Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fall Reading 2013 Forest Food Webs in Action and Wild Animal Neighbors

I spent some of the long Labor Day weekend reading some interesting nonfiction titles.

Forest Food Webs in Action by Paul Fleisher is a well-written explanation of food chains and food webs. The photographs are clear and have concise captions that restate the main points of the text or offer questions to make the reader think more deeply. The chapters are organized around the parts of a food web - plants, herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, decomposers, and humans. There is a helpful glossary in the back along with suggestions of where to find more information. The table of contents and index make it easy to locate specific facts. The text is written in a straight-forward, easy-to-understand manner and supported by the abundant photos.

This would be an excellent addition to elementary school libraries or classrooms. The text and photos work together to fully explain how food webs are formed. It would serve well in a unit on forest habitats and ecosystems or one about food chains and food webs in general. The suggestions for further investigation would be helpful to students doing research or teachers looking for other resources to pull in to their lessons.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley, but it is already available for sale.

Lerner Publishing Group has a webpage with author information. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) gives the book their recommendation.

Wild Animal Neighbors  by Ann Downer is an informative and entertaining look at urban wildlife. The chapter titles read like headlines, "The Coyote in the Sub Shop," is one example. Each chapter features a different animal in a different city from around the world. There is a balance of facts presented about how the animal's habitat came to include the urban area, how the animals and humans are having an impact on each other, how some humans view the animals as pests or nuisances while others view them as neighbors, and ways humans are trying to solve the problem. There is a full page on each animal with a large photo and facts about its size, diet, whether they are native to the area they currently occupy, and whether they are considered endangered. I especially like that the book has several animals (raccoons, black bears, and coyotes), that live in the East Tennessee area, so the information on them is very relevant. The epilogue shares other animals that the author researched while putting the book together and offers suggestions for anyone wanting to learn more. I would recommend this to intermediate or middle school students and teachers. It would work well with units on habitats and ecosystems, man's impact on the environment, biodiversity, and related topics.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley. It will go on sale November 1, 2013.

You can find out more about the author on her website or follow her on Twitter. There is also a FaceBook page for the book.

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