Literature Summary on the Children's Magazine Zoobooks

Literature Summary on the Children's Magazine Zoobooks

Zoobooks is a children’s magazine which focuses on many interesting animals, such as birds, insects, reptiles, and mammals. This magazine clearly fits into the category of life sciences, since the subject deals with animals and wildlife. Each month, Zoobooks spotlights one particular animal, and the entire issue is solely devoted to that animal. For instance, the topic of the November 2003 issue is zebras. All seventeen pages of the November 2003 magazine are filled with fascinating information about zebras. Aspects which are discussed include the animals’ habitat, anatomy, survival skills, social interactions, speed, and strength. Every page has colorful, vivid photographs, diagrams and drawings, which help to illustrate the various characteristics of zebras.

Most children have a natural curiosity about animals, so reading this magazine is enjoyable for them. Zoobooks teaches children scientific facts and is helpful in improving their reading skills. So many intriguing facts are presented about the particular “animal of the month.” For instance, in the issue about zebras, readers learn the following facts (scientific vocabulary terms are italicized):

Zebras roam freely on the plains of Africa.

Zebras are actually considered to be wild horses, although they have stripes and are smaller than most horses.

In regards to their variance in stripe patterns and size, no two zebras look exactly alike. This is similar to the idea that no two human fingerprints are exactly the same.

There are several different species and subspecies of zebras, and they are distinguished by the stripes on their hindquarters.

Zebras are herbivores, or plant-eating animals.

Zebras can gallop 35 miles an hour or more. This helps them escape predators, such as leopards and crocodiles.

One way zebras communicate with each other is by “barking.”

Instead of dense and lengthy articles, the information in Zoobooks is broken up into short tidbits of information about the animal of focus. This feature makes Zoobooks quite “readable,” especially for children with shorter attention spans. Since the target audience for this magazine is elementary-aged students, the material is written on a reading level that is easily understood. However, many scientific concepts and vocabulary terms are introduced so that children can develop a better appreciation of the animal being highlighted.

There are several pages in each issue of Zoobooks that contain reproducible puzzles and activities related to the featured animal topic. Teachers could distribute copies of these activities to students after teaching a lesson on the particular animal. In addition, both students and teachers could use the interactive website (http://www.zoobooks.com) to supplement the lessons on animals. Zoobooks is definitely a great educational tool for an elementary science teacher to incorporate into the curriculum. It offers a great deal of information in a way that is challenging, yet attention-grabbing and fun.

References

Wood, L. C. (2003). Zebras. Zoobooks, 21(2).