Eye See! The Eyes of Creatures from Bullfrogs to Buzzards

51l8yNXPqPL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Jenkins, S. (2014). Eye to eye: How animals see the world. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Summary: Based on the premise, “Eyes are the most important link to the world,” Jenkins introduces the reader to a wide range of animal eyeballs, explaining the difference between types of eyes—from the  starfish’s eyespot to the camera eye of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and birds. Colorful and visually-appealing illustrations of insects, mollusks, crustaceans, birds, and more help Jenkins capture the reader’s the imagination with astounding facts about the way animals view the world.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile Level NC1040L*, ATOS Level 5.7, Flesch-Kincaid Level 7.6

*Lexile’s NC refers to “non-conforming” books—books with lexile levels higher than the intended audience. This code is useful when looking for books to match high-ability readers with their developmental needs.

Qualitative Reading Level: The text structure is simple, matching large, colorful illustrations to factual information. The pictures take up most of each page and the font size of the print text is large with keywords highlighted in bold. The language is fairly complex and relies on specific scientific terms, such as habitat, membrane, and ultraviolet light. However, details about the myriad of variations in animal eyesight are sure to interest most readers, including reluctant or inexperienced young scientists. Even though the subject matter is discipline-specific, the illustrations and thought-provoking facts will appeal to readers from ages six to thirteen and beyond.

Personal Thoughts: Steve Jenkins is both the author and illustrator of this book, and his artwork is simply gorgeous. Even the eight eyes of the jumping spider—a sight which would usually repel this scaredy-cat reader—are strikingly rendered with bold yellow, grey, and burgundy hues. The illustrations alone are enough to bring readers into Jenkins’s world of scientific facts.

Content Area: science (zoology and life science)

Teaching Suggestions: Discuss the utility of the various types of eyes described in the book. Ask students to cite evidence from the text to support their ideas. Ask students to restate the author’s conclusion about eyes in the animal kingdom and to write brief, academic summaries, retelling the main idea and key details of the book. Finally, ask students to identify questions they still have. These questions can prompt a mini-inquiry lesson where students research topics based on what they still want to know.

Digital Resources:

Next Generation Science Standards (Sample from Grades 1 and 3)

1 Structure, Function, and Information Processing

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

1-LS1-1.        Use materials to design a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants and/or animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs.

1-LS1-2.        Read texts and use media to determine patterns in behavior of parents and offspring that help offspring survive.

1-LS3-1.        Make observations to construct an evidence-based account that young plants and animals are like, but not exactly like, their parents.

3 Inheritance and Variation of Traits: Life Cycles and Traits

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

3-LS3-1.        Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variation of these traits exists in a group of similar organisms.

3-LS3-2.        Use evidence to support the explanation that traits can be influenced by the environment. 

3-LS4-2.        Use evidence to construct an explanation for how the variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species may provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing.

Common Core State Standard for Literacy History/Social Science, Science, and Technical Subjects (Grades 6 – 8):

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.1
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.2
Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.4
Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.5
Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to an understanding of the topic.
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