Monday, May 5, 2008

Nonfiction Monday -- See How It's Made

See How It's Made
DK Children Publishing
September 17, 2007

I was intrigued by this book before I ever opened it to see what was inside. The neon orange cover grabbed my attention -- I just had to pick it off the shelf of my favorite bookstore, Cover to Cover, to see what goodies might be inside. I think my students will be equally attracted to the cover.

Opening the book was equally enjoyable. This is an entire book that explains how everyday things are made -- how cool is that for the inquiring mind! Some of the topics that are covered are sausages, plastic blocks, skateboards, cotton t-shirts, rope, and much, much more!!

The layout for each topic is similar. The first two pages talk about the topic, sharing both historical details of the product as well as lesser-known, but quite interesting facts. Then, the next two pages have two cleverly done sequences of how the product is made. At the top of these two pages is a "At a Glance" sequence done with pictures and brief captions. Then the bottom two-thirds of these two pages are the sequence of the product being made in much more thorough detail. It starts with "Start Here", and then, using between 10 - 12 steps (depending on the product), uses a numbered picture sequence chart with more detailed explanations under each photograph.

The visual appeal of this book is wonderful -- I absolutely love it! Some of the reasons it appeals: it's bright, it's colorful, it uses photographs that are quite appealing to the eye (and for the food products -- the stomach as well!), it uses the bottom borders of the pages to share even more information about the given product, it uses a lot of speech and thought bubbles that help with the understanding of information, just to name a few.

I will also be using this book as a model text for literary nonfiction in our writing. The organizational structures in this book are definitely worth having a conversation about, and seeing if they would work in my students' own nonfiction writing pieces.

See How It's Made
will be another important edition to my nonfiction collection. I was fascinated by how much I learned when I read this book. This is one my new favorite nonfiction books for kids.

Head on over to Picture Book of the Day for more Nonfiction Monday reading.


  1. This sounds like the kind of book that will really inspire kids to create things on their own -- what a great way to make reading applicable to the "real world"!

  2. My students love this book! And it's a great example of a different structure of nonfiction writing -- numbered steps.