For this Free Friday, I am highlighting a children’s picture book written and illustrated John Canty called Heads and Tails. Rather than being a story with a plot and characters, this picture book is more of an informative picture book in the way the author presents the information. On the second page of each spread, the author gives 3 descriptions of a particular animal, characterizing the animal in ways that most young children would also describe the animal and be able to know what animal is being talked about. On this page of the description is one half of the illustration of the animal, usually the back half of the body. Each description page ends with the sentence starter I am a… and as you flip the page, the animal being described is revealed!
The author includes a wide variety of animals from pets that children might encounter in everyday life such as a cat to more unique animals that some young children might not have heard of such as a rhinoceros. The animals in this book exposes children to animals they may have never heard of before as well as also giving them more descriptions for animals they might already be familiar with such as a rabbit.
The style of the book makes for a great read-a-loud option for teachers and students because of the way that guessing the animal being talked about is integrated into the writing of the book. Students can have a lot of fun reading along to this book as they guess the animal and also learn more about the animal through the descriptions the author chose to include.
This book could also be a great tool used in an introductory science lesson where the teacher is teaching about animals or environments.
The illustrations in this book pop out with their color and attention to detail, especially against the white background of the pages. As you turn the page, the illustrations become more realistic and detailed.