I'm pleased to share that Animal Partners made the Kansas State Reading Circle Catalog this year. The list goes out to librarians and educators across the state as well as other awards lists and librarians across the country. Kansas National Education Association members serve on the Kansas State Reading Circle to read and screen all of the best children's literature published each year.
OUR 2014 TOP PICK
It is sometimes difficult to explain to young children about animal food chains, prey, and how wild creatures devour each other to allow continuation of life. Hence, it is entirely refreshing to see an extremely well done book targeted at a wide age range of children that eloquently shows us many animal species purposely "helping" another animal species to live a longer and more comfortable life. Yes, you heard right. Not eating them, but selflessly helping them. The over-arching message is nothing less than beautiful and truly amazing. Especially since these acts are actually done in real life. This is surprising and very pleasing. Especially, for a child's science subject book.
Besides offering well written descriptions of these selfless acts, rhyme and humor are used to captivate readers of all ages. This works very well for this subject.
Just when you thought these pages couldn't possibly deliver any more positive attributes, BANG! You get overtaken by the beauty and just-detailed-enough exceptional illustrations. The colors and textures are the best we've seen in a children's book in 2014. Just enough of humor in the picture story, while also delivering just enough true realism. Even the locations appear to be well thought out. The pages will prove captivating to all, especially in true print form (book).
Our best books each year are chosen in October. We have decided to award this book our "2014 Top Pick" in the Children's Science Picture Book category.
First of all, the cover of Animal Partners caught my eye immediately, intriguing me to open the book without reading the jacket cover first. Even though I am not supposed to judge a book by its cover, I did on this one and I was happily correct.
Scotti Cohn and Shennen Bersani created an educational book that does not feel educational. It feels fun, vibrant and entertaining. I wanted to keep learning about the unlikely allies. I loved this book!
Many kids do not like to read if they feel the book is supposed to make them learn something new. Somehow learning and reading for fun do not correlate for kids yet this book does just that; the kids learn without realizing they are. They have fun with this book.
Shennen's illustrations are engaging, colorful and life-like.
At the end of the book are creative ways to use this book and facts about the subjects covered throughout.
A fantastic non-fiction picture book that reads like fiction.
A must read book for all ages, even the adults.
~ review by Traci Bold, posted on Goodreads.com
Told in rhythmical form, Animal Partners is a delightful book that shows the symbiotic relationships within the animal species. Some of the partnerships are shown of animals helping and depending on each other and some show how one animal wins in a relationship by hurting another animal. This is a book where children may not know right off hand what kind of animal partnership is being shown, but a further discussion after the reading will help them register and get the idea. The "For Creative Minds" section in the back of the book is one area that helps children decipher because it explains the difference between "win-win", "win-stay the same" and "win-lose" relationships between animals. There's also a couple of fun matching exercises where readers can match animal partners and animal habitats. ~ Heck of a Bunch-February 2015
Written in rhyming prose the educational information is delivered with a touch of humor. The bird in the crocodile’s mouth doing his bit of “dentistry” and the barnacles atop the back of the sea turtle are just a couple of the delightful illustrations.
As with other books in the Arbordale series, there is a “For Creative Minds” section at the back of the book with more in depth information and activities.
Reader's Haven Reviews
"It’s hard to choose 'opening lines' in a book filled with poems about animal partnerships. But here’s an example of one:
Behold the wily crocodile.
Who will scrub his pointy smile?
This book is a collection of poems that examine partnerships between animals. Usually, animals hang out with others of their kind. But sometimes one species associates with another if there’s something to be gained. The crocodile mentioned above allows a small bird to hop into its mouth and clean between his teeth. In another poem, a sea turtle laments the barnacle attached to its shell, while another investigates a partnership between warthogs and mongooses.
What I like about this book: The poems are fun, short, and snappy. And the author explores different poetic forms. I like that there’s backmatter: the author describes different types of symbiosis and gives examples of each kind from the text. There’s a “match the animal partners” game and a “name the habitat” challenge. But I wish there was a page that described the different creatures. Especially the pseudoscorpion, a tiny arthropod I’ve come to know." ~ Sue Heavenrich, STEM Friday