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Review: First Step Nonfiction on the Environment

First Step Nonfiction - EcologyPeople and the Environment
Animals and the Environment
Plants and the Environment

First Step Nonfiction series from Lerner is definitely intended for our first graders to learn about ecology

The focus is not upon the harm we do, but instead on the interactions we have with the environment. There are two pages in the end of the People and the Environment title that provide information on how "people hurt the environment" and how "people help the environment."
This series is unusual in that each title seems to actually be two types of books in one. There is the very basic introduction for  kindergarten and first graders that shows the interactions between the environment and either plants, animals, or people. These are worthwhile additions to the collections and make for excellent introductions to the topic of interactions. 

Then in each title there are the two double-page spreads that provide more in-depth information on the problems our environment is facing. In the title Animals and the Environment, the pages on Animal Facts could have come before the page on Wisconsin’s Gray Wolf in my personal opinion. I was reading along, "Animals use the environment in many ways." Then turned the page to find a graph showing the recovering wolf population in Wisconsin. 

I was a little confused. But, then, that’s just me. I enjoyed reading the animal facts page, although I wanted to argue with them about beavers making problems for humans. Who has more rights to dam the rivers? Humans or animals? Are we too controlling and end up causinHmmmmm. I needed to wake up and think this morning.
The Plants and the Environment title is my favorite. It fills in a need for a different type of plant information book. The pages showing how plants and animals help other plants were very appropriate. 

Again, the last 2 double-page spreads provided more in-depth information on a specific topic – forests. I might save those two pages for use on our lesson on trees, forests, and environment damage to our temperate forests and rainforests. Individual readers may appreciate them, but if I am sharing these with a small group, I might hesitate on focusing on the last two pages. 

Fortunately the beginning sections of these books are strong enough to join my beginning reader nonfiction titles. I will continue to add First Step Nonfiction titles to my collection.