One of my daily jobs at school is a reading group with three 3rd grade boys. They just moved up in levels and all of them chose a story about Bigfoot. It got me thinking that I could do a decent display of “weird stuff” – typically found in the 000s of Nonfiction (along with librarians…why are we with Bigfoot and other cryptids?!?)
Cryptids – an animal whose existence or survival is unproved – aren’t easy to represent in my Nonfiction section. I found a puzzle of a globe, putting one together is an experience I’ll never repeat. It had a golfing theme so I painted it. Then I got the bright idea to add little cartoon cryptids in the correlating locations. North America has a lot! You can see the Sasquatch of the Northwestern part of the continent, the aliens in Area 51, Mothman in New Jersey, the Skunk Ape (a cousin to Bigfoot) in Florida and the Chupecabra in the southern end of the continent. I thought the mermaid was a nice touch in the Caribbean too. The Jackalope is in the general area of South Dakota. I doubt anyone actually believes they exist but it’s just something great about living here. I also included the Sea Monsters and the Krakken. South America has man-eating trees and giant serpents. Europe has the Loch Ness monster, dragons and unicorns, Asia has the kappa of Japan, Mongolian Death Worms, dragons and the yeti and Africa has the Mokele Mbembe, a surviving Brontosaurus-type creature. Most of the artwork was found online, my favorites being done by Jess Bradley. Which brings me to my first book:
I Know Sasquatch by Jess Bradley is a fun picture book about meeting and befriending Sasquatch in the forest one afternoon. It uses a fun style, real photographs with Jess’ cartoon characters over the top. The funny thing is I made the globe long before I knew she had a book!
There were a surprising amount of books that I thought fit this display. My students love the nonfiction which is called Hi/Lo – meaning it’s high interest but lower reading levels. I pulled fiction too, like the Cryptid series by Roland Smith for my higher readers and some of The Bailey School Kids by Debbie Dadey for my lower readers.
I recently bought some unicorn books but my favorite is Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krause Rosenthal.