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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Giving WR First Concepts rhyming Learn with Animals set

Had to mention these rhyme in the title because I have many teacher colleagues in preschool-grade 1 who love to read-aloud rhyming books and books in verse. The Learn With Animals set from Weekly Reader / Gareth Stevens is surprising. In 32 pages they introduce us to ten animals of each habitat. 

Each two-page spread has an illustration of the animal appropriate for the very youngest preschooler on one page and a poem about the animal written in a child-friendly font on the other page. The poetry is very simple (don’t expect Robert Louis Stevenson) but with appropriate child vocabulary. From In the Arctic we read:

I am a walrus.
My tusks are quite nice.
I use them as hooks
To climb onto the ice. 

I really like the font of these books. I wish the publisher had indicated which font was used in the making of this set. I wonder if it’s First Grader? No matter what it is, the font is larger and easy for beginning readers to decipher. I can just picture toddlers picking up these books and demanding their parents read their first nonfiction series to them. (shudder with delight!)

Laura Ottina is the author, Sebastiano Ranchetti is the illustrator, and Barbara Bakowski adapted these from their original Italian version published in 2008 in Italy. Visit to learn more about the author and illustrator. Of course, the site is in Italian, so you’ll have to muddle through like I did to find beautiful images. I wonder if these are the covers in Italy:
 The series' Italian covers
Titles in the series include:Here is the cover of the US edition