Written by Sue Whiting
Illustrated by Mark Jackson
This is a great opportunity to learn about the creature that fascinates observers and puzzles scientists. Kids will love the platypus and want to know more.
The author starts out by following a male platypus as he goes about his daily foraging. His burrow is warm and cozy and nestled on the bank of a creek. His body and fur help him to move around his semiaquatic world. His flexible bill allows him to find and capture worms, insect larvae, crawfish, and beetles. He dives repeatedly to the creek bed until he fills the pouches in his cheeks for the coming meal. He has to hide quickly from predators. Meanwhile, the female tends to the eggs and nurses the babies.
The beautiful illustrations give a real feel to the environment of the platypus, the other animals, and even the plant life.
Third graders will get a chance to practice literacy skills while learning about life in Tasmania and Australia. This would be a good read aloud for discussion of what a monotreme is and how it differs from a mammal.
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- Title: Platypus
- Author: Sue Whiting
- Illustrator: Mark Jackson
- Published: Candlewick Press, March 8, 2016
- Reviewer: Sue Poduska
- Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
- Grade Level: K to 4
- Genre: Science, Nature, Geography
- ISBN: 978-0-7636-8098-5
- Extras: Numerous sidebars, Index, author’s note “The Puzzling Platypus”
Written by Alex Gino
There’s no denying the issues surrounding transgender individuals, aka born in the wrong body, are both topical and complex. Children may not understand all the nuances or possibly even the physical implications, but they will easily identify with the feeling of being different. In this celebrated and widely read story of a fourth grader born in a boy’s body, Alex Gino gently presents George’s many struggles and feelings. Even though George has heard all the news stories, she still feels isolated, as if she is the only person in the world who is called a boy and knows she’s a girl. Eventually, she finds the courage to share the fact that she is a girl. She is lucky to have many people around her who understand, once they recover from their initial shock. All of this is set in the realistic backdrop of an elementary school presentation of a play based on Charlotte’s Web. George wants to play Charlotte, but can’t because she’s a boy.
Third graders can handle the language and independent reading, but there are many reasons to read this with parents or well-informed teacher. Adults will want to discuss with kids what gender identity means and whether it is static. At any rate, George gives everyone a lot to talk about.
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- Title: George
- Author: Alex Gino
- Published: Scholastic Press, 2015
- Reviewer: Sue Poduska
- Format: Hardcover, 240 pages
- Grade Level: 3 to 7
- Genre: Fiction, transgender issues
- ISBN: 978-0545812542