Category Archives: Animal

One Happy Tiger

One Happy Tiger
by Catherine Rayner
Tiger Tales, 2017

A hard-bound, toddler-proof, beautifully illustrated counting book featuring a happy-to-be-alive tiger.  It’s so perfect, your toddler will want to carry it around and read it again and again.

The book begins with “One sad tiger sitting alone.”  Then the tiger meets two friends, “One thoughtful tiger and two bright bugs.”  As the tiger meets new friends or explores new items, we explore his feelings as we count to ten.  Award-winning artist Catherine Rayner’s illustrations capture the heart.  They are simple, relaxing on the eyes, and somehow exquisite. The tiger is friendly-looking and happy to meet and greet the world.  The book gently introduces insects, birds, feelings, and numbers.

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Little Wolf’s First Howling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Little Wolf’s First Howling

By Laura McGee Kvasnosky, illustrated by Kate Harvey McGee
Candlewick Press, 2017

It’s Little Wolf’s first night to howl, he can’t wait!  When Little Wolf, asks, “Can I howl now?”  Big Wolf suggests he listen to a demonstration.  So thrilled, Little Wolf takes a deep breath, lifts his muzzle and howls.  Little Wolf tries again, adding his own flavor to the howl, but Father says.  “It is not proper howling form.” Even though he knows it’s not proper form, Little Wolf lets loose with his own howl.  Although it is not correct, Big Wolf’s tail wags and ears twitch and he joins in with a howl like Little Wolf’s.

An endearing story of being patient when teaching a child new skills.  Filled with onomatopoeia, children will love the sounds and love the warm illustrations set in Yellowstone Park.

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There, There

There, There
by Tim Beiser, illustrated by Bill Slavin
Tundra Books, 2017

As half the work of a picture book is the illustrations, this book’s textured, rich acrylic pictures, kept me turning the pages, again and again.  I was not familiar with Bill Slavin‘s books, but I’m reading them now.  A Canadian artist, he’s won numerous awards.

The text, written in well-done rhyme also pulled me in.  The story features a whiney rabbit who complains of just about everything, and a patient bear who accepts his friend’s quirks up to a point.  Tired of all his complaining, he marches his friend out and show’s him an earthworm who spends all his time in dirt, has no arms or legs and gets happy when he mistakes his own rear end for a friend!  Fortunately, rabbit gets it, and suddenly the day turns warm.  But the worm, tossed into the dirt was insulted!  The story ends on a humorous note in perfect rhyme.

A fresh story with a good lesson.

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The Skydiving Beavers, A True Tale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Skydiving Beavers, A True Tale
by Susan Wood, illustrated by Gysbert van Frankenhuysen
Sleeping Bear Press, 2017

A recounting of a true story that happened in 1948 in McCall, Idaho, when, after the war, people and houses were taking over the beaver’s territory.  It soon became apparent that beavers and people don’t mix well when dammed water flooded roads and land for food became land for houses.  Elmo Heter, a staff person for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, decided they needed to move the beavers to some open land, many miles away.  But how? After many ideas and several practice parachute jumps with Geronimo, a senior beaver, Elmo had a plan.  That fall they successfully moved a beaver colony to an open area.

Well-written, well-paced out, and written in a friendly voice, this is a delight to read.

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Sea Otter Heroes, The Predators that Saved an Ecosystem

Sea Otter Heroes, The Predators that Saved an Ecosystem
by Patricia Newman
Millbrook Press, 2017

Why is the Elkhorn Slough, an estuary, where freshwater mixes with ocean water, contain abundant meadows of seagrass, whereas nearly every other estuary on the Pacific coast does not?  This book tells the story of a scientist who wondered why and studied the phenomenon until he knew.

With generous photos, charts, graphs, and ‘clues’, author Patricia Newman keeps readers curious and turning the pages, while she discusses each hypothesis the scientist made and discarded during his research. In clear, age-appropriate language, Newman invites readers to do their own thinking.  She shows them how much it works to reach the “aha” moment and how much more meticulous work it takes to prove a hypothesis.  The book discusses how the findings are applied to other environments.  It also includes a section that invites readers to rethink their relationship with wildlife.   Sea Otter Heroes is an excellent introduction to science, scientific method, and environmental studies.  The science was performed off Monterey Bay, California.

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Out of School and Into Nature, The Anna Comstock Story

Out of School and Into Nature, The Anna Comstock Story
by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Jessica Lanan
Sleeping Bear Press, 2017

A delightful introduction to Anna Comstock, a naturalist and artist, who became a scientist in the 1800’s, well before women were allowed to do so.  From a very young girl, she loved being in nature and learned many things through observation.  At college, she learned more about insects and was inspired to draw them.  Which led to her carving lines into a woodblock and printing them.  Her fine art were used in colleges and to help teach farmers about insects.  Author Suzanne Slade sprinkles delightful phrases throughout the story, such as “nutty as an oak tree” and “spread faster than dandelion seeds on a windy day.”  When Anna discovered nature was not taught in the schools, she created curriculums and taught teachers about nature.  In this way, she helped inspire future naturalists, today’s environmentalists.

An inspiring nature book for young children.

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Priscilla Gorilla

Priscilla Gorilla
by Barbara Bottner, illustrated by Michael Emberley
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017

This brilliant, well-rounded story has it all: an impishly, strong girl who knows her gorilla facts, a creative spirit who lives what she believes, and someone who spends a lot of time in the Thinking Corner!

Priscilla has her dad read All About Gorillas—about a million skillion times! Believing that gorillas always get their way, each moment of each day she thinks, dances, draws, and writes about gorillas. While this works well when the class is invited to wear costumes of their favorite animal, it doesn’t work so well on photo day, and she is sent to the Thinking Corner.  Within a couple days the Thinking Corner becomes crowded!  Her dad reminds Priscilla that Gorillas cooperate.  When Priscilla declares she is a troublemaker gorilla, her dad questions that maybe she could be another animal—like a skunk.  Priscilla reviews her book and tells her teacher her book says “even gorillas don’t always get their way.”  The story ends with a trip to the Ape House and a whole bunch of dancing.

Patient parents and a generous, yet firm, teacher, help gently guide Priscilla into re-thinking her gorilla qualities and Priscilla decides there is more than one kind of gorilla!  A lot of learning going on in this story, including many facts about gorillas.

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A Perfect Day

A Perfect Day
by Lane Smith
Roaring Book Press, 2017

A perfect day means different things to different creatures, but what happens when it means the same thing?

The cat enjoys the sun in the flower bed, the dog enjoys a water’s coolness in a wading pool, the Chickadee enjoys the seeds in a bird feeder, and the squirrel enjoys an ear of corn…..until bear arrives!  It was a perfect day for squirrel, Chickadee, dog and cat and now it’s a perfect day for bear.

With richly textured, whimsical paintings showing the emotions of each creature, the young reader knows exactly what is happening when each creature enjoys their perfect day and when it is taken away. It tugs at the heart, but life is what it is.  Somehow the story is comforting.

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Dogs at War, Military Canine Heroes


Dogs at War, Military Canine Heroes

by Connie Goldsmith
Twenty-First Century Books, 2017

Geared for junior high and high school readers, Dogs at War contains dozens of war dog stories, as well as how dogs are selected and trained, how they use their nose, and how they are adopted when retired.

Beginning with one of the first dog handler teams used in Iraq, the book includes stories from wartimes since World War I.  The book also explores evidence that dogs were used in early Egyptian, Greek and Roman battles.  Early war dogs fought in battle, carried supplies, pulled carts and guarded camps.  Today’s war dogs sniff out weapons, explosives and bomb-making chemicals. Readers will learn how the dog’s nose compares to a human nose and how a dog’s nose works to sniff out even faint odors.  They estimate each dog saves 200-250 lives.

The book shares the close bonds formed between the dog and its handler. Generous quotes, stories, and photos from dog handlers, trainers, and veterinarians make this a riveting book, difficult to put down.

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Spunky Little Monkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spunky Little Monkey
Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson, illustrated by Brian Won
Scholastic Press, 2017

Bill Martin Jr (of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?) does it again with a new interactive book for spunky toddlers.  Spunky Little Monkey is all about rhythm and rhyme, exercise and fun, and getting the body started in the morning.

Little Monkey has difficulty waking and the doctor prescribes exercise:
Rutabaga, Rutabaga
Sis! Boom! Bah!
POP UP, Monkey!
Rah! Rah! RAH!

Through a rhythmic, energetic, dancing song, monkey finds the rhythm in his head, then he finds the rhythm in his hands, then his feet and his hips.  When he puts them all together, he feels much better.  He gathers together his friends and off they go to play.  Perfect book to learn body parts and run off steam. Brian Won illustrates monkey action in a toned down rainbow palette, showing lots of actions; although most kids readers will be dancing, not enjoying the art work!

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