When I agreed to be a panelist for the Cybils nonfiction/informational picture book category, I'm not sure I realized how much work it might entail. However, there is most definitely a silver lining to this extra work -- recently, I arrive home and find packages of books on my front door stoop. Talk about dying and going to heaven!!! Just today I came home after school, and found 3 packages (6 books) waiting for me. I truly appreciate the trouble to which the publishers of the nominated books have gone to make sure the panelists are all able to read each and every nominee. Thanks so much!
One of my finds today was The American Revolution From A to Z by Laura Crawford and illustrated by Judith Hierstein (this review copy is compliments of Pelican Publishing Company). I was immediately drawn to this book for two reasons: 1) I love to see how different authors organize their informational ABC books, and 2) as a 5th grade teacher, I spend some time each year investigating the causes of the American Revolution with my students.
Laura Crawford does a nice job sharing information with the reader. The American Revolution From A to Z is full of good details that will both reinforce concepts about the Revolution, as well as expand the knowledge my students already have.
I'm not sure whose decision it was -- the author, Crawford, or the illustrator, Hierstein, but I thought the lettering of "A is for ..." that introduces each new page was extremely well done, and tied the book together. For lack of a better description, I'll call it a colonial script - it even looks like it was done with a quill pen.
I'm impressed with the manner Crawford has chosen the essential parts of each topic to share, without making the reader feel either overwhelmed or under-informed.
The American Revolution From A to Z will be a great addition to other Revolutionary War picture books I've already collected. It will also be a great mentor text for student writers who want to take a nonfiction topic and write an ABC book about it. This book provides many great examples of how to combine informative text with detailed pictures.