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Genre 4 Reviews


Simon, Seymour. 1981 BIG CATS. New York: Harper Collins Publishers. ISBN: 0060216476

Seymour Simon is well known for his amazing books about animals, the human body, trains, planets, weather and the universe. His photos are wonderful because the photographs are so realistic.

BIG CATS is one of Seymour's most amazing books. The seven big cats that are pictured in this book are incredible. The text and the full-color photographs give interesting facts about the seven big cats. Seymour Simon describes the physical characteristics, habits, and natural environment of various species of big cats. One feels as if they are right there in the action.

The reason for the popularity of this book is that the information is kept simple but yet very informative. One learns interesting facts about seven big cats. The big cats featured in this book are the lion, tiger, jaguar, cheetah, puma, leopard, and snow leopard. One learns where the cats live what they eat how much they weigh and what make them different than the other big cats.

One of the interesting facts stated in this book is how some of the lionesses are the ones that go out to hunt food for the pride while the other females stay back and guard the pride. Another interesting fact is how the cheetah can go from zero to seventy miles per hour.

Although some kind of big cat is found in every continent of the word except Europe, Australia, and Antarctica, many of the big cats are close to extinction.


Freedman, Russell. 1988. BUFFALO HUNT. New York: Holiday House. ISBN 0823407020

Russell Freedman does a great job at informing us about how the buffalo was a sacred animal of the Great Plains Indians. The Indians praised the buffalo's spirit and they depended on the buffalo for its meat, hide, and bones for everything they needed to stay alive.

BUFFALO HUNT examines the importance of the buffalo in the lore and day-to-day life of the Indian tribes of the Great Pains and describes hunting methods and the uses found for each part of the animal that could not be eaten. This book helped with learning more about Indians. It really helped to learn about how the buffalo was so instrumental in helping the Native Americans survive. The main purpose of this book was to help readers understand why the buffalo was so popular at one time and then how they became extinct.

BUFFALO HUNT has characteristics of Non-fiction texts. It has a table of contents, an index and it provides information. This book is divided into six chapters. Each chapter discusses the relationship between the American Indian and the buffalo. The buffalo roamed the prairies and plains as recent as 150 years ago. There were so many buffalo ranging from Mississippi River to the Rockies, and also from Canada down to the Rio Grande.

When the Indians first started to hunt the buffalo it was only they and the buffalo. At that time they had to hunt the buffalo on foot and with no guns. They attacked on foot and used stone-tipped arrows and spears. When the Indians would travel, they had to move their encampments on foot. It was not until the 1500's that the Spanish explorers brought horses to North America. Thus, making it easier to travel with their encampments and hunt the buffalo.

The Plains Indians were a very organized group. They had rules and the marshals and their assistants were in charge of the camp and everything that was killed in the hunt was divided equally among the members. Before every hunt the Indians wore headdresses as part of the ceremonial dances.

As white people came to the plains, the herds of buffalo began to dwindle and by the early 1800's white traders wanted buffalo robes and tongues. Hundreds of thousand of robes were shipped east and by the1860's the Indian tribes found that the buffalo were disappearing. The buffalo almost became extinct by 1888.

The illustrations in this book are mostly reproductions of paintings and drawings. They were done by Artist-adventurers who traveled west when Indians lived in tipis and depended on the buffalo.

This book did a great job at teaching history and at the same time making the reading enjoyable and interesting.


Armstrong, Jennifer. 1998. SHIPWRECK AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0375810498

Jennifer Armstrong does a great job of taking Shackleton's notes, Worsey's logbook and Hurley's pictures to capture and create a great story of what happened on the long voyage of the ENDURANCE.

SHIPWRECK AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD is about the expedition of Shackletons's Antarctic expedition in 1914. This book describes their expedition from when they started off in South Georgia Island, headed for Antarctica and then to Elephant Island until they reached South Georgia Island again. It describes all the events that happened during their year and a half expedition. Starting from when they are stranded because Endurance is trapped in the frozen sea for months, to making the best of it and learning to pass the time until their boat sinks and they have to travel to Elephant Island and to their final rescue.

Jennifer Armstrong keeps the reader on their seats wondering if the men will all die or will they be rescued. One's emotions are being torn this way and that way like a roller coaster that goes up and down. One wonders what will happen next.

Although this book is written like a novel, it is an informational text. Jennifer intertwines factual information within the story line. First, one learns about the continent Antarctica and its harsh weather. Then, we learn how coordinates are used when the six members go for help and how the wind and sea will pull them back away from the land or throw them against the rocks. One sees this even when they are calculating where to set the ship, because if the wind pulls them too far, they will miss the island.

This book is not only about their journey but also about how a captain kept his crew motivated and led them so that they could survive the horrific weather and the many setbacks. They are motivated to pass the time, while they wait for the ice to melt by playing football on the ice and performing theatrical plays. It also shows what a great leader he was since he knew the right men to take on the voyage. They could not have survived without the cook, carpenter or the physicist. He new what he was doing when he chose his crew. The captain also knew that he would have to be the one to lead the rescue team to make sure no one gave up on rescuing his crew. It was worth all the hardships for Shackleton to hear those words as he returned, "We knew you'd come back" (pg. 123). For Shackleton, it was a great compliment for his crewmembers to think that way about him.


Fritz, Jean. 2001. LEONARDO'S HORSE. Talbott, Hudson. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. ISBN: 0399235760

LEONARDO'S HORSE is about three real people and a bronze horse. It was Leonardo's idea and was visualize by Charlie Dent but finished by Nina to create a bronze horse. It was Leonardo's idea to build a bronze horse and Charlie worked on it but both men died and never finished their dreams. So it was up to Nina to finish the dream of a Bronze horse in Italy. Jean Fritz does a great job of bringing their three lives together and showing how one affected the other.

Although this book is an informational text, one can learn some history from this book. It was interesting how the author gave information on how the horse was cast in bronze. The diagram was great. It really gave one a step-by-step process of how the horse was constructed.

It was very informative in telling how the two men studied horses to get their ideas and how they needed to draw the horse before sculpting it. They went and studied horses so that they could draw every detail of the horse.

Talbott Hudson captures how Leonardo looked. He even drew Leonardo's fantasies of horses. The colors used are so vibrant and really add to the story by telling a story on their own. He used watercolors, pen and ink, colored pencil and collage. He did a great job of capturing Leonardo as an artist and what Leonardo was always thinking.

David Gatti did the Lettering and the text was set in Cochin.

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