Meat-Eating Plants: Toothless Wonders
written by Ellen Lawrence
2013 (Bearport Publishing)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
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In second grade the last few weeks, we have been working on writing nonfiction books with text features. Almost all of the class has gone the informational route with their book choice, so I can't wait to share Meat-Eating Plants with them. This book is full of the same text features (table of contents, glossary, index, inserts, labels, maps) that they are trying to replicate themselves so it is a great mentor text for this assignment. The small amount (around 5 sentences per spread) of text in each two page spread is perfect for primary age writers trying to create informational texts. This book is also very eye catching with colorful pages, close-up photographs, and plenty of inserts for fact lovers.
Meat-Eating Plants features plants that grow in nutrient-poor soil and rely on catching insects in order to supply their needs. The most famous is probably the Venus flytrap which lures unsuspecting insects with the promise of sweet nectar on its leaves. Are there "suspecting" insects that think "You know, I think I'll pass on that plant. Looks dangerous."? Just wondering. I love page 10 of this book because it gives a nice and tidy sequenced summary of how plants take care of their needs. This is a graphic organizer lesson waiting to happen. Other featured meat-eating plants include sundews, shiny butterworts, and pitcher plants. There is a photograph of a rodent trapped in a pitcher plant on page 21 that will stun young readers.
Meat-Eating Plants is a fascinating look at one of nature's curiosities. The features, photographs, and texts are the perfect size for young readers who are learning how to read and write informational texts. Be aware that young readers who may be a little squeamish might need to be gently introduced to this book. There's nothing gruesome about the photographs, but these readers are smart enough to infer that it doesn't end well for some of these creatures in the photographs.
Jean Little Library