Beco's Big Year: A Baby Elephant Turns One
written by Linda Stanek
(Columbus Zoo Books) 2010
Source: Mebane Public Library
Check out Nonfiction Monday at Charlotte's Library
If Beco the Elephant is a "rock star" at the Columbus Zoo, then Beco's Big Year must be his official biography. From the womb to his first birthday party (complete with an ice birthday cake), author Linda Stanek chronicles Beco's first year of life and provides an informative backstage look at what goes into taking care of a baby elephant. There is a nice mix of facts (most elephants are born during the night), narrative, and photographs that will keep young readers interested. One particularly fascinating section of the book deals with Beco's mom, Phoebe, teaching him how to swim. I also learned that elephants like snow days almost as much as students and teachers.
Beco's Big Year would work well as part of a unit on elephants, but you might also consider including it as part of a unit on careers. There is plenty of information about the job of a handler in a zoo. You could also use this book to teach sequence. It would be fun to create a time line of Beco's first year. Click below to see a video of Beco playing with one of his favorite toys, a big blue ball: