Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 1.20.16 Counting Lions

Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog is to give educational professionals
new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

Counting Lions: Portraits from the Wild

Counting Lions
by Katie Cotton
illustrated by Stephen Walton
published by Candlewick Press

Oh my, this book is simply gorgeous.  Don't be fooled, you're not looking at a photograph, but beautiful illustrations by Stephen Walton.  The detail is amazing.  This book has gorgeous, lyrical language.  Cotton introduces us to 10 different African animals.  Each one is facing endangerment, some more than others.  The back matter gives us information about each animal - additional details, but also what is happening them to put them on the endangerment list.  There is also a forward by Virginia McKenna, introducing us to these spectacular animals while calling into question why these animals are now being forced onto protected species lists.

Read each page for multiple reasons:
  • The writing is so gorgeous, but embedded in the lyrical language are facts about each animal.  What do students learn?
  • This book is ultimately a book about how African animals are being threatened by multiple causes.  What do you learn in the text?  What do you learn in the additional information about the end?
  • This book is organized as a counting book.  How does the organization of it impact the message of the book?
What started out as a book from the library, became a book purchased for use with students.  Be sure to find a copy of this book!

Happy Reading!


  1. Since my granddaughter is studying big cats, this was a favorite of hers for a long time. It is gorgeous, and filled with just enough information for a younger child, and then enough to start further interest in protecting these beautiful animals.

  2. Simply stunning. What a beautiful and important, if sad, counting book to share with young readers. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. I bought this book when I saw it at the bookstore because it was just so beautiful!

  4. I love this book, Michele. The illustrations appear photographic.