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Bionic Beasts: Saving Animal Lives with Artificial Flippers, legs and Beaks by Jolene Gutierrez

Bionic Beasts by Jolene Gutiérrez is a must-have book for the upper elementary classroom.

Jolene’s book uses five chapters to highlight five specific animals:

  1. a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle named Lola
  2. a German shephard named Cassidy
  3. a greylag goose named Vitória
  4. a Berkshire-tamworth pig named Pirate
  5. an Asian elephant named Mosha

The organizational structure of each chapter will entice several different types of readers. Readers who prefer a narrative text structure will enjoy the main text that tells the story of each injured animal and the humans who designed the prosthetic and performed the operation to attach the artificial body part. Other readers prefer expository text and will enjoy the text block that features general facts about each animal species. Those readers who prefer to read “how to” texts will particularly enjoy the hands-on experiments at the end of each chapter.

In addition to appealing to different types of readers, this book is a fabulous tool to have on hand if you want to have your students teach their peers. Often times students are more invested in reading if they know they’re reading with a specific end goal in mind. Since there are five chapters in Jolene’s book, it is the perfect book to use in a jigsaw activity. Each chapter is only six-pages. So small groups could easily read the material in a half hour and then present the information to their classmates. If you’re teaching remotely, you can buy an electronic version of the book that multiple readers can enjoy.

Finally, Jolene has worked as a K-12 teacher-librarian for over twenty-five years. If you want to find out more about how her work as a teacher-librarian affects her writing, you can listen to me interview her on Chalk + Ink.

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