Kids of all ages (which includes adults) find quirky facts fascinating. How else do you explain the popularity of trivia games, Guinness World Records, and sports statistics? Whether they retain the precise details (a la Rain Man) or just enjoy an unexpected discovery when it's encountered, readers have a treat waiting for them in the pages of picture books.
|Templar Books (Candlewick), 2013|
Then his text won me over, too. He incorporated figurative phrases in the poster-like art that give literal clues to the animal facts. A few of those facts were familiar to me, but most were surprising and even memorable. He takes something as common as "bears sleep through the winter for up to six months" and spices it up with the added detail: WITHOUT POOPING! So much for the toilet paper commercials starring bears.
More examples and a full analysis are included in this Kirkus starred review. I agree entirely with Booklist's assessment: "These zoology nuggets are unusual, specific, and accessible to young audiences, all while offering surprises to those reading aloud to them."
Enriched as they are by images, puns, and humor, Thurlby's facts are, actually, facts. On the other hand, real information and perspectives on people, places and things are presented in a book that is "sorta" factual. ZOOM is a wordless book created by Istvan Banyai. He fills the left page of each spread with black, almost as if the shutter of a camera is continually closing and reopening. The right pages display crisp images we think we recognize, only to turn the page for a "zoom out" to reframe the image with a wider perspective that reveals something more, or different, or both. The levels of understanding at each step back become more complex and generate more questions for the reader. And yes, despite being wordless, those who explore this book are "reading" it.
Banyai's subsequent books along this line include the equally engaging RE-ZOOM and THE OTHER SIDE and are well worth exploring, too.
|W. W. Norton & Co. 2013|
www.qi.com/US1227. Of course, everything you find on the internet is true, right?
Among other outstanding non-fiction picture book titles are the ones featured here in a summer post by Mia Wenjen on her Pragmatic Mom blog. Whether your tastes run to precision and verification or exploration and investigation on your own, these books are good places to start. The power of some wacky facts or a wordless eye-opener to spark curiosity and generate further reading is not just "sorta" amazing. It's downright wonder-full.