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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Giant Squid by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann

Reading buddy wonder what his crazy human is up to now

AR Level: 3.2
AR Points:0.5
AR Quiz Number: 183235
Page Count: 40

In my media center, most kids gravitate towards the fiction section for large colorful picture books, and out to the non-fiction section when they want to see actual photographs of a subject. This association between illustration and fiction is so strong in some of my students, that I actually had one argue with me the other day over an illustrated dinosaur book, the student insisting that because it had drawn pictures that it was fiction.

First of all kid, you aren't going to find a photograph of an actual living breathing dinosaur, and secondly just because a book has illustrations does not mean that it is a made up story. I guess this is an area I need to revisit with my kiddos. Many non-fiction books have fantastic illustrations, including Candace Fleming's and Eric Roman's Giant Squid.

Giant squids are fascinating and mysterious animals of the deep sea, and this book delivers facts and information in a way that brings the mystery of the giant squid to life on the pages. I know it is unusual, but the author and illustrator made the choice to place the title page several pages deep, like a great revealing of the beast itself. Tension builds over several dark, questioning pages, and then BOOM, the title page hits you and you can almost hear dramatic music in the background crashing.

Another thing that I love about this book, is how page after page passes, and we only see a small portion of the squid, and not the entire animal. This keeps the mystery alive until at long last, we see most of the squid in a two spread fold out, pulling back inky waters to find it....and then whoosh...it is gone. Magnificent. It is no wonder that Giant Squid recently won the Robert F. Siebert Informational Book Honor at the mid-winter ALA conference.

True to any good non-fiction book, there are a few pages in the back with information, diagrams, and sources cited. I love using this type of book to teach kids about the difference between fiction and non-fiction, or to show how good writers of all ages create a bibliography for their work.

You can learn more about Giant Squid here:
http://www.candacefleming.com/books/bk_giant_squid.html

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