The Center for Children's Books

Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Big Backyard - May 2007

Selected and annotated by Amy Brokaw

Whether you are going camping, hiking, or just spending time in the outdoors, take time to read a few of these books to learn more about the animals hidden in your big backyard.

Cowley, Joy. Chameleon, Chameleon. illus. with photographs by Nic Bishop. Scholastic, 2005. Gr. 1-3.
A brightly colored chameleon journeys through the forest meeting geckos, scorpions, and other chameleons before finding a crunchy lunch.

Cronin, Doreen. Diary of a Spider. illus. by Harry Bliss. Cotler/HarperCollins, 2005. Gr. 2-4.
A young spider journals his activities as he interacts with family, friends, and humans.

Gleitzman, Morris. Toad Heaven. Random House, 2005. Gr. 4-6.
Limpy the toad is from down-under, and he is ready to make a paradise where all toads can live hazard-free.

Jenkins, Steve. I See a Kookaburra! Discovering Animal Habitats around the World. written by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page, illus. by Steve Jenkins. Houghton, 2005. 4-8 yrs.
A game of hide and seek within the pages of a book as readers search through the cut-paste images to find animals hidden in their habitats.

Manning, Mick. Yuck! Illus. by Brita Granstrom. Lincoln, 2005. 2-5 yrs.
Creatively examines all the yucky, gross foods baby animals eat until reaching the yummy warm milk for a human baby.

Micucci, Charles. The Life and Times of the Ants, written and illus. by Charles Micucci. Houghton, 2003. Gr. 2-5.
This illustrated guide details how ants work, where they live, and how they interact.

Murphy, Mary. I Kissed the Baby! written and illus. by Mary Murphy. Candlewich, 2003. 1-3 yrs.
Black, white, and neon colors add a fun edge to this story about singing, tickling, and kissing the baby duckling.

O Flatharta, Antoine. Hurry and the Monarch. Illus. by Meilo So. Knopf, 2005. 5-8 yrs.
A garden tortoise is intrigued by the adventures of a monarch butterfly as she migrates between Canada and Mexico.

Rohmann, Eric. Clara and Asha. written and illus. by Eric Rohmann. Roaring Brook, 2005. 4-6 yrs.
Imagination at work, Clara daydreams about her adventures with the fish she met at the park.

Ruddell, Deborah. Today at the Bluebird Café: A Branchful of Birds. illus. by Joan Rankin. McElderry, 2006. Gr. 3-5.
From loons to cockatoos, twenty-two poems flutter through the pages to whimsically illustrate the witty characteristics of all sorts of birds.

Rylant, Cynthia. The Journey: Stories of Migration. illus. by Lambert Davis. Blue Sky/Scholastic, 2006. 6-8 yrs.
A non-fiction source, the story tells the adventures of several creatures (such as terns, monarchs, and locusts) as they migrate to warmer climates and new habitats.

Singer, Marilyn. Fireflies and Midnight. illus. by Ken Robbins. Atheneum, 2003. 6-9 yrs.
Cheerful poems about animals intertwine to take readers through a hazy summer day in the great outdoors.

Smith, Sherri L. Sparrow. Delacorte, 2006. Gr. 7-10.
A young teen, Kendall, seeks to find family and a home while caring for those around her and overcoming obstacles standing in her way.

Stern, Ellen. I Saw a Bullfrog, written and illus. by Ellen Stern. Random House, 2003. 4-7 yrs.
Eleven poems explore the oxymoronic word combinations of common animals such as catfish and cowbirds.

Stewart, Sharon. Raven Quest. Carolhoda, 2005. Gr. 5-9.
In epic fashion, Tok, a raven, must complete a treacherous quest in order to unite wolves and ravens.