Picture Books About Habitats and Ecosystems

affiliate
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter

If you’re studying ecosystems and habitats, these picture books can help!

First, let’s start with the difference between a habitat and an ecosystem. An ecosystem includes the plants and animals as well as weather and landscapes. In other words, the entire population of living things in the region like a city. The habitat refers to the animal’s or organism’s home environment.

Ecosystems include aquatic–marine and freshwater and terrestrial –forest, desert, grassland, and mountain. National Geographic explains a bit more about ecosystems in this article.

The five major land habitats include deciduous forest, coniferous forest, savanna, tropical rain forest, desert, and tundra. And there are water habitats as well.

Use these books to talk about the differences between habitats and ecosystems, who lives where, and so forth.

(Note: I will keep adding to this list as I become aware of more wonderful picture books.)

Picture Books About Habitats and Ecosystems


Who’s Hiding on the River?
by Katharine McEwen
RIVER
Learn about river animals with more than 20 flaps and facts. Animals are hiding on the river throughout the different times of day. Who’s hiding? A swan, a fish, an ermine, and more…

Who’s Hiding in the Woods?
by Katherine McEwen
WOODS
Who’s hiding around the woods? Lift the flap to see who they are and read facts about each one.
Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner Picture Book About Habitats and Ecosystems Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner children's books about animals and nature
Over and Under the Pond
by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
POND
Extra tall blue and earth-tone illustrations show a boy and his mother above the pond in a small rowboat. As they travel home, we see what else is on the top of the pond as well as the detailed ecosystem below. Not only will you enjoy the surprises of pond life, but you’ll also be learning as well. It’s a stunning perspective of our interaction with the natural world.


Woodland Dream
s
by Karen Jameson, illustrated by Marc Boutavant
WOODS
A little girl and her dog walk through the woods, saying goodnight to each of the woodland creatures. Similar poetic text structure and soothing wordplay, “Antlered swimmer / Pond-weed skimmer / Daylight’s fleeting — wade ashore / Bed down in the great outdoors.” Rich, earthy illustrations give this book a warm, cozy feel.


Over and Under the Rainforest
by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
ECOSYSTEMS – RAINFOREST
A child narrates what he experiences during a rainforest hike. The child notices the wildlife living up in the canopy and down below on the ground; animals like capuchin monkeys, leaf-cutter ants, sloths, and parrot snakes. Descriptive imagery plus beautiful illustrations transport readers to this verdant ecosystem. “High in the canopy, a furry dark shadow clings to a branch.


Beyond the Pond
by Joseph Kuefler
Ernest D. discovers that his pond HAS NO BOTTOM! Excited, he begins to explore the depths that lead to another world. Good thing he’s a brave explorer!

Picture Book About Habitats and Ecosystems
On Duck Pond
by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Bob Marstall
POND
Beautiful imagery captures the essence of a duck pond from a dog walker’s perspective. “The pond, now stilled, reflections grew, // Doubling creatures old and new.” The book ends with information about a pond habitat and the birds that live there. Sounds like a lovely place to be.

 

Welcome to the Neighborhood Picture Book About Habitats and Ecosystems
Welcome to the Neighborhood 
by Shawn Sheehy
FOREST
Meet the animals who build their homes in the forest. In this book, they will pop-up in true-to-life, earthy colors. Learn more about the Garden Spider, the Hummingbird, the Stickleback, and other neighboring animals.


Squeak!
by Laura McGee Kvasnosky, illustrated by Kate Harvey McGee
WOODS
Not only is this book rich with onomatopoeia but it’s also rich with a sense of place, in this case, an ecosystem of the woods. It’s a delightful story of one morning in the life of the animals. Early, a little mouse wakes up and squeaks. His squeak sets off a chain reaction of animals waking up –like the chipmunk chittering, a trout splashing, a mouse waking, an eagle launching, a mama bear growling, a wolf pup howling, and all the noises the animals make. In a circular, very sweet ending, we return to the mouse who can’t figure out why everyone is awake and snuggles back to sleep.

Picture Book About Habitats and Ecosystems
The Home Builders
by Varsha Bajaj, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani
HABITATS
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 beneficial conversations. Then it’s time for new birth — and the structures will be home to baby animals. “Mole pups slumber, Bees swarm the air, Timid fawns bond, Wee eaglets stare.

Picture Book About Habitats and Ecosystems
One Small Square: Woods
by Donald M. Silver, illustrated by Patricia Wynne
WOODS
One small area at a time, observe the woodland creatures and their habitats. It’s text heavy but dense with information. You’ll also find experiments, activities, a field guide, and glossary.


In the Woods
by David Elliott, illustrated by Rob Dunlavey
WOODS
Playful, evocative poems capture the essense of the animals who live in the woods — like Scarlet Tanager, skunk, fisher cat, millipede, and beaver. The bobcat poem begins, “Those tufted ears, the amber eyes, that ambushed second of surprise when the bobcat leaps!” This oversized poetry book is a gorgeous celebration of nature.


Leap Frog
by Jane Clarke, illustrated by Britta Teeckentrup
RAINFOREST
Go on an interactive rainforest adventure with Felix the tree frog. He’s started by the noises the other animal makes but learns about the other animals (turtle, beetle, monkey, snake) some who are friendly but one who isn’t — the snake. You can help scare away the snake by clapping. Then help Felix climb the tree by counting the branches he climbs. Lots of wonderful sound words like “rat-a-tat-tat” and “swish-slither“.


What’s That Noise?
by Naomi Howarth
ARCTIC
A charming adventure in the arctic about a seal named Magnus who is concerned about the rumbling noise he hears. He asks Hare for help — and soon all the friends are trying to figure out the noise. This will give readers an introduction to arctic animals.


If You Take Away the Otter
by Susanna Buhrman-Deever, illustrated by Matthew Trueman
OCEAN
Learn about the biome under the Pacific Ocean where sea otters hunt for food and live in the kelp forests. .But when people hunted sea otters to extinction, it affected the other animals and the kelp. Luckily, with new rules, the otters returned and so did their undersea world.

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt Picture Book About Habitats and Ecosystems
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt
by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
BACKYARD GARDEN
See what’s happening both above and below ground as a little girl and her grandmother work in the garden from the beginning of the spring planting season until autumn gives way to cold snow. It’s an over-sized book with marvelous illustrations and juicy descriptions. “Down in the dirt, water soaks deep. Roots drink it in, and a long-legged spider stilt-walks over the streams.” Beautiful!

Tree of Wonder Picture Book About Habitats and Ecosystems
Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree
by Kate Messner, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani
RAINFOREST
Warm illustrations meet beautiful writing in this new picture book about the warm, wet rainforest. Count along as you learn about rainforest animals and plants. Can you find 6 roaring howler monkeys, 62 agoutis, and 512 Rusty Wandering Spiders? It’s a beautiful book with just the perfect amount of text to picture ratio.

Picture Book About Habitats and Ecosystems
Wild Zoo Train
by Carmela Lavigna Coyle, illustrated by Steve Gray
INTRODUCTION TO BIOMES
Choo-Choo-CHoo goes the Wild Zoo Train as it picks up it’s passengers for an adventurous ride through different biomes — the canyon, the Amazon jungle, the African savanna, Antarctica, and the Moon! The kids watch for the animals and plants specific for each biome but it’s so playful and fun, little readers won’t know they’re learning a ton. I absolutely adore the author’s use of onomatopoeia throughout — it makes for an exciting read aloud.

Shady Streams, Slippery Salamanders
by Jason Patrick Love, illustrated by Joyce Turley
RIVER
Use this excellent STEM picture book in the classroom to show how scientists in the fieldwork or to teach about ecosystems, erosion, or salamanders. Two boys who love salamanders help scientists with their research in the Appalachian Mountains. It’s a good mix of dialogue, action, and description plus insets of factual information to support.

Learn About Animals books about ecosystems
Walk This Wild World: Lift the Flap
 by Sam Brewster
INTRODUCTION
Starting with the Arctic, visit different ecosystems on each two-page spread. A simple paragraph of text introduces the ecosystem. Lift the flaps to discover animal life information pertinent to each area. For example, in the Sonoran Desert, you’ll read about Pepsis wasps who sting tarantulas. In the Congo, lift the flap to see a bongo antelope and read, “Bongo antelopes tend to stay out of sight among trees.” I particularly like the Hebrides off the coast of Scotland where puffins live (I want to see one in real life so badly!). I can read how puffins make their nests in steep cliffs using seaweed, feathers, and grass. You’ll journey around the world, learning as you read the eighty flaps and information from 11 ecosystems. Track your progress using the large world map at the back. Interactive and informative making this appealing to kids and parents.

ecosystems habitats nonfiction books
Nature’s Patchwork Quilt: Understanding Habitats
by Mary Miche illustrations by Consie Powell
INTRODUCTION
Designed to mimic a patchwork quilt, this beautiful picture book offers habitat information for kids, surrounded by squares and rectangles of animals and plants. You’ll linger on each page, pouring over the detailed pictures, imagining you’re in the habitat yourself. I’m happy to see an age-appropriate non-fiction picture book with limited text. Well done!


Picture Book About Habitats and Ecosystems
On Kiki’s Reef
by Carol L. Malnor, illustrated by Trina L. Hunner
CORAL REEF
Follow Kiki as she hatches, swims out to sea, lives her life on a reef, and eventually lays her own eggs. A colorful underwater picture book adventure with plenty of facts mixed with adventure.

 

Picture Book About Habitats and Ecosystems
The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s Coral Reef
by Kate Messner, illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
AQUATIC – CORAL REEF
Ken loves the coral reefs. One summer, he noticed the corals were losing color and the fish weren’t as abundant so he and his daughter tried to grow more coral colonies. They started a group called The Coral Restoration Foundation. “They hang bits of coral on special underwater trees and lines where the corals can grow.” Guess what!? It worked! Gorgeous illustrations paired with an inspirational true story make this a must-read choice to introduce children to the plight of coral reefs and how one person can make a difference.

 

Picture Book About Habitats and Ecosystems
The Night Flower
by Lara Hawthorne
DESERT
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– if you didn’t already see them. You’ll also find more information about the Saguaro. Excellent, informative writing makes this a great choice for classrooms.

 

Picture Book About Habitats and Ecosystems
One Small Square: Cactus Desert
by Donald M. Silver, illustrated by Patricia Wynne
DESERT
Detailed, gorgeous illustrations draw your eye immediately. Look closely to find tortoises, toads, and lizards. What plants live in this ecosystem? Read about each habitat and do experiments and activities. This is another informative book in the One Small Square series that you can use to teach about ecosystems and habitats.

 

Picture Book About Habitats and Ecosystems
Listen to Our World
by Bill Martin Jr. &  Michel Sampson, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
INTRODUCTION
Listen to the world around you . . . the squawk of the parrots in the kapok tree in the rain forest, the weee-aaa of the eagles in the mountains, the snap of the crocodiles of the marshland. Sweet’s gorgeous artwork exquisitely captures an auditory journey of animals, their habitats, and their sounds.

 

Animal Planet Animal Atlas Picture Book About Habitats and Ecosystems
Animal Planet Animal Atlas

Extra large pages of continents show the biomes and animals who live in each. Subsequent pages feature colorful close-up photographs of animals matched with information about the animal– where it lives, why it lives there, and what it eats. This atlas is SO colorful and well designed, any reader will be drawn to look at the photographs and read it extensively. Impressive!

Hoot and Howl Across the Desert
by Vassilik Tzomaka
DESERT
This oversized book explores some of the driest places on earth from the Antarctica to the Sahara with information located around each two-page spread. The unique neon folk-style illustrations aren’t appealing to me personally but I can appreciate the colorfulness.

The Boreal Forest A Year in the World’s Largest Land Biome
by L.E. Carmichael, illustrated by Josee Bisallion
BOREAL FOREST
Lovely soft illustrations fill this informational book about the planet’s largest land biome located in Canada and northern Asia and Europe. Learn about the species that live in this forest, what it’s like in the different seasons, and how it’s affected by climate change.
good picture books about habitats and ecosystems

You Might Also Like:

The Best (Most Beautiful) Books About Birds
the best children's books about birds

Picture Books About Nocturnal Animals
picture books about nocturnal animals

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *