Nonfiction Picture Books About Animals (Winter 2019)
Dingo by Claire Saxby, illustrated by Tannya Harricks
NOCTURNAL / AUSTRALIAN ANIMAL
Evocative illustrations with visibly painted brush strokes grabbed my interest right away. But I liked the text, too– it’s both a narrative story as well as informative expository text. The story captures a typical night for Dingo. She is a nocturnal mama. First, she’ll leave her puppies to hunt for food. Then, returns to feed them and leave again to hunt again. Throughout the story, we also read facts about dingos, Australia’s wild dogs. These facts are written in a smaller, italicized text size to differentiate them. I learned a lot. Added to: Books About Nocturnal Animals
The Home Builders by Varsha Bajaj, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani
ANIMAL BABIES AND HOMES
Minimal text and detailed illustrations show children the variety of animal who build nests and dams and shelter. “Lodges on ponds, Shelter from storms.” The book doesn’t say which animals are in the pictures but I like this because it will promote rich conversations. Then it’s time for babies to be born. The structures will become home to the baby animals. “Mole pups slumber, Bees swarm the air, Timid fawns bond, Wee eaglets stare.” Added to: Picture Books About Ecosystems & Habitats
The Night Flower by Lara Hawthorne
Learn about the desert flora and fauna. During the day, notice the saguaro cactus, woodpeckers, brightly colored flowers, deer, squirrels, snakes, and lizards… Then as the darkness sets in, a beautiful white flower blooms on the cactus. As this happens, animals like bats, bobcats, ringtail, and rats emerge from their daytime slumber. In the back of the book, you’ll find a list of animals and descriptions to go back and spot. You’ll also find more information about the Saguaro cactus. Excellent, informative writing makes this a great choice for classrooms. Added to: Picture Books About Ecosystems & Habitats
Finding a Dove for Gramps by Lisa J. Amstutz, illustrated by Maria Luisa Di Gravio
A boy and his mom bundle up to help with the annual bird count. He uses his binoculars, then marks what he sees on his data sheet, remembering his Gramps’ advice all the while. They see blue jays, a red-bellied woodpecker, a tufted titmouse, but will he spot the dove that his grandpa always wanted to see? It’s a lovely day that honors his Gramps’ legacy that just happens to have the perfect ending. Added to: Best Children’s Books About Birds.
Read how YOU can do a backyard bird count, too. Lisa J. Amstutz shares information on how kids can become citizen scientists here.
Beware of the Crocodile by Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura
Introduce young readers to the crocodile in this picture book that could double as an easy nonfiction reader. Informative and awe-inspiring.
Gecko by Raymond Huber, illustrated by Brian Lovelock
Set up in a parallel structure, we read the narrative story about a day in the life of Gecko as well as expository facts about geckos. Visually appealing and interesting.
The Frog Book by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
AMPHIBIANS / REPTILES
Densely packed with facts about frogs from the basics to finding a mate to reproduction and species, this beautifully illustrated book is the only field-guide to frogs that your kids will ever need. Holy moly will you learn a lot!
Crab Cake: Turning the Tide Together by Andrea Tsurumi
There is so much to look at while reading this silly undersea story filled with fish and the message of environmental cleanup. While it’s true that Pufferfish puffs up, Lobster looks for a new home, and Octopus hides, but it’s not true that Crab bakes cakes. Except in this story it is. One awful night, there’s a big crash and a deluge of garbage is dumped into the ocean. Everyone freezes. (Except Crab who is baking a cake.) It’s dark. And scary. Crab feeds all the sea animals cake while they brainstorm what to do next. All the creatures help to shove, roll, town, drag, and carry all the garbage back to the shore so they can get back to swimming, playing, and baking cakes underwater like usual. Delightful!
The Big Sticker Book of the Blue by Yuval Zommer
The back pages of this book are filled with sea creature stickers. Use them as you read the pages of this book. You might be asked to stick flying fish stickers on the page to escape predators in the sea. Or you might be asked to draw tentacles on jellyfish. Kids will have fun while they’re learning more about the animals in the underwater world.