Friday, August 12, 2011

STEM and Poetry Friday: Animal Fights

Animal Fights
written by Catherine Ham
2011 (Early Light Books)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Check out STEM Friday at Wrapped in Foil
Check out Poetry Friday at Karen Edmisten

Let's get ready to rumble! If there is an audiobook for Animal Fights, boxing announcer Michael Buffer should narrate because the action level is high in this new science book. Author Catherine Ham uses plenty of action verbs to describe the rumbles in the jungle (tigers), the melees on the mountain (ibex), or the scuffles in the sea (cuttlefish). Bold photographs give you a ringside seat to view these battles for supremacy in the animal kingdom. Accompanying each of these pictures of pugnacity is a playful rhyme that provides science facts about animal behavior and models descriptive vocabulary (e.g. colossal, hideous, dreadfully) for young writers. One of my favorites was this stanza about foxes:

Foxes always hunt alone
And do not care to share
Whatever food they catch
They're awfully quick
To pick a scrap
With any sneaky, cheeky chap
Who tries to nick their patch

 In introducing this book to students, I would ask them this question "Why do animals fight?". This is one aspect of animal behavior that is not focused upon very often in classrooms, but it is a vital part of natural life. It would also be interesting to ask students how humans handle situations that cause animals in the wild to fight. What makes us different? Animal Fights could be the source of many rich discussions about behavior.


  1. Interesting that the text is in rhyme. What a cool way to entice reluctant readers to try out poetry.

    Happy STEM Friday!

  2. I could have entered this for Poetry and STEM Friday! Didn't think about that. Thanks for stopping by today, Roberta.

  3. Jeff,

    A poetic STEM book. Well done! I'm going to look for this one, and I'll ask those same questions you suggest posing in the classroom to my "students" at home.

    Loree Burns

  4. Thank you, Loree! I appreciate the science information you posted today on your website.

  5. This seems perfect for a read-aloud. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Yes, I could see young children really enjoying these poems. I would write one on chart paper and cover up some end words so they can guess what is going to be the rhyming word. Thank you for stopping by, Myra!

  7. I'll be keeping my eye out for this one!! Where to shelve? Poetry? NF? Word Study? (maybe a book that rotates around the shelves!!!)

  8. I like the idea of the rotating book. This could be an entire section as I have reviewed several books in the past year that fit all of the categories that you mentioned. Thank you for stopping by, Mary Lee! I really appreciate being on the list of blogs at A Year of Reading. You and Franki are top notch!


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