Sounds of the Savanna

sounds of the SavannaSounds of the Savanna
by Terry C. Jennings; illus. by Phyllis Saroff
32 pages; ages 4-8
Arbordale, 2015

“Dawn kisses the grasslands of the savanna. A lion roars.” So begins a day on the savanna. His roar carries through the early morning air, to a lake miles away where a lioness hears him and roars her reply.

As the sun rises, we glimpse elephants at the watering hole, vervet monkeys skittering through the tall grass, and baboons coming down from the rocky cliffs.

Mid-afternoon sun beats down on the savanna, baking the land and the animals living there. Author Terry Jennings paints a complex web of interactions within the landscape: predators and their prey, youngsters learning to hunt, parent and young … all within the context of a day on the savanna.

Animals make sounds for a lot of reasons. If they are in danger, they might give an alarm call to alert others to danger or to bring help. Males make sounds to warn others “this is my territory”, and babies make sounds when they are hungry. Since this book is all about sounds, Jennings includes four pages at the back that are full of explorations for curious minds: experiments with sound and vibration, a predator/prey sorting game, and more details about sounds that animals make.

Head over to Sally’s Bookshelf for links to night sounds on the savanna and some teaching activities.

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Chick(en) Lit for Kids

At Wrapped in Foil blog today we are featuring four children’s books about chickens.

At the top of the list is a 2015 Cybils award nominee in the Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction category, A Chicken Followed Me Home!: Questions and Answers about a Familiar Fowl by Robin Page.


Written in a lively question-and-answer format, the text explains such basics as what a chicken eats, how to tell a hen from a rooster, how a chick gets out of its shell, etc. The framing story of a chicken following someone home adds imagination and some light humor.

The back matter contains two pages of even more pertinent questions about chickens, including where did the first chicken come from, how fast can a chicken run, and what is the largest breed of chicken. Do you know the answers?

Robin Page did the colorful, highly-textured illustrations digitally. They have a collage feel reminiscent of those done by her children’s book illustrator husband, Steve Jenkins.

A Chicken Followed Me Home would be useful for a child learning about their first chicken or one writing a report about chickens.

Visit Wrapped in Foil to see what other books made the list, including a middle-grade novel.

Live in Phillis Wheatley’s Shoes

A VOICE OF HER OWN: the story of Phillis Wheatley, Slave Poet by Kathryn Lasky is a picture book biography of

Phyllis Wheatley that would be good for grades 3-5.

It has more information than the shorter picture book biographies which is important for school projects.

Take this sample which brings the reader into the mindset of a slave.

“At first there was just blackness….. Then the blackness dissolved into darkness, and the world in the creaking hold of the slave ship slid with shadows.”

Teachers, here are possible school assignments for Black History Month.

Have your students write a play about how a slave would feel on one of these ships .What smells would they encounter? What sounds? What would it feel like to be chained up?

Have your students write poems with Phillis Wheatley as a subject. Examples: What was life like for a slave at that time? What was travel like?

Nonfiction Monday

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Copyright © 2014 Deborah Amadei All Rights Reserved. Site Meter