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WINTER IS FOR WHALES

Author: Ron Hirschi

Illustrator: Yuko Green

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Publisher: Island Heritage Publishing, a Division of Madden Corporation,

Material: hard cover

Summary: In Hawaii, the arrival of the whales marks the beginning of winter ... and their departure lets us know spring is here. Learn about the natural seasons in Hawaii in the context of everyday life for plants, animals, and people, too. This is an interactive non-fiction book about life in Hawaii.

Type of Reading: playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 8; read yourself: 7 to 10

Interest Level: 5 to 10

Age of Child: Shared with 6-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: Our child loved the mini-magaines you could open on each page. She wanted more pages like the Rainforest Explorer, where you could hunt for things in the illustrations. We paged back to see the smiling spider a lot. About half-way through, she would open the magazines and then, depending on how many words she saw, decide whether she wanted us to read them or not.

Adult Reader Reaction: What a fabulous book. It's amazing what you THINK you know about a place; we learned a lot. The paper collage-style illustrations really add depth, and the interactive pages are lots of fun. The author is very creative in his wording, offering twists on popular titles, and double entendre, too.

Pros: Whether you live in Hawaii, are studying Hawaii, or just want to visit Hawaii, you will enjoy this book about life on the islands. It's sturdy pages will stand up to lots of use.

Cons: In the back there is a page with nature words in Hawaiian. The pronunciations look pretty daunting, particularly if you aren't familiar with phonetic signs used for vowels. This would be a perfect book to have an audio CD read-along. It would add the element of sound to the animals' voices, as well as help with pronunciation.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. The illustrations are bright and wonderful. You'll enjoy looking at the book even if you don't read it. It is jam-packed with information and is interactive, which kids love. It is the kind of book that gives kids some great basic information they can build on for school projects.

If You Liked This Book, Try: OCEAN SEASONS   DEAR POLAR BEAR ...   THE USBORNE INTERNET-LINKED FIRST ATLAS

Educational Themes: This is a book siblings of various ages can enjoy together. Younger kids will keep busy with the lift-the-flap activities while you read; older kids will enjoy the illustrations and fascinating facts. There is plenty to explore: Hawaii (who knew it snowed on volcanoes?) and language; seasonal and climate change; animal species; and animal migration.

Literary Categories: Nonfiction - picture book, nature, animals, seasons, geography

Date(s) Reviewed: February 2008

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