Monday, February 15, 2010

Snake Unit: Books

For us, reading different books is the primary we learn about the subject of any unit we are doing. Both of the kids love storytime, so we have storytime everyday. Even when we don't get other school done that day, we typically will still read. When we are in the middle of a unit, I try to read at least 3 books based on our unit of study a day, along with any other books the kids are interested in that day.
Because of this, we get LOTS of books from the library on any given unit and will typically even purchase an average of 3 books per unit from amazon for our own library.

This means I have long book lists... so let's get started :)

The three primary snake books we used for our snake unit are the first three, the other books were extras, primarily more specific books based on types of snakes (venom vs. constrictor) and species of snakes.

* As a little disclosure on all of the books we used, they are all graphically detailed. Treyton prefers real-life photos to anything animated. Most all of the pictures are of snakes killing/eating prey so if you aren't wanting your child to see that or if they aren't at a stage to handle that, I would avoid a unit on snakes (or at least the use of these books)

"Snakes" by the editors of TIME for kids - I actually really enjoyed this book - the pictures were excellent quality and clarity. The information was good. Its more of a general book covering snakes in a general sense - like "most snakes lay eggs". It's a great starting point for a unit. This book is reasonably priced (like $4 I think, in fact I think that all three of these first books are under $4) 

Amazing Snakes by Sarah L. Thomson - Treyton seemed to like this one alot, I liked the information in it, but the book we had didn't have the glossy paper which made the pictures a little less in quality. The information was good, and like the TIME one it was a more general snake book, which is nice for a lower elementary level.   

DK Readers: Slinky Scaly Snakes! -  This was a glossy paged book helping with the excellent quality of the pictures. This one was my least favorite of the three as far as the information in it goes. The information was good, it just didn't seem as smoothly laid out as the other two. However, we still thought it was an excellent book and I would highly recommend it. 

Our library had a series on snakes available called "Rourke Discovery Library" we got the books on Rattlesnakes, Cottonmouths, Boas, Pythons, and Copperheads - Rattlesnakes and Pythons were Treyton's favorite but we read them all (several times), some of the information was slightly more in-depth than what we needed so I would change some of the words to make it more easily understandable for Treyton, and I would also stop frequently to make sure that Treyton understood what I was reading - and he typically did. I would say they are mostly age appropriate for preschool/Kindergarten and certainly early elementary. 

Snakes by Gail Gibbons - to put it simply, I do not recommend this book, it was a last minute pickup off the library shelf and after looking at the first two pages I put it in a pile to go back to the library. The first line in the book says "Snakes have existed for about 125 million years. Throughout history some people have believed snakes have special powers." It is an illustrated book. After you get past the first several pages the information actually isn't too bad, but with the number of good books out there on snakes I decided to just let this one go.  

"Pythons" by Rothaus - We really liked this book for the pictures but it was above Treyton's level.
"Snakes: Biggest! Littlest" by Sandra Markle - This was a pretty good book. Based primarily on snakes of different sizes (obviously). I liked the pictures in this book, they weren't quiet as high in quality as the TIME and DK Reader book, but still pretty good. They had some nice close up shots of scales, and this was the only book (I think) that had a picture of a snake skeleton. 

Another series I picked up at the Library was an older series called "Eye to Eye with Snakes" They are slightly above the preschool/Kindergarten level but Treyton still seemed to enjoy them (I did change the words). We read these books when discussing the different types of snakes before we got into the different species (constrictors vs. venom snakes, etc. The books we read in this series were called "Snakes that Squeeze and Snatch" "Living with Snakes" "Secret Lives of Snakes" "Snakes on the Hunt" "Snakes with Venom"

If you are interested in learning more or purchasing any of the books from the list, you are able to click on the links above and it will take you directly to the book on amazon!

1 comment:

Ticia said...

As always a great selection of books. I think I had to buy a couple of those from the library after I gave up finding them. They were of course found the day after I paid for them. As always