Friday, July 17, 2015

Almost Gone  The World’s Rarest Animals
By Steve Jenkins  

Almost Gone is a great mentor and hook for writers who are fascinated with unique scientific information.  I would use this book as a model to motivate students who are interested in rare or uncommonly known scientific or historical facts and who need a good organizational sample of how to write their information in way that would be interesting to their readers.

Book Talk
Almost Gone introduces readers to 28 animals from around the world that are: ‘Almost Gone’,  ‘Gone Forever’ or  ‘Coming Back’. 

Steve Jenkins tells readers pertinent information about each animal: The name of the animal, the country or geographical location of the animal and how many animals are left of the species.

Jenkins gives a short, to the point, yet important and easy-to-read write-up about each animal. In the write-up, he includes numerous reasons for the decline of the animals.

An example of Jenkin’s writing: 
“Miami Blue Butterfly
Florida, United States * Fewer than 50 left
For fifty years, no one saw a Miami blue butterfly . Then, in 2000, a colony of these tiny bright blue butterflies was found on an island in the Florida Keys. In many places, development has destroyed this butterfly’s habitat and the plants its caterpillars eat. Butterfly collectors and pesticides used to control mosquitoes also threaten the Miami blue butterfly.”

In the book introduction, Jenkins gives a fascinating explanation of the balance of nature using a chickadee as his example. Students will easily understand the importance of keeping a species alive and the significance of what happens when part of that balance is broken.

The copyright of the book is 2006.  I found myself curious about the current status in the numbers of many of the animals mentioned in the book. I headed straight to Google to learn more information and it seems that many of the animals of concern are now starting to “Come Back” with the help of scientists and conservationists.  Students will enjoy ‘googling’ to find out the current status of the animals, as well.

Book Genre: Informational / Nonfiction
Reading Workshop strategies: Search for and Use Information, Connecting, Synthesize, Summarize, Questioning
Writing Workshop Genre: Informational Writing
Curricular Themes: Animal survival / science

Steve Jenkins website:

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