New Spring Books for Kids About Nature and Animals
Hooray for Birds! by Lucy Cousins (ages 2 – 5)
This is an eye-catching primary color explosion of birds that immediately attracts attention. Add in the text that invites you to flap, soar, stretch, and fly, and it seems like a perfect combination to get kids engaged. I predict your kids will be up and flying around while you read them this appealing picture book gem. “Swoop up and down, swoop round and round.” FUN!
NOPE! A Tale of First Flight by Drew Sheneman (ages 3 – 5)
For any kid who has been afraid to try something, this book shows in hilarious and sweet illustrations (with almost no text) the bird’s fear of flying out of the next (think alligators and cats), his mama giving him a swift kick out, and his joyful exuberance of flying. Sheneman masterfully illustrates a wide emotional range in this lesson about facing your fears and trying something new.
Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson (ages 2 – 5)
By the same author of Tap the Magic Tree and Touch the Brightest Star, you’ll get to use your imagination as you read and touch, rub, press, shake, clap and more to help plant a garden. All the seeds need are water, rain, and sunshine to grow and you get to help.
Rain by Sam Usher (ages 4 – 8)
Sam is an imaginative boy who is stuck inside with his granddad during a rain storm. Sam wants to splash in puddles, voyage with sea monsters, and visit a floating city. But does the rain stop? No. Until it does and Sam’s wait was worth it. Nice use of repetitive structure with a life lesson on patience.
How Many Baby Animals by Guido Van Genechten (ages 2 – 5)
Spring is when the baby animals are born. How many sheep will mama sheep have? Turn the mini-page and find out. Or how about mama cat or mama chicken? I prefer text that included actual counting to prompt kids but hopefully kids will pause, count, and then read the words. “Shhhhh. Mama Mouse gave birth to eleven wee mice! // They love sleeping together. Isn’t that nice?” It is always fun to lift the flap and discover a surprise, making this a fun reading choice for children to practice counting and animal words.
Shell Beak Tusk: Shared Traits and the Wonders of Adaptation by Bridget Heos (ages 6 – 9)
Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal (ages 4 – 8)
Wake Up! by Helen Frost, photos by Rick Lieder (ages 4 – 8)
Animal Ark Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures by Kwame Alexander, photos by Joel Sartore (ages 4 – 8)
I immediately thought of so many classroom applications for this gorgeous photographic poetry book about animals. Alexander writes about each animal or animal grouping in evocative haikus with jaw-dropping photographs taken by Joel Sartore. For a dramatically angled fruit bat on a black background, Alexnder writes “wings like a cape / ready for flight / into the sweet, dark night” then later “a hundred feet / walking without a sound / one direction” is the text describing a gigantic 2-page photograph of an Asian millipede. Teachers, can you imagine using the photos as writing prompts for students’ own haikus? And how this could spark discussion and research on the animals shown?!
Anywhere Farm by Phyllis Root, illustrated by G. Brian Karas (ages 4 – 8)
Bee and Me by Alison Jay (ages 4 – 8)