Sunday, April 13, 2008

Welcome Homes! Whose House Is This? by Elizabeth Gregoire

This entry in Picture Window Books' notable series, Whose Is It? Science, represents a laudable presentation of science concepts in a preschool picture book format.

Whose House Is This?: A Look at Animal Homes-Webs, Nests, and Shells (Whose Is It?) introduces the concept of the house as a specialized part of the animal's habitat, sometimes a found haven such as a leaf or hole in a tree, sometimes a construction, such as a spider's web, a snail's shell, or a beaver's lodge, which provides protection from the elements and sometimes, as in the case of the black widow, also a means to securing food.

The large, colorful, and clear illustrations capture the young reader by first presenting a full-page close-up view of part of the animal and its home, and then, as the page is turned, a zoomed out full view of the same animal in residence. This technique works especially well for the red-eyed tree frog's leafy shelter and the black widow's hodge-podge of a web. Brightly colored fact boxes add interesting or little known facts about the featured creature on each page.

Whose house is this, dangling on a tree?

This is a red-eyed tree frog's leaf.

During the day, this frog may sleep under a leaf of a rain forest tree. The cool shade keeps the frog's skin moist. At night, the tiny frog leaps from leaf to leaf, searching for insects to eat.

Other examples show how a mother arctic hare builds a grass and fur nest above the still-frozen ground and how nuthatches smear crushed insects around their hole-in-a-tree house to disguise the smell of the eggs to be laid inside. The final home is a two-story human house, with a family of four living inside. The text draws parallels between human homes and the needs met by the animal homes shown earlier in the book.

Like a bat, you sleep in your house. You live with your family just like a beaver. Your house keeps you as cozy as an arctic hare and as safe as a snail. What else does your house do?

An appendix useful for teachers and parents includes a related activity, in this case a milk carton "house" bank, a list of "Fun Facts," a glossary ("Words to Know"), a short bibliography of related books, a publisher's web site, and an index.

Some of the fourteen titles in this excellent early childhood nonfiction series are Whose Food Is This?: A Look at What Animals Eat - Leaves, Bugs, and Nuts (Whose Is It?), , Whose Work Is This?: A Look at Things Animals Make-Pearls, Milk, and Honey (Whose Is It?), and Whose Nose Is This?: A Look at Beaks, Snouts, and Trunks (Whose Is It?).

Whose House Is This?: A Look at Animal Homes-Webs, Nests, and Shells (Whose Is It?) is a 2009-2010 Tennessee State Children's Choice Book Award nominee in the Kindergarten to Grade 3 category.



  • Thanks for this wonderful suggestion. I will have to check these out tomorrow when I am at Barnes & Noble.

    By Anonymous Best Dog Videos, at 12:21 AM  

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