Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Summer Reading 2015 A Passion for Elephants: The Real Life Adventure of Field Scientist Cynthia Moss

Actually, I've had this book for a couple of months*, but I didn't want my review to be lost too far in advance of publication, so I've held off on posting it. Toni Buzzeo has taken the story of field scientist Cynthia Moss and turned it into a wonderful narrative nonfiction that even the youngest readers can enjoy. The repeated emphasis on words like big, tall, high, far, enormous, and overwhelming, lets us see not only the size of the creatures Moss studies, but the scope of her project. The clever emphasis on these words in the text with a larger size font and dark red color will catch the eyes of young readers and have them eagerly looking for the next occurrence. (The repetition and variety of terms also lends itself to a wonderful lesson on synonyms.) The entire story is rich in vocabulary and perfect for using as a mentor text when teaching writing.

There has been an increasing demand for narrative nonfiction to use in English/language arts lessons and stories such as this with animals that children are naturally curious about and scientists who are out in the world interacting with those creatures are always popular with teachers and students alike. Following Cynthia Moss from her childhood through to the current day gives students a chance to identify with her and to think of what they may someday become as they grow up.

I love Toni's books and I can't wait to share this latest title with my students and fellow teachers. (*Toni had some extra f&g copies and offered them to librarians and reviewers to read and share.)

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