Because You Are My Teacher (Abrams Books For Young Readers, $16.95, ages 4-8) written by Sherry North and illustrated by Marcellus Hall is a book that will get kids excited about going back to school while also celebrating the dedication teachers bring to the classroom. If readers happen to get bitten by the travel bug along the way, then that’s just an added bonus.
I found myself hooked immediately by the cover image depicting a teacher and her students high up in a hot air balloon observing some spectacular scenery. Author North has teamed up with illustrator Hall for yet another installation in the successful series that brought us Because You Are My Baby and Because I Am Your Daddy. With this new picture book told in rhyme, readers will travel the world all because of a teacher’s commitment to sharing her knowledge in a colorful way.
Imagine learning about the world through every mode of transportation. Any book can introduce exotic sites and cities to children. What works so well with this story and what will excite children is that they’ll study the Atlantic on a schooner, get a peek of the pyramids while atop camels, tour the Amazon on a river raft, and dive deep down into the ocean to discover illuminating sea life. They’ll even get to hang glide over the Australian outback! All the while the students are journeying courtesy of their teacher’s imagination, they are discovering what makes going to school so special – teachers. End pages include info on the seven continents visited and all the animals or places mentioned.
Illustrating Where’s The Meerkat? ($9.99, Barron’s Publishing, ages 7 and up) must have been great fun for Paul Moran, Stevel Wiltshire and Simon Ecob, not to mention very time consuming! This entertaining and educational book can be described as Where’s Waldo meets a travel encyclopedia. Each two-page spread features a scene from a famous world destination, with one member of a (very cute) meerkat family hidden somewhere in the incredibly detailed, colorful picture. In a separate text box, written by Jen Wainwright, readers can learn a few important facts about the destination. In the back of the book are check lists, with specific items to look for on the pages, expanding the search way beyond the meerkat family.
I, for one, am now addicted to looking at the illustrations to find the meerkats and items on the checklist. What great fun that is! What’s better than a book that you can linger over like this with your children? I love the fact that the book teaches geography in a most clever and entertaining way. This would be a great book to take with you on a long car trip or plane.
Where’s the Meerkat has already been a bestseller in England. Now it has just been released in the U.S. and is sure to be a big hit here as well.