My Favorite Animal: The Cheetah #nfpb2014

nonfiction picture book challenge buttonIt’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! Visit Kid Lit Frenzy to learn about the challenge and find out about more great nonfiction picture books.

My new nonfiction picture book obsession is Suzi Eszterhas’s Eye on the Wild series about baby animals. Granted, I’ve only read one book in the series so far, Cheetah, but it was so gorgeously photographed that I now want to collect all of her other books.


The cover doesn’t begin to do justice to the photos within. Visit Eszterhas’s website to see a small collection of her cheetah photos.

Eszterhas also wrote the book, and she has a strong sense of her audience. Larger print, simple vocabulary, and ample white space make this an inviting book for younger readers to read independently, and it also works quite well as a read-aloud. While the book lacks the more detailed information I would enjoy in a nonfiction title about cheetahs, it does provide an appropriate amount of information for its younger audience, and the beauty of the photographs makes it an appealing title even for older readers. Her photos of cubs at play are especially memorable. The story ends when the cheetah sibling group turns two and they’re ready to leave their mother and become independent cats.  

9 responses to “My Favorite Animal: The Cheetah #nfpb2014”

  1. Oh dear. You might have sold me on this series too and I haven’t actually laid eyes on any of them! I love accessible nonfiction for my younger readers and this looks perfect. Peeked at the site. Wow.

    • I think it’s a must for your room, Carrie! I’ll update my post and add a photo from the inside so you can gauge the writing. My library doesn’t have any of her books, so I’m going to have to purchase. SIGH.

  2. I have not previously read any graphic novels by this author, but after reading your post I do have a question… With this type of graphic novel, do you think it would be a good book to use for students to creative write in my future middle school classroom? I have thought that my future students may enjoy reading a few pages in a graphic novel and creative write to finish the story. Do you think this is a good idea from an educational stand point?

    • This is a nonfiction picture book, not a graphic novel. I’ll bring it to class to show you! While the photographs in this book are superb, I am not sure middle school students would find the text very engaging. There are better choices for a nonfiction title on cheetahs for middle schoolers. (Sy Montgomery–author of the Temple Grandin bio you’re reading–has a cheetah book coming out next month. I’ve already ordered it!) I think there is value in so many different kinds of writing assignments, but I would suggest being clear about what your purpose is first. What do you want students to achieve, learn, experience by finishing someone else’s story? Certainly predicting what comes next is a reading strategy readers use, and people who write fan fiction for fun do extend or revise other people’s stories. So there could be a greater purpose there.

  3. These look very good, Elisabeth. My school has tons of non-fiction because of the individual unit work, and the books seems to fit for those younger students who want to study ‘big cats’! Thanks!

    • How wonderful that your school has so much nonfiction! My libraries are very thin on nonfiction, especially recent nonfiction. This is an area of my personal collection I am working hard to build so that I will have the books I need to share with my students. I never really mind having an excuse to buy more books!

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