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I love hosting Nonfiction Monday so we can share the wide variety of nonfiction titles members of the Kidlitosphere group are blogging on each week. You might notice that I am including the publisher information for these titles so you can see the wide variety of publishers of nonfiction titles.

Camille Powell at BookMoot writes about the Machines of the Future series with her review of Ultimate Trains. Then she slips in a peak on Looking Closely at the Rain Forest. Both of these titles are published by Kids Can Press.

Amanda Snow at A Patchwork of Books is showcasing 2 books today, 101 Freaky Animals by Melvin and Gilda Berger published by Scholastic and Just One Bite by Lola Schaefer published by Chronicle Books.

Jeff Barger posted a review of Come See The Earth: The Story of Leon Foucault at NC Teacher Stuff Published by Tricycle Press.

Kim Hutmacher the Wild About Nature blog has posted a review of Champ’s Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too! by Sherry North.(May I add a personal note that Kim has written a Therapy Dog book with Capstone Publishing that I meant to include in my review list below?) Published by Sylvan Dell Publishing.

Shirley Duke blogs about I’m a Scientist Kitchen by Lisa Burke at SimplyScience. This is a DK Publishing title.

Alex Baugh has a post at The Children’s War today for In Defiance of Hitler: Secret Mission of the Secret Mission of Varian Fry by Carla Killough McClafferty and published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.   It  is a book about a little known hero named Varian Fry who helped save some very famous people during World War II.

Jone Rush MacCulloch has a review of the book Growing Patterns with an original  Fibonacci poem review at the MacLibrary blog.  Published by Boyds Mill Press and written by Susan C Campbell.
Catherine Nichols post at The Cath In The Hat blog is on wild turkeys “Ten Things You Might Not Know About Turkeys” All About Turkeys was written by Jim Arnosky and published in 1998 by Scholastic.
Anastasia Suen is in today with Christian the Lion by Anthony Bourke and John Rendall. Published by Henry Holt and Co.

Margo Tanenbaum’s link for non-fiction Monday shares her take on Barbies, and Tanya Stone’s new book, The Good The Bad and the Barbie, published by Viking.

Roberta Gibson’s blog Wrapped In Foil has a book with an intriguing title,  Kitchen Science Experiments:  How Does Your Mold Garden Grow? by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and  illustrator Edward Miller published by Sterling.
At 100 Scope Notes Travis Jonker reviews Case Closed? Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science published by Kids Can Press.
Pink Me is in, with reviews of two new books about Barbie, The Good, the Bad, & the Barbie by Tanya Lee Stone and Barbie: A Rare Beauty by Sandi Holder published by Krause Publications.
Tammy Flanders (Apples with Many Seeds blog) has written about an interesting book Our Living Planet that would have great cross-curricular connections.Published by Harry N. Abrams.
At Bookends – – Cindy Dobroz and Lynn Rutan have a plethora of pop-ups! Take a look at some great books for all ages.

Wendie Old is talking about Caroline Arnold’s series about animals, featuring A Walrus’ World, which Arnold both wrote and illustrated. Published by Picture Window Books (an imprint of Capstone).

Three Turtles  and Their Librarian pops  in with the Salem Witch trials and their review of Witchcraft in Salem by Steven Stern and published by Bearport Publishing:
Abby the Librarian has a review of Skit Skat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald by Roxeanne Orgill and published by Candlewick Press.

Janet Squires selection is One Grain of Rice: a mathematical folktale written and illustrated by Demi (published by Scholastic).

Each week I agonize over which wonderful title to share. Today I’m focusing on the topic of working animals with samplings from series from Bailey Books (an Enslow edition) and Marshall Cavendish publishers.

Linda Bozzo writes Guide Dog Heroes which is part of the Amazing Working Dogs with American Humane series. Enslow Elementary, an imprint of Enslow Publishers, 2011 ISBN 978-0-7660-3198-2 Titles in the series include

  • Search and Rescue Dog Heroes
  • Therapy Dog Heroes
  • Guide Dog Heroes
  • Service Dog Heroes (my favorite)
  • Fire Dog Heroes
  • Police Dog Heroes

Guide Dog Heroes is a good title for reading aloud to elementary students. It is an attractive addition to our working animal sets. The title is slightly misleading because only one dog is highlighted as a hero in chapter six – Roselle who helped Michael Hingson escape the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001.

Claudia Martin writes Helpers in the Working Animals series from Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2011. ISBN 978-1-60870-163-6 Titles in this series include:

  • Farming
  • Helpers
  • Military
  • Performers
  • Police
  • Transportation

Helpers opens with a chapter on guide dogs called “Helping the Blind.” Initially I was disappointed because I was expecting a more generic opening explaining the wider variety of helper animals. Many times when I am out in public with Ken’s service dog, Lucky, people will ask him if he is blind even though they watched him drive up and get out of the car. He spends a great deal of time educating people that service animals exist for more reasons than vision assistance.

The second chapter focused on “Working with the Deaf” and did include mention of one of my favorite charities – Dogs for the Deaf. This is always my favorite focus as I need assistance more and more often at home. #3 son’s puppy Deebow, has already begun training to alert me to sounds at home. The security this provides me when I am home alone is indescribable. Since my beloved Marshall died and Lucy is retiring as she loses her hearing & sight, I have been dependent on people to be  help me at home. Deebow is offering me hope.

Chapter 3 provided many more types of animals and situations needing service animals. Chapter 4 described animal therapy in general and chapter 5 inspired the reader to consider a wide variety of careers and volunteer opportunities.

At first glance, this arrangement of narrative nonfiction seems very traditional, but the author and designer have slipped many unusual facts into the writing and the many side bars. I found myself calling out “to everyone around me Did you know…?” questions throughout my reading.

In 64 pages we learn the history of many types of helper animals, heroic stories, and the unusual tasks many animals can be taught to help their owner. Service parrot?!  Mobility dogs that load and unload the washing machine?! Miniature horses as guide dogs and in nursing homes?! The history of The Seeing Eye?!

I anticipate this being read at upper elementary and middle school levels. I found this title a good addition to our series on working animals because it provides such a breadth of information for the nonfiction browser.

One criticism I have of many of these titles is they do not mention the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 or the fact that service dogs are not required to wear service vests. Linda Bozzo’s title did include mention of the ADA in a side box. As for service vests and harnesses, when Lucky wore her blue vest in public in Chicago, it drew a great deal of attention and put me at a disadvantage by singling me out. There are reasons why sometimes she does not wear her vest. We currently carry cards from that explain what a service dog is and exactly what businesses may and may not ask. For example, businesses may not ask about the person’s disability or require identification or certification for the dog. They may ask “Is this a Service Dog?” and “What tasks does the Service Dog perform?”

Adults and children need to learn the proper way to inquire about a service dog or working dog in public to avoid any embarrassment or violation of the rights of the person with the disability. Titles like these help educate the public in a fun way.


  1. Thanks for hosting! At 100 Scope Notes I review Case Closed? Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science.

  2. At Bookends – – we’ve got a plethora of pop-ups! Take a look at some great books for all ages. Thanks for hosting!

  3. Hi Diane,

    My post for Nonfiction Monday features books about turkeys. It’s at:

  4. Hi Diane.
    I’ve written about an interesting book Our Living Planet that would have great cross-curricular connections.
    Thanks for hosting today.

  5. Hello Diane!
    Pink Me is in, with reviews of two new books about Barbie, The Good, the Bad, & the Barbie by Tanya Lee Stone and Barbie: A Rare Beauty by Sandi Holder.

    thanks for hosting!

  6. We are here, late as usual, with the Salem Witch trials:

    We love the Working Animals series. We have a number of service dogs that visit our library, and I keep treats behind the desk for those who are allowed to snack ‘on the job’ (with owner’s permission, of course). Once a month, Vito the guide dog (and his person) come to read during story time, and we always talk about dos and don’t with working dogs. After stories, Vito’s harness comes off, and he has a ball socializing! I think it helps for the kids (and parents) to see him go from still and attentive to wild ball of fur when the harness is removed – sort of a visual of “this is at work, this is at play.”

  7. My selection is One Grain of Rice: a mathematical folktale written and illustrated by Demi.

  8. Thanks for hosting! At Abby the Librarian, I have a review of Skit Skat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald by Roxeanne Orgill

    And an early Happy Thanksgiving! :)

  9. Lakisha Wyms says:

    great stuff thx