Vivid photographs and natural language make these non-fiction books popular with young children.
The Pull Ahead Books published by Lerner Publications are packed with information about animals or vehicles in detailed photographs and accessible language texts. The animal books include 27 pages of text (two to three sentences per page) followed by a map of where in the world the animal is found, a diagram of the animal’s body parts, and then a glossary and an index. The Mighty Movers books are formatted the same way except in place of a map, there is a page titled “Facts about…”
What I love about these books is the natural language that is used and the depth of information that is provided. In an effort to be readable, other non-fiction books aimed at the pre-K to 1st grade group are often so concise as to wind up being superficial. The animal books in Lerner’s Pull Ahead series explore concepts in greater depth. In Climbing Tree Frogs, for example, 8 sentences are devoted to the function of the animal’s feet and 7 sentences explain how their changing coloration is a helpful adaptation.
Do not be fooled. Although there are just a few sentences per page in large font, these books are too hard for beginning readers. They are written on a second grade level. While I have found some books at a Level K, many of the animal books are Level M in the Fountas and Pinnell leveling system; and a large number of the Mighty Movers are Level M or N. This makes them better suited to a read-aloud in an intimate setting for the child in preschool, kindergarten, or first grade. The photographs bear close investigation, and the one-on-one setting allows for the many questions and comments that are elicited by the interesting facts. Youngsters have a good time exploring the awesome powers of the natural and man-made world with Lerner’s Pull Ahead Books.