Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Meet the Howlers!

It seems that children's fiction books heavily outweigh the supply of non-fiction. Thus, I'm always happy to discover some good factual reading material presented at a level that children can enjoy. A big thanks to April Pulley Sayre, who has written more than 55 natural history books for children and adults. With her most recent offering, we get the opportunity to learn about howler monkeys.

This book serves a dual purpose, with two distinct sections on each page. The larger font provides a bit of a fictional story about a family of howler monkeys. The smaller font is the non-fictional section that gives factual information on this group of fascinating primates. And truly, there is a wide range of information provided - funny,

The biggest piece of information, and most obvious fact, about howler monkeys is ... they howl. But did you know they can also bark, woof and grunt? The monkeys use the various calls to communicate with the other members in their group. Appropriately named, their howls can be heard a mile away. The screeching can be scary to other animals, but they are actually peaceful animals. They may look as if they are angry and scowling, but that's just the way their faces are designed.

This book was inspired by the author's observations of howler monkeys in Panama. It is obvious that she has taken an interest that is near and dear to her heart and tried to make it appealing to children. I love how she approaches this by combining fact with fiction. It's like we are getting the best of both worlds! The result is a fun story created by some interesting observations. This is the very best way to learn - a fun format paired with beautiful illustrations.

The only down side (and I'm sure you saw this coming) is the distinct possibility that your children will imitate howler monkeys around the house. Hey, learning has its price.

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