Getting Wild with Non-Fiction
Have you ever wondered how closely we are related to various animals and insects? Most of us know humans are closely related to apes but how are other animals like us? Are there animals that mourn loved ones, are there animals that laugh and play like we do? Thankfully Maria Birmingham has all the answers in the new non-fiction book Acting Wild: How We Behave Like Birds, Bugs and Beasts.
Author Maria Birmingham brings us all kinds of facinating facts about how humans are similar to animals and insects, all divided into twelve headings or chapters with three facts under each heading and a wonderful little ant, a sort of Jiminy Cricket if you will, as your guide throughout the pages. The ant guide starts off each chapter/heading with a little banter, adding colour and giving a distinctive voice and flow to the book. There are times when non-fiction can be a bit dry but Maria Birmingham knows exactly how to grab and keep a reader’s attention with her humourous asides. Not only does the author give the reader information in each chapter about three specific animals, she also adds the names of other animals who fall into each category for those who are so inclined to conduct further research and learn even more about different animals.
Dave Whamond adds the cartoon flair to the book, creating really fun and engaging pictures throughout to further up the interest level and keep readers around for the long haul. Since the book is fairly lengthy at 34 jam packed pages, the illustrations keep the reading fresh and motivating. Designer Alisa Baldwin was brilliant in bringing all of these elements together to create a wonderful non-fiction book about animal behaviour for all the non-fiction loving readers out there. It’s so important for children to have access to information about real topics in an age appropriate way. It was not that long ago when I set a project for the grade two students I was teaching at the time about animals and struggled to find non-fiction books to bring in for them to conduct their research. This year The Bear, in grade two, was given a similar project and had a wealth of non-fiction texts, appropriate for his level of understanding to use to create his project about dolphins. It is so important for children to have a whole host of books available at their fingertips because you just never know what book will turn a reluctant reader into a lifelong reader.