Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Eye See You, Africa- A Book Review

September of this year found my family taking a late-summer vacation week in Chincoteague, Virginia.

I posted about my trip in September.

What I did not yet post about was visiting a gift shop and, as serendipity would have it, meeting Dr. Jay and Miss Caroline, and learning about their recently published book, Eye See You, Africa - a photographic book of discovery of animals of Africa for children. Dr. Jay and Miss Caroline gave me a copy of their book to read with my son and review. It should not have taken me this long, but there was some surgery, and I'm still recovering...

Eye See You, Africa is the first in a series of children's books dedicated to children and animals who share our planet. The book's Foreward is written by Jack Hannah, Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo, and Host of TV's "Into the Wild" and "Wild Countdown". My oldest children are in their 20's, and I remember Jack Hanna from children's television twenty or more years ago!
In the book's pages we meet animals through first, the eyes, and an accompanying poem to give a clue as to the animal's identity. Having been an educator for over twenty years, what I did not expect was that I would meet animals I had never met before!
 "Rock rabbit" they call me when I hop about.
To stay warm I use thick fur and SUN.
My screaming at night can give people a fright,
but I'm friendly and just having FUN.

This book works best as a read aloud; at this point the reading adult pauses and the children take guesses at the animal. This animal, the HYRAX, was a new one to me! And to my son! (My son is 15, and it would have been possible for him to know of African animals I do not know of, but this animal was new to both of us.)

So, the day I wanted to read this book, I sat down on the couch, and my big son sat down beside me, and for a few bittersweet moments I enjoyed a flashback to his younger days as he enthusiastically leaned against me and leaned in as I read aloud, and he guessed on each animal before we flipped the page to the reveal. Many of the animals we knew, and some we did not, and we were both surprised by the animals we had never "met" before.
 "With long pointy horns and a dark shaggy coat,
I graze wherever I PLEASE.
With white stripes down each side camouflage helps me hide,
and I can jump fences with EASE."
What am I (my words)?

I found this book would be great with emerging readers, learning their "sight" words. Each of the words I typed in capital are capital letters in yellow in the book. If my son had been a young reader, I would have paused at each word, pointed to it, and waited for him to try to read it.

So, you're going to think I'm a stinker, but I'm not going to tell you what this animal is. I'd never heard of it! If you want to do a Google search you might eventually be able to find it, but wouldn't it be much nicer to buy a copy of this book for yourself? It is suitable for your home school, your class room, your library, your museum, wherever you interact with children!

Eye See You, Africa can be used with children in ways that enhance studies in language arts, social studies, animal protection and environmental stewardship. The lines are written in rhyme (language arts). Animals are introduced from Africa (social studies), and you can make sure the children know or learn where Africa is located in the world. Learning about these African animals can be expanded to discuss endangered species (elephants, etc.), and how their environment is being encroached upon, further endangering them (environmental stewardship).

A portion of the proceeds of every copy of Eye See You, Africa will be donated to the Wilds, Save the Children, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Thanks to the universal appeal of the book, and to Dr. Jay's generosity, the Eye See You series has the potential to become a perpetual source of global philanthropic revenue for this and for generations to come.

Eye See You, Africa is available at the Smithsonian Institute museums, but you can now purchase a copy on or from the website Eye See You, Africa is priced at $24.95 (US). If you buy the book on Amazon, be sure to purchase a new copy so that donations will go to the charitable organizations that this series will support.

My son and I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I am forwarding my copy along to my niece so that she can share it with her sweet family. I know they (in Alaska) are going to really enjoy reading about these animals in Africa! Let me know what you think when you have read the book!

No comments :

Post a Comment