Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The Big Book Series from Yuval Zommer

 The Big Book Series is a collection of oversized nonfiction books full of interesting facts and beautiful art!  Each book in the series focuses on a topic beginning with the letter "B" -- from Birds and Bugs to Blooms and Beasts.  The ocean is affectionately referred to as "the Blue."  With such a large format (roughly 9.5"x14"), it's easy for little readers to become fully immersed in each spread.

These titles would be well suited in classrooms from PreK-3rd grade.  With so much information in each, they're perfect to pair with units of study in science.  

Detailed illustrations are coupled with short chunks of text throughout.  Information is presented in question/answer format, brief lists,  and simple phrases.  I appreciate that each new chunk of text has its own bold heading.  You can read through these books all at once, isolating a page at a time, or choose one fact per page for a faster read.   

Each of the books have search and find elements for added engagement and include a page of vocabulary words at the end.

I will caution readers that a common complaint with these titles is the slightly whimsical take on the illustrations.  I enjoy the art style, but it isn't always an accurate representation (most notably, two eyes can be seen even when we're viewing creatures at a profile).  Again, I find the art beautiful and enjoy it, but it's something to be aware of when purchasing non-fiction titles.

The Big Book of Birds
Featuring remarkable birds from around the world, audiences will learn specific types (parrots, peacocks, flamingos, albatrosses, swans, hoopoes, and more!), discover more about eggs, nests, and feathers, how birds feed and communicate, and about different habitats.

Readers will gain insight on becoming a bird watcher and how they can provide shelter for birds.

The Big Book of Bugs
Bugs are everywhere, and this book opens letting readers know it!  Some spreads are dedicated to specific types of bugs (beetles, dragonflies, butterflies, etc.) while others feature bug collections, such as those that come out at night.  Among other things, readers learn how bugs move, how to welcome bugs in the garden, how bugs help us, how they reproduce and grow, and how bugs hide.

The Big Book of Blooms
Opening with flower families and anatomy, the book then goes into pollinators before getting into specific types of flowers (wildflowers, roses, venus flytraps, cherry blossoms, sunflowers, and more).  After featuring individual plants, readers discover categories such as vines, flowers that smell, and dangerous plants. 

Several spreads at the end of the book teach readers how plants help us, encourage readers to plant their own flowers and provide information on how to protect plants.
I love the detailed illustrations with labels.  These are perfect for teaching informational writing!
I always enjoy seeing occasional pages with a vertical orientation instead of landscape.

The Big Book of the Blue
Readers will dive deep and explore each zone of the ocean in this one! Audiences learn about sea turtles, jellyfish, octopuses, krill, sharks, tuna, penguins, dolphins and more in dedicated spreads.  Readers also learn about adaptations that make underwater living possible: fins, flippers, gills, and blowholes.  We discover different parts of the ocean habitat, from rock pools to the varied zones and what to find in each.

Of course, no ocean book would be complete without information on how humans are affecting the ocean and steps we can take to protect our oceans and marine life. 

The Big Book of Beasts
I love the variety featured in this one!  Readers learn what makes a beast -- from "claws and jaws" to "howls and growls."  Some of the beasts featured include: armadillos, baboons, bats, tigers, bears, hyenas, cheetahs and porcupines.  

Audiences also discover how to identify a beast based on tracks and what beasts existed in the Ice Age. While most of the beasts featured aren't ones we'll see in our backyard, the book also uncovers beasts we can find on the street or near our house.

Regardless of their size or where they're found, I love that the book explains to readers that beasts are wild animals, not pets.  They aren't meant to be tamed and they will defend themselves as needed!  Despite being wild animals, they do need our help making sure they don't go extinct.  The book teaches children steps they can take to protect beasts.

Each title in the series has an accompanying Big Sticker Book that contain reusable stickers to make the learning more engaging!  The Big Book of Belonging is the next book in the Big Book Series, slated for release in October 2021. We can't wait!

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