A couple of weeks ago I wrote about reading books to myself, out loud, and to a group of kiddos and how different each of those experiences is. That idea was hammered home this past week when I read Book of Bones: 10 Record-Breaking Animals by Gabrielle Balkan and illustrated by Sam Brewster. I had gotten it because it seemed like a good title for us to read as we looked for books for our Mock Orbis Pictus Award fun.
When I read the book to myself it was fine. I learned some interesting facts but definitely wouldn’t have put it near the top of my mock award list.
It took a couple of days to read it aloud. There’s a lot in this book. The students loved the chance to guess what animal sets each of the ten records in the book (lightest bone, heaviest bone, fewest bones, etc.). When I would turn the page they were either shocked or cheering – mostly cheering.
There were lots of gasps as I read facts about these animals. One of the reasons it took so long to read was because there was so much they wanted to discuss and ask throughout the book.
At first glance the illustrations seem functional but in reality they are astounding. The skeletons are detailed in just the right amount. Details that draw in the reader but don’t overwhelm. The pictures of the animals have the skeletons showing, if the book is at the right angle.
After reading this book aloud I love it. The kids’ reactions and the slower, careful reading we did together allowed me to see the book more clearly. And to greatly enjoy it.
(Participating in the Mock Orbis Pictus Award with NCTE is helping me share more nonfiction with my students, an ongoing goal of mine.)