Wendy's Reviews > Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet

Gone Wild by David McLimans
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6152236
's review
Sep 30, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: reviewed

Genre: Children’s Book, Alphabet, Informational, Science

Summary:

Endangered animals are highlighted using each letter of the alphabet as it occurs in their name. Each letter is draw with an incorporation of the animal itself and a small box on each page provides relevant scientific information. A glossary at the end supplies additional information and a host of resources to further explore the animals individually and the issue of saving endangered species.

The illustrations are done in a highly contrasted black and white with red accenting important information. The use of white space is equally as important as it provides additional detail and dimension to the illustrations. The end papers show images of the animals in red that then repeat on each page.

Positives/Negatives:

The repetition of the type of information on each page creates a pattern of expectation in the reader and begins to develop a schema for classifying each animal by its class, habitat, range, threats, and current status. In formalizing the presentation of the information it is predictable and educational without intruding on the vivid illustrations of each letter.

The red graphic of each animal reinforces the use of some aspect of the graphic in the letter allowing the reader to connect the larger complete image with the partial one. While the connection may not be immediately obvious with some investigation the parallels can clearly be drawn, providing reinforcement of the concept and the animals designation using each letter.
Examples:

The T for Andean Tapir page has a graphic letter that is a less obvious representation of the animal however, when seen in the context of the additional red illustration the inspiration for the design is clear. Even the small attention to the bottom of the letter to make feet like that of the Tapir may not be consciously processed by a child, but still strengthen the symbolism of the letter.

The K for Keys Short-Winged Conehead Katydid is another whimsical graphic. While it highlights one specific attribute of the insect’s anatomy, it’s leg; the connection is apparent and memorable. While a child will probably not remember the entire name, they will remember the graphic and that katydid begins with a K rather than a C.

Curriculum Connections:

The scientific nature and presentation of this book easily lend themselves to science units on: individual species, a collection of a subgroup of animals with the text, habitat, endangered animals, range and geography, and the class designation system.

Grouping the animals by similar characteristics also provides practice creating and sorting items into categories and then researching further similar traits, habitats, etc. Looking for food chains, ecosystems, and other larger groupings also allows the children to make connections between the animals in addition to their endangered status.

As an art exercise combining the image of an animal and that of the first letter in the name can be done with a variety of animals that fall under different categories, for example: animals that are living in the rainforest, animals that make up one food chain, and animals within the same class.

In looking more specifically at the issue of endangered animals, the children can develop a plan for a way to educate others and what they can do to support the efforts to save these animals. The children can go on an “educate” campaign within their school, write letters to organizations, raise money for donations, or create a play about endangered animals.
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