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My son has been quite interested in maps and geography, so (even with the arrival of my newborn five weeks ago) we began a project of studying the continents, starting with Antarctica. Learning about the continent with a four-year-old prompted me to learn more myself: a few months ago, I posted about a Sally Walker volume about the continent that I really enjoyed.

North Pole, South Pole

My son and I also enjoyed a few picture books about the continent. I like North Pole, South Pole by Nancy Smiler Levinson (Holiday House, 2002). It is a higher-level early reader, so it is above my son’s reading level, but it is just the right text density and length for him to enjoy listening as I read it to him.

We enjoyed learning not just about the Antarctic and the harsh conditions of this unique desert, but we also enjoyed comparing it to the North Pole, which is a unique tundra habitat of its own. It would work well not just for a unit about Antarctica but also to learn about various habitats around the world, specifically these two unique habitats. It ends with summary bullet-point pages to easily compare the two climates/habitats after reading the book.

Here is Antarctica by Madeleine Dunphy (Web of Life 2008) was a story about the various animals in the food chain in the format of a “house that Jack built” rhythmic text. It is a comfortable read-aloud, which is not always the case in this format of book. It also has gorgeous illustrations of Antarctic scenes as well as the animals. A brief few pages of end matter give more details about the animals pictured. I highly recommend this one!

We also read a few other early reader books about the continent that didn’t stand out to me at this time, but my son loved looking at all the maps, and he enjoyed being able to read the books himself. I may return to them to review at another point.

Reviewed on March 31, 2012

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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