Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Prehistoric Actual Size

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Here at Teach Mentor Texts we are always looking for more ways to support teachers! We've found that teachers seem to be constantly on the lookout for great nonfiction. We know we are! To help with this undying quest for outstanding non-fiction, we are excited to participate in Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and The Nonfiction Detectives. Every Wednesday, you'll find a non-fiction review here - although it may not always be a picture book review. Please visit Kid Lit Frenzy to see what non-fiction others have to share, too. 

Title: Prehistoric Actual Size
Author: Steve Jenkins
Illustrator: Steve Jenkins
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Publication Date: 2005
Genre/Format: Nonfiction/Picture Book
Goodreads Summary: What is it like to come face-to-face with the ten-foot-tall terror bird? Or stare into the mouth of the largest meat eater ever to walk the earth? Can you imagine a millipede that is more than six feet long, or a dinosaur smaller than a chicken? In this "actual size” look at the prehistoric world, which includes two dramatic gatefolds, you’ll meet these awe-inspiring creatures, as well as many others.
What I Think: When I read Jen's review of Actual Size, I was intrigued by the concept and instantly put it on hold at the library; however, I got even more excited when I saw Prehistoric Actual Size because I love all things prehistoric. Ever since the first Jurassic Park came out, I wanted to learn everything about dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. This book is exactly what someone like me needs- a book that mixes small bits of information like how long ago an animal lived and how long/tall it is with a informational narrative that takes you through 18 different prehistoric animals and fun little tidbits of information about them.
     I would love to use this in my classroom to start a lesson about researching and inquiry. I would read Prehistoric Actual Size with my students, allow them to choose one of them that they would like to learn more about, and have them research. This book would be a great jumping off point for students. 
Read Together: Grades K to 5
Read Alone: Grades 2 and up
Read With: Actual Size by Steve Jenkins, Discovery Channel's Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Predators by Joe Brusha, Giant Squid by Mary M. Cerulla 
Snatch of Text: "Animals have lived on earth for hundreds of millions of years. Dragonflies the size of seagulls, meat-eating dinosaurs bigger than a bus, giant flying reptiles, fierce predatory birds eight feet tall - they all appeared, thrived for millions of years, and then died out as the world changed around them. In this book you'll see what these prehistoric animals, along with many others, may have looked like at actual size." (p. 3)
Mentor Text for: Research, Inquiry, Informational Nonfiction, Text Features
Writing Prompts: Which one of these prehistoric creatures would you like to learn more about? Research about them and share your discoveries. 
Topics Covered: Dinosaurs, Prehistoric Animals
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