Thursday, December 31, 2015

Counting Lions: Portraits from the Wild by Katie Cotton, Stephen Walton (Illustrations)

Hardcover, 40 pages
Published: October 2015

Exquisite charcoal drawings of ten endangered creatures—lions, elephants, giraffes, pandas, tigers, chimpanzees, penguins, turtles, macaws, and zebras—startle the viewer with their size and astonishing detail. A poetic text notes each creature’s particular qualities and behavior, while providing a quiet counting exercise and a reminder that these animals must be cherished and protected.

This exquisite book takes readers from one lion all the way to ten macaws all the while enchanting us with the art work, poetry, and knowledge. The book is HUGE (it is considered an "oversized" book) and allows the reader to really experience the art along with the beautiful words on the page.

Another of the amazing parts of this book are the last few pages which give the reader more information about each of the species being counted and their danger of possible extinction. Both of my children poured over this book (we laid it out on the floor and truly experienced it) and it prompted them to go look for the animals and research more about each one. That alone thrilled my nerdy heart!

This book is a fantastic addition to a home or classroom library!

Ideas for the Classroom:
This book is ideal for the Science classroom when talking about endangered species and habitats. Students will be able to get a glimpse into the life of the species through the pages and gain additional information through the final pages. After this introduction, teachers could break the class into pairs or small groups and have each one research further the species they are assigned. Using technology such as Google Earth to locate the animal could also be a lot of fun! Check out this amazing pack on TeachersPayTeachers from Meridian which has an Endangered Species activity using Google Earth already created (along with some other cool ones).

Students could also research an endangered species not featured in the book (the teacher may want to come up with a suggested list) and have your class create their own book using Counting Lions as a model. Have the students complete their research, write their poems, create their own art, and compile them all into a class book. If you can, give each child in the class a copy of the book. Staples and Office Depot both bind books if your school doesn't have a binding machine. Partnering with the art teacher would also be fantastic with this project so that they can analyze the book from an art standpoint and help the student with their art. Cross-curricular collaboration is a fantastic way to show your students the importance of all classes and to support each other!

Happy reading!

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