From the Publisher:
What makes us unique? Genes – they make people and animals different in surprising and amazing ways. In British Columbia, some black bears are white, and there’s even one cheetah in the world that has no spots at all. Many children feel alone in their differences, whether they are genetic, behavioural, or cultural. By revealing surprising differences within species in the animal world, this book shows young readers that uniqueness is something to be celebrated and that rare is, in fact, everywhere.
Rare Is Everywhere takes readers on a journey through the animal kingdom, revealing that grasshoppers can be pink, tigers can be white, and lobsters can be blue. Showcasing eleven incredible animals through vibrant illustrations and playful poetry, the book skillfully blends science with art and encourages children to recognize and accept diversity in themselves and in others.
A delightful picture book that blends science with art and poetry to celebrate the value of genetic diversity. Each two-page spread features an animal with a unique genetic anomaly (black penguin, pink grasshopper, Spirit (Kermode) Bear, etc.) alongside the ‘regular’ (non-genetic anomaly) members of their species. Information about the animal is delivered via rhyming couplets and includes enough scientific information about the animal to be developmentally appropriate without becoming overwhelming. It is a picture book that nicely straddles the divide between fiction and information literature. The overall take-away message of the book for kids is that diversity can be valuable and to accept it in themselves, others, and in nature. The final pages include a helpful glossary (About the Animals) that gives further info about the animals profiled in the book. It also (briefly) discusses genes at a developmentally appropriate level. Of delight to young readers will be the final page, which is filled with jokes linking to each animal. How fun!
My almost 4-yo was captivated by the bright illustrations in this picture book. She pointed out the various textures/patterns and exclaimed with surprise when the 2-D page did not match the 3-D touch experience she was expecting. She quickly picked up on the rhyming couplet pattern of the text and started to try to guess which word would be used to rhyme with the end of the previous line. It was a valuable reading prediction exercise for us! An added bonus. I found that there was enough description to give a clear picture of each animal without the science being too overwhelming. The further information at the end was similarly helpful and developmentally appropriate.
The valuable take-away message for children about accepting diversity in themselves and others (and nature) is there, but could perhaps have been more strongly stated. My daughter did not pick up on the connection of animals to humans the first couple of times. She could articulate her understanding after I explained it and directly pointed out the links. A young reader exploring this title on their own may well miss the connections without an older reader to help make the leap. It would be a great read-aloud or book used within the context of a homeschool or classroom lesson to connect science, health, art or English Language Arts (poetry). I HIGHLY recommend this book for preschool to grade 4 use. It is about an important topic, and will fill a hole in most personal/classroom/library collections.
- LOVE that the proceeds from the sale of the book are being donated to the Rare Disease Foundation
- information about each animal is presented in rhyming couplets – a great chance to practice rhyming and predictive text guessing for toddlers
- illustrations are eye-catching and visually appealing – the collage-style with varied prints looks almost 3-dimensional
- strong message about the benefits of being unique / different and the value of including/appreciating everyone
- the basics (habitat, food, etc.) of each rare animal are included in the poetic description – making this book valuable on a number of levels. Also valuable is the “About the Animals” section at the end that includes more information
- joke corner on the final page leaves the book on a high note. Kids will love it
- really – none. I’f I’m being picky, I’ll say that the clarity of the message about the value/strength of human features being rare (diversity) could have been more clearly emphasized in the first couple/last few pages of the book. The point is made, but for young readers being this book on their own, more clarity may be necessary. As a read-aloud, the connections would/should be made by the adult
- I was left wondering if there should have been a more clear connection to rare diseases or the Rare Disease Foundation (who are recipients of proceeds from sales of this book).
Why/How Use it with kids:
This has wonderful science connections, as well as human body, self-image / health extensions. Lots to do with this book – and would be wonderful for homeschool study as well as personal and classroom use.
- create a list of things that are unique/rare about your child – broaden it to your family circle and friends
- discuss things that are unique and rare or having traits that are unique/rare – is it necessarily a negative thing? Why/why not?
- brainstorm other animals or living things that have variations or genetic anomalies
- create a joke to go along with your animal/living thing (see final pages of book for ideas)
- describe your animal / living thing using rhyming couplets (explore poetry!)
- draw/model/create a unique aspect of the child or someone they know (or an animal) – represent them in their natural habitat
- art – use a variety of materials with different textures and patterns to make collage-style images, like those of the book
About the Author / Illustrator:
Deborah Katz lives in Vancouver, BC. She is a nursing professor with nearly 20 years of experience in health care. She is also an artist who, before moving into digital illustration, painted using a multimedia approach that involved acrylics, watercolour, photography, and collage. Her work has appeared in local galleries and various publications. In addition, Deborah has authored and edited many professional publications, as well as written and illustrated a handbook on organic gardening for children (from website).