11 October 2010

Bees, Snails, & Peacock Tails: Patterns & Shapes...Naturally by Betsy Franco, Illustrated by Steve Jenkins - Review for TWU

BIBLIOGRAPHY  Franco, Betsy. 2008. BEES, SNAILS & PEACOCK TAILS: PATTERNS & SHAPES...NATURALLY. Ill. by Steve Jenkins. New York, NY: Margaret K. Elderry Books. ISBN 9781416903864.

A collection of two page spreads illustrations with poetry, describing the geometry and color found in nature.  


This topical collection is in a simple, readable format, each animal being addressed in a two page spread.  The illustrations often bright and colorful with the text occasionally emphasizing shapes or patterns, such as a swirl of a snail shell or the roundness of a puffer fish.  I particularly liked the spread on beehives and the spider's web and geese with the eye catching and bright illustrations.  Collage is the medium in which the illustrations are done. 

The poems themselves were done in rhyme, in varying beats and meters, although I must say there were times I personally found the rhymes a bit flat or lacking, the rhyme not quite there that was tried for.  The poems evoked a fun, carefree, discovery feeling, making them a great choice for reading aloud to children.  The poems and way the words often interact with the illustrations make for great dialogic reading.

Overall, the book makes for a fun read with children and a good introduction to geometry, shapes, and color, all found in nature.  What a wonderful way to start a unit on exploring the beauty of our world.  

The last two pages of the book are full of facts on the animals mentioned, which is a do not miss.  This adds to the books entirety and will aid in any lessons in which the book is featured.

BOOKLIST starred review: "The duo behind Birdsongs (2007) teams up again in this winning introduction to the patterns and shapes found in the natural world. From the dazzling eyes of the male peacock’s feathers to the hexagonal chambers of the bee’s hive, Franco’s spirited poems explore the many forms and functions of nature’s geometry."

PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY:  "The pair behind Birdsongs tackles another science topic-geometry in the animal world. Whether addressing hexagonal beehive cells or a snail's spiral shell, brisk rhymes draw attention to nature's math"


Terrific for pairing with a lesson on geometry, shapes, or nature.  I could also see pairing this book with any of Douglas Florian's books, such as BEAST FEAST or ON THE WING, due to the similar nature of fun and simple rhymes where the text often follows or emphasizes the illustrations.

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