of the Center for
|The Bulletin Dozen is a monthly theme-based list of titles available only on-line. Since we're awfully fond of bakers here at the Bulletin, we thought we'd adopt their philosophy of generosity and throw in an extra one or two when we have them to offer--so don't expect an even dozen. Please feel free to copy, download, or link to these lists. We ask only that you cite the source. See the archive for lists from previous months.|
Thanks for the Animals ...
selected by Janice Del Negro
It's the time of year to count our blessings, and our blessings include the following thirteen non-fiction animal related titles, for which we are truly grateful. Happy Thanksgiving.
--Janice M. Del Negro, editor
- Cowley, Joy. Red-Eyed Tree Frog; illus. with photographs by Nic Bishop. Scholastic, 1999.
"Cowley's spare but attractively declarative text is set in a sans serif font against grass green panels which feature gloriously sharp color. . . . The photographs practically drip with color, and the crystalline focus results in precise, articulated images. A concluding double-page spread entitled "Did You Know?" gives additional information about the life cycle of the red-eyed tree frog." (BCCB 3/99)
- Earle, Sylvia. Hello, Fish!: Visiting the Coral Reef; illus. with photographs by Wolcott Henry. National Geographic, 1999.
"Set in boxes against pale yellow backgrounds dotted with violet fishy silhouettes, Earle's text is simply and succinctly informative. . . . Format and layout make this a strong non-fiction choice for both reading aloud to groups and individual beginning readers; a map showing the location of the world's coral reefs is included. "(BCCB 6/99)
- Giblin, James Cross. The Mystery of the Mammoth Bones: And How It Was Solved. HarperCollins, 1999.
"Giblin zooms in on Peale's work at age sixty, when he and his son Rembrandt followed a series of leads to unearth "mammoth" bones from ancient sinkholes in New York state. The tale of discovery, reconstruction, and reception by the scientific community is well told, enhanced by details of the challenges associated with locating remains, bargaining with site owners, arranging dangerous excavations, and weathering a disappointing foreign tour." (BCCB 2/99)
- Huang, Chungliang Al. The Chinese Book of Animal Powers; written and illus. by Chungliang Al Huang. Cotler/HarperCollins, 1999
"Huang introduces what is commonly called the Chinese Zodiac in conversational language with a deliberately friendly tone. . . . Huang's calligraphy (including both the Chinese sign for the animal and its transliteration into the Roman alphabet) and paintings soar across the white pages in sweeping black lines that dominate the available space and give a sense of energetic movement. . . . This is an introduction to Chinese myth and legend, but it is also an elegant piece of bookmakingÉ" (BCCB 12/99)
- Horenstein, Henry. A Is ForÉ?: A Photographer's Alphabet of Animals; written and illus. with photographs by Henry Horenstein. Gulliver/Harcourt, 1999.
"More visual puzzle than early concept book, the title presents each letter alongside a photograph of the relevant creature. . . . Horenstein's photos offer monochromatic drama themselves, though they're printed on brown-tinting paper that makes them more softly contrasting and narratively magical than traditional black and white. . . . Artistic and creative, this may inspire youngsters to make their own imaginative alphabets." (BCCB 11/99)
- Lynch, Wayne. Penguins!; written and illus. with photographs by Wayne Lynch. Firefly, 1999
"A readable melange of anecdote, explanation, gee-whiz facts, and 'hot new research' in penguin studies, the text and plentiful accompanying photographs successfully portray penguins as 'more than cute creatures that waddle and bray.'. . . This one might well be the answer to the question of what's black and white and read all over." (BCCB 12/99)
- Montgomery, Sy. The Snake Scientist; photos by Nic Bishop. Houghton, 1999.
"Montgomery's zippy text gives an engaging portrait of the scientific work [of Bob Mason, 'snake scientist'] . . . . The liveliness of the text and the synthesis of narrative and science make this a particularly stellar entry; another excellent and imaginative touch is the page listing 'Unsolved Mysteries' about the snakes that research is addressing--and budding scientists may wish to contemplate. " (BCCB 4/99)
- Myers, Christopher. Black Cat. Scholastic, 1999.
"Christopher Myers creates powerful collage art in this tribute to the urban lifestyle of a black street cat as it prowls around neon- and sunlit thoroughfares. . . . The illustrations-a combination of photographic images, collage, gouache, and ink-. . . . are an uncanny combination of gritty reality and urban fantasy. The rhythmic, chantable verse proves that Myers has mastery over poetic as well as visual imagery: "Black cat, black cat,/ is there a place of your own?/ we want to know,/ where's your home?// black cat answers . . . / anywhere I roam." Cool." (BCCB 2/99)
- Rounds, Glen. Beaver; written and illus. by Glenn Rounds. Holiday House, 1999.
"Rounds uses simple declarative sentences to succinctly explain the lifestyle and habits of the beaver, from dam building to treebark chewing. . . . a full-page color illustration on the verso is accompanied by large type and black-and-white spot art on the recto; the illustrations are sizable enough to be seen by a group, and the clear typeface will cause just beginning readers to breathe a sigh of relief. Rounds has delivered an accessible natural science title with a wide range of possible uses, not the least being that it's fun to read." (BCCB 6/99)
- Ryden, Hope. Wild Horses I Have Known; written and illus. with photographs by Hope Ryden. Clarion, 1999.
"Ryden is the primary documentarian of the contemporary mustang, and here she returns to the subject, focusing particularly on aspects of equine behavior she's observed. . . . . The first-person observations make the events dramatic as well as informational, with the author nervously talking down challenging stallions and cheerfully personifying her subjects. The real draw here, however, is the collection of elegantly displayed color photographs depicting the mustangs observed in the text; between twilit pictures of gamboling youngsters and sun-drenched views of thundering herds, the book effectively testifies to Ryden's long term advocacy for the protection of the mustang." (BCCB 4/99)
- Settel, Joanne. Exploding Ants: Amazing Facts about How Animals Adapt. Atheneum, 1999.
"Settel explains that one animal's gross body parts are another animal's happy habitat-or lunch, as the case might be. Each example. . . . is accompanied by a sharp color photograph or black-and-white line drawing, just to make sure eager readers don't miss one disgusting tidbit. The matter-of-fact, kid-pleasing style is going to make this a favorite science-report starter source. This is Ripley's Believe It Or Not! on a biological and photographic scale young scientists will adore." (BCCB 3/99)
- Swinburne, Stephen R. Once a Wolf: How Wildlife Biologists Fought to Bring Back the Gray Wolf; illus. with photographs by Jim Brandenburg. Houghton, 1999.
"The book relates discoveries regarding the wolf's life cycle and habits and how they changed the image of the wolf from a vicious natural-born killer to a necessary element in a balanced wilderness. Brandenburg has already shown consummate skill in photographing these shy subjects (To the Top of the World, BCCB 11/93), and these crisp color photographs showing wolves in their natural environment are exceptional. . . . This is an involving study of an attempt to restore an altered ecosystem, an ongoing experiment the description of which makes fascinating reading." (BCCB 7/99)
- Ward, Helen, ad. The Hare and the Tortoise: A Fable from Aesop; ad. and illus. by Helen Ward. Millbrook, 1999.
"From the opening lines ("There once was a very fast hare. . . and a very slow tortoise") Ward tells the story of the age-old contest in vigorous language that, coupled with detailed yet uncrowded compositions, makes this version a storyteller's dream. Watercolor and ink illustrations depict elegantly rendered beasties racing across clean white spreads . . . . The minimally anthropomorphised animal characters are the antithesis of cutesiness, resembling zoological illustrations. . . . Think you've already got enough Aesop? Not if you don't have this one." (BCCB 6/99)
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This page was last updated on November 1, 1999.