Non-fiction books can be as exciting as those that are made up. These picture books capture the perilous journey of wild horses, the Motown sound, bees and honey and much more.
"Wild at Heart: Mustangs and the Young People Fighting to Save Them" by Terri Farley; photographs by Melissa Farlow; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 196 pages; $19.99.
Wild Mustang horses typify the classic American West. But for a long time now, developers, ranchers and miners have threatened these gorgeous free animals. Some lucky ones are adopted and some are corralled into holding pens, but many others are sent to slaughterhouses, sadly. There is hope, with a new opposition of rescuers that is growing steam. Author Terri Farley and National Geographic photographer Melissa Farlow present these majestic creatures in all their glory in this coffee table worthy tome, and introduce the tireless efforts to rescue them. Written for young adults but appropriately moving enough for all ages, their photo book profiles many of the young horse lovers leading the opposing charge.
"Wild at Heart" will not only ignite awe at the beautiful photos within, but will help readers regain hope in young people as they strive to return semblance to the lives of these amazing wild Mustangs and burros.
"Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound" by Andrea Davis Pinkney; Roaring Brook Press; 166 pages; $22.99.
Talk about cool. One intro to this grand introduction to Motown music says it's: "A story that will put an up-beat on your lips. A rhythm on your hips. A dip in your step. And will fill your head, heart, and soul with a whole lotta knowledge about music that is here to stay." The text is groovy with a hip, funky vibe, just like the music it speaks of — "Kid, raid is one of those tricky words," and "Baby, with all that twinkling and Motown glow above our heads, you might think things can't get any brighter on this Hitsville rhythm trip."
With true stories about everybody from the Supremes to the Jackson 5 to Berry Gordy and everybody in between, Andrea Davis Pinkney's black and white photo filled book is as up-tempo as they come. Older kids and teens will thrill to the background of music that influenced all that's here now.
"Frederick's Journey" by Doreen Rappaport; illustrated by London Ladd; Disney/Jump at the Sun; 40 pages; $17.99.
Frederick Douglass was born a slave and lived an early life of hardship, but somehow managed to learn to read. Words, he knew, could set him free. This larger than life picture book portrait of an extraordinary man chronicles his escape to the North, where he spread his abolitionist beliefs about equal rights for all colors of people. By weaving Douglass' powerful words with her own, Doreen Rappaport creates a very personal, moving tribute. The latest in the critically acclaimed Big Words series, "Frederick's Journey" is also lovingly illustrated with strong, evocative pictures from London Ladd.
"If You Love Honey: Nature's Connections" by Martha Sullivan; illustrated by Cathy Morrison; Dawn Publications; 32 pages; $8.95.
With all the sad talk about bee disappearances and threats, plus the popularity of honey's health benefits, Martha Sullivan's introduction to it is timely. With warm, lifelike illustrations and colorful homey backdrops, the adventure about how intertwining our natural world is will thrill youngsters. Fun to read at home or useful as a learning tool at school, Sullivan's paperback has parallel sections of text throughout that guide the reader through the pages. Larger text entertains, while more detailed text below is more informative, about flowers and bees and honey and animals that are all interrelated. Young children will be fascinated, and perhaps look out for bees in the near future.
"Combines with Casey & Friends" and "Big Tractors with Casey & Friends" by Holly Dufek; illustrated by Paul E. Nunn; Octane Press; 32 pages and $14.99 each.
Young tractor and farm equipment fans will love these colorful introductions to modern farm equipment. Friendly cartoon characters perform amazingly useful tasks, while Casey the farmer and Tillus the worm narrate and teach all about how crops are gathered and how tractors use their powerful muscles to work in the fields.
More books are available in this fun, bright new series. To learn more about real equipment, head to www.caseih.com - a tractor lover's paradise.
To find out more about Lee Littlewood, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.