Category Archives: Nature

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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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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Things to Do

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Things to Do

by Elaine Magliaro, illustrated by Catia Chien
Chronicle Books, 2017

An unassuming book that opens nature’s world to readers.  Readers gently explore things to do if you are dawn, a bird, a honeybee, or even a snail.  Written in a poetic voice, each section begins with “Things to do if you are..” Each section explores the subject, enlightening it with descriptors, some known by readers, some new to readers.  The book invites readers to ponder the descriptions and experience them for themselves.  Loose paintings rendered in acrylic, further invite readers into the story.  The day ends with crickets and the moon that “Hang(s) in the darkness,” and “Dazzle(s) the night.”

A quiet book that brings awareness to, explores, and expands in detail the many things in a child’s day.

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Wake Up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Wake Up!

by Helen Frost, illustrated by Rick Lieder
Candlewick Press, 2017

Through a gentle poem, reader’s eyes can savor photos of nature’s birds, insects, and animals. Creatures shown are so close, readers may feel like they can reach out and touch each one.  The yellow duckling looks right into their eyes, some may want to screech at the croaking frogs, and they may hold their breath at the sight of a newborn fawn.  A wonderful introduction to nature.

The afterward provides additional information on each creature featured, to invite conversations on their favorites.  A book that inspires curiosity about learning more.

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Round

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Round

by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017

Nature poet Joyce Sidman takes the shape “round” and shares about round shapes abundant in nature.  From round oranges, to round seeds that grow, or turtle eggs being buried to later hatch.  Each page is a nature lesson.  Each page gives young readers things to think about. “Some swell into roundness” (mushrooms)….”stretching toward the sun” (sunflowers). Some start in a different shape, but become round when all sharp edges wear off (rocks in oceans).  Some are hidden (rings in a tree stump), some last only a moment (bubbles). A wonderful way to share a shape and explore many aspects of nature.

Gentle, nurturing, yet sciency-exciting.

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Pond

pond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pond
by Jim LaMarche
Simon and Schuster for Young Readers, 2016

Beautiful, quiet illustrations invite readers into the story as we follow a boy who explores an empty terrain.  He comes upon water bubbling up and has an idea.  He recruits his friends Matt and Kate and the three clean up the land, block off the water and form a pond.  They fix up an old boat, learn about wildlife and minerals when Kate brings out her books.  To celebrate summer’s end, they camp out, to celebrate fall they watch bird migrations, and in winter they ice skate.  In spring they climb the nearby hills and discover the ponds true shape—and understand their passion for the pond.  Illustrations in acrylics, colored pencils and inks bring a rich outdoor experience into the reader’s heart.

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Giant Squid

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Giant Squid

by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann
Neal Porter Book, 2016

The giant squid is an animal rarely seen and how it lives and survives is mostly unknown.  In this book, writer and illustrator work together to shroud the giant squid in its mystery, so much so that the story appears on the first five pages before readers reach the title page and all readers see are bits of the squid, just as in real life.  Each part of the squid is described in detail and slowly, ever so slowly we see each part until we reach the eye, which boldly takes up one whole page spread.  Readers learn babies are two inches long and hatch from eggs, but no one knows where the female squid lays them.  The story ends with a spectacular four page fold-out featuring the squid, then on the next page it’s gone.  Masterly written and masterly illustrated in tune with the creature itself.  A brilliant book.

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One North Star, A Counting Book

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One North Star, A Counting Book

by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Beckie Prange and Betsy Bowen
University of Minnesota Press, 2016

One North Star is ever so much more than a ‘counting’ book.  Its wood carvings and rich color illustrations pulled me into this wonderful poetic recounting that explores Minnesota’s North Star country.  We begin in the forest, move into bluffs, marshes, rivers, bogs, and prairies to cover the many terrains.  And in each, we are introduced to animals, birds, insects, and plants found there.  So much to explore.  Yet it is a counting book and in each terrain we enjoy identifying and counting as we learn more about each item featured.  Each page, rich in details, is a beauty to feast upon; one can almost breathe in the smells of each terrain. Fortunately, the book includes a directory of each terrain and each item mentioned, as well as how to find the North Star.

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