The Hole Truth!
written by Dee Phillips
2012 (Bearport Publishing)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
Check out Nonfiction Monday at 100 Scope Notes
A new series from Bearport Publishing features four homes of animals who live underground. These books are geared for K-2 readers who will enjoy the photographic close-ups of these animals. Their teachers will like the extensive use of text features. Each book starts off with an introduction to the home and the animal. Extra facts, inserted on leaf shapes, are present in each two page spread. Labels and maps are two other text features that you will find in these spreads along with a box that gives readers a brief task that can help in assessing their comprehension. Detailed diagrams give you a look inside the animal's home. Sections on feeding habits, predators and escape methods follow next. The "awww" factor will kick in when readers learn about the babies of the particular species. A photograph of a groundhog pup is hard to resist. The narrative part of each book ends with a two page spread on the sequence of events that lead to the animal leaving their home and striking out on their own. In the back matter, you will find an activity called "Science Lab" where readers are given a task to complete. In the groundhog book, students will keep a diary logging the events of that animal's life. The prairie dog book features a measurement activity. Other information in the back matter includes key vocabulary, a glossary, and a link to more resources.
When you are working with primary students on how to write informational text, a book in a series like The Hole Truth! is a valuable resource. The amount of text is not overwhelming for an older first grader/beginning second grader. It is a step up from their leveled readers which is just enough of a challenge for them. Books like these make great templates for a student writing a booklet or just a single sheet of text. You can also compare books of this genre to see what is similar and what is different in how an author presented the information about the animal. I'm sure I've said this before, but I'll say it again: Informational texts like The Hole Truth! are underrated in their value to a classroom or a school media center. The text is accessible, interesting, and a good primer for more challenging material to come.