Two books by Gail Gibbons are so useful and so interesting that they deserve a special nod. They are the newly released THE FRUITS WE EAT and its companion book, THE VEGETABLES WE EAT. With their clearly written text and abundant illustrations, these books make it easy to help children grapple with these big questions:
· What’s a fruit? What’s a vegetable?
· Why should we eat fruits? Vegetables?
· How are fruits grown? Vegetables?
· How are fruits harvested? Vegetables?
· What are the parts of different fruits? Vegetables?
Each book could be read and discussed alone. But when they are read and discussed together they provide a rich basis for comparisons and contrasts. Now we can talk and write about these questions:
· How are fruits and vegetables similar? How are they different?
· What is a fruit vegetable?
In addition, there are nonfiction features to notice in these books:
· Examine the labeled diagrams, and encourage children to use diagrams when they write.
· Notice that the text states generalizations using clearly written text, while the illustrations give many specifics that support these generalizations. Discuss how the author states key ideas clearly and provides detailed illustrations that help readers understand these ideas.This is what CCSS is referring to when they discuss integration of information.
These books are an excellent addition to a unit on plants or as part of an author study of the many books by Gail Gibbons.