Award-Winning AWB (Award-Winning-Books) 2015 Books GB Challenges Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes Throwback Reads and Hot for Cybils!

[Nonfiction Wednesday] Winged Creatures in Nonfiction PictureBooks: Butterflies and Brown Bats


Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2015 hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, as well as reading challenges that we have pledged to join this year. Our reading theme for January/February is Once Upon a Childhood: Throwback Reads on Childhood Favourites and HOT for CYBILS.

Widget courtesy of the talented Iphigene.
Widget courtesy of the talented Iphigene.

As we are also giving much love and recognition to CYBILS, I went through the 2014 finalists for the nonfiction picture book category and tried to borrow as much as I can from our library. Here are two that caught my eye in particular.

IMG_8985Handle With Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey

Written by: Loree Griffin Burns Photographs By: Ellen Harasimowicz
Published by: Millbrook Press, 2014
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

I grew up reading the Childcraft, Colliers, and the Charlie Brown Encyclopedia. Now that we live in the digital age, this kind of reality is clearly a thing of the past. And so I am thankful for these gorgeous nonfiction picturebooks that remind me of what it was like to go through my old encyclopedias.


What I admired immensely about this nonfiction title is the narrative, the story behind the factual information. When I was growing up, facts were packaged in a systematic, clear, dry manner with nary a narrative. Here, the reader is able to trace the butterfly’s journey in a seemingly-postmodern format – beginning in the end, then tracing the story back to where it came from.


The book takes its reader on a journey to El Bosque Nuevo in Costa Rica where the butterflies were born before they arrived at the museum in Boston. The author anticipates possible questions that a young reader might ask, and provides intelligent, thoughtful responses that do not seem affected or patronizing in the least.


There is always that sense of wonder, joy in discovery, and gleeful excitement in sharing information. And just look at those photographs – it was fascinating enough to make my husband take a closer look, and he is not what you would call an avid reader, but definitely a non-fiction man.


The magic in nature is depicted in such exquisite detail, that it almost seems fantastical. The wondrous thing about it is that it is oh-so-real, and so beautiful. The endpapers would also make the reader gasp in wonder. Teachers would be happy to note that the book also includes a glossary, a list of references and websites, more information about insects and their life cycles. What I totally appreciated though was the Author’s Note that provided acknowledgment to the farmers at El Bosque Nuevo and details on how both author and photographer collected data from their hosts in Costa Rica. That must have been a wondrous experience.

The Case Of The Vanishing Little Brown Bats: A Scientific MysteryIMG_9009

By: Sandra Markle
Published by: Millbrook Press, 2014
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

The book begins with a curious mystery – something is causing the death of little brown bats – so much so that they are in danger of becoming extinct! What does that matter, a curious child may ask? In simple, clear language, Sandra Markle explains how the little brown bats are an important part of the ecosystem as they eat insects that do serious damage to crops. With the bats gone, these insects are then freely able to transmit diseases to people and other animals at a much higher rate, causing dire consequences to animals and humans alike.


The scientists have a clue to this mystery – the bats who are ‘infected’ have fuzzy white noses (see photo above). And so the entire investigative process begins with the scientists trying to grow the fungus inside the laboratory. They also wanted to rule out the most common and possible reasons for the bats’ death: climate change, pesticides, virus? By ruling out all possible scenarios, they explore other probable causes that could provide answers to their many questions.


While I found this more text-heavy compared to Handle With Care, this would be a perfect book to avid readers and young scientists who require more details and greater information about what is truly a scientific mystery.


Handle With Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey: NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12; CYBILS Finalist for Nonfiction Picture Book Category 2014.

The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats: CYBILS Finalist for Nonfiction Picture Book 2014.

#AWBRead2015 Update: 5 & 6 of 35


#nfpb2015 Challenge Update: 5 & 6 of 25

2 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Winged Creatures in Nonfiction PictureBooks: Butterflies and Brown Bats

  1. I loved reading Handle with Care with my Class. Such a fascinating story! I agree- what an experience for author and photographer to travel to the farm in Costa Rica.


  2. We have a butterfly museum here & it is amazing to be able to watch the cocoons, & if you’re lucky, see a butterfly emerge. I need to get this book, know others, too, have enjoyed it. I loved the story of those scientists who worked to help the little brown bats-quite something to hear about. Thanks, Myra!


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