Sunday, March 15, 2015

Who Was Here?: Discovering Wild Animal Tracks

Who Was Here?: Discovering Wild Animals
written and illustrated by Mia Posada
2014 (Millbrook Press)
Source: Orange County Public Library

A hunter traveling by full moon's glow
left paw tracks in fresh forest snow.
Racing through the night with its pack
chasing its prey, teeth bared in attack.

Who Was Here? is a combination of poetry and informational text that focuses on animals and the tracks that they leave behind. Featured animals include camels, snakes and wolves. In each section, a quatrain contains clues as to what animal made the tracks. Readers have to turn the page to see if their prediction is correct about the animal. What they will find is a paragraph of informational text. I like the abundant use of vivid verbs in the quatrains. A great activity for a classroom would be to use the poetry for shared readings. With the emphasis on informational text in the Common Core, this is a way for primary classrooms to sneak in extra nonfiction. Another strong feature of this book is the geographic spread of featured animals. All continents with the exception of Antarctica are featured. It would be fun to pin tags of animal locations on a world map.

With Who Was Here? as inspiration, you could use a foot template and have students write an informational text about themselves on one side. On the other side of the foot, a poem could be written.

I like books that invite the reader to actively participate and this book certainly does this by looking for a prediction. The animal lovers in your class, and that would be everybody, will enjoy Who Was Here?.

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