very, very fast. Others were big and were covered with spikes and plates for protection. Some were huge and terrified other dinosaurs with their long, sharp teeth.

Perfect for the very young palentologists, Gibbon's simple yet informative text and vividly detailed illustrations depict the most up-to-date information available about these magnificent creatures.

Oh dinosaurs. Y’all I’ve NEVER gotten the fascination with dinosaurs. I was not one of those kids that loved them. BUT I do recognize that most kids ADORE them and find them exciting. So to end our week on Main Idea and Details, I chose Dinosaurs for the kids. And, of course, they loved it.

As you’d expect, it talks in really big numbers about how long ago the dinosaurs lived and died. And the kids don’t comprehend that at all. They know it’s a LONG time ago. But since one of them asked me if I was alive with the dinosaurs, clearly a LONG time ago to them is just 30 years. LOL! It was a good teachable moment for how no humans were alive with the dinosaurs – unlike some movies portray. I think that kind of blew their little minds… so long ago, it was before humans.

The pictures in this book are fantastic and the kids have already scrambled to be the first to check the book out of our school library so they can get a closer look at those pictures. I liked the way it talked about how the animals ate and how their bodies are adapted for what they would eat.

The vocabulary is a bit of a mine field for the reader — why do dinosaur names have to be so difficult to pronounce? The names are shown phonetically as well, too, though, which helps. And the best news? If you’re reading it to a bunch of 5 or 6 year-olds, they aren’t likely to correct you. Unless you have a dino expert in the bunch (which you might).

Dinosaurs is another teacher-win thanks to format. It has picture labels, captions, and definitions throughout, really helping to highlight the features of an informative text. So, while dinosaurs aren’t my thing, it was a win-win for me and the class.

Again, this was a little longer than I would have liked… if it had stopped just before we got to the death of the dinosaurs I think it would have been the perfect length for me. And the stuff after the death of the dinosaurs was a little disconnected from the main idea of dinosaurs – talking about animals that survived the meteor. I think, in the future, I might preemptively end the book for the sake of our class discussion and lesson. That’s why I’m giving this one a little lower rating.

3.5 stars pretty good

This week in Kinderland Berls is talking about great informative texts by Gail Gibbons. See why they're… Click To Tweet Follow on Bloglovin

Berls

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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

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