Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Giant Pandas and Pandas

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and The Nonfiction Detectives. Every Wednesday, I'll review non-fiction picture book. (It may not always be a picture book. Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other non-fiction books are shared this week!

Title: Giant Pandas (Endangered and Threatened Animals) 
Author: Brenda Haugen  
Publisher: Capstone Press 
Publication Date: July 2012  
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction/Informational/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Describes the life cycle and characteristics of pandas, including physical and environmental threats to the species. 
Snatch of Text: "On a cold, wet mountain in central China, a black and white bear sits in a dimly lit forest. Sunlight streams through the coniferous trees, shining its light on the bamboo growing beneath. The giant panda chews a stalk of the woody grass. Its powerful jaws make quick work of its meal. The panda is in no hurry. The shy animal will move only bout 500 yards (457 meters) all day. Pandas spend most of their waking hours filling their round bellies with bamboo.
     Many species of bamboo grow in the forests. Despite the variety, pandas only like 25 types of bamboo. And only a few are found where pandas call home. But that's not all. Fewer forests mean fewer pandas. This unique bear is disappearing." (p. 4)  
I *heart* It:

Title: Pandas (National Geographic Kids) 
Author: Anne Schreiber    
Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books 
Publication Date: January 2010 
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction/Informational/Picture Book  
GoodReads Summary: The whole world loves panda bears. Everyone loves to watch them play, climb, cuddle, and chew. But careful, they can scratch too—just look at that tree! Pandas live in wild places very faraway, and they are the STAR ATTRACTIONS of every zoo that keeps them safe and well, all over the world.  
Snatch of Text: "Bamboo for breakfast, bamboo for lunch, bamboo for dinner, and bamboo to munch. What do pandas eat? You guessed it - bamboo! It makes up almost all of a panda's diet." (p. 12) 

I *heart* It:
What I Think: I learned so much about giant pandas and red pandas even. These books work well separately but also together. We read the National Geographic book first, it's more of an introduction to pandas and their habits and habitats. There are some panda jokes throughout the book that were amusing. Overall, this book is more colorful and visually appealing.
     Giant Pandas is a more specific resource that shares more information about the giant pandas being endangered, what is being done to support them, and what readers can do to help. It also has a few great visuals that help readers understand the information that is being presented. While the colors are more muted, there is a great map that shows how the size of the pandas' habitat has changed from prehistoric times until now and a comparison of how big a giant panda actually is to a six-foot-tall man. The text features in this book seemed to be much more helpful and clear.
     Pandas are completely adorable, the photographs of the pandas in both of the books are wonderful and charming. They seem to capture the true gentle spirit of pandas. By reading both of these, we learned a lot about pandas. While I knew they ate lots of bamboo and that there are not many pandas left, I didn't quite understand just how much bamboo they really eat or how few pandas there are in the world. Sharing these two books is a great way to compare two resources and then to head off to do more research to find other resources to compare. Students could research more information about pandas or even learn more about endangered animals and the impact humans are having on animal habitats and animals in general.
Read Together: Grades K - 6 
Read Alone: Grades K - 6 
Read With: Can We Save the Tiger by Martin Jenkins, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Asking Questions, Author's Purpose, Using Non-Fiction Text Features
Writing Strategies to Practice: Expository, Persuasive, Compare and Contrast 
Writing Prompts: After reading about pandas, write a persuasive argument to convince readers to support pandas or other endangered animals in some way.  
Topics Covered: Integration - Science, Endangered Animals, Compassion, Integration - Social Studies 

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