The Center for Children's Books

Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Mother Nature - May 2007

Selected and annotated by Kyla Waltermire

Arnold, Katya. Elephants Can Paint Too! Schwartz/Atheneum, 2005. 4-8 yrs.
One teacher with two very different classrooms shows the similarities and differences between elephants and children through painting.

Arnosky, Jim. Long Spikes. Clarion, 1992. Gr. 5-8
A realistic, fact-based story of a male deer as he learns to survive on his own after his mother’s death.

Avi. The End of the Beginning: Being the Adventures of a Small Snail (And an Even Smaller Ant); illus. by Tricia Tusa. Harcourt, 2004. Gr. 3-5
Reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh, join Avon the snail and Edward the ant as they travel to the end of a tree branch.

Bowen, Betsy. Antler, Bear, Canoe: A Northwoods Alphabet Year. Joy Street/Little, 1991. Gr. 1-3
Travel through a year and the alphabet word-by-word in Minnesota, escorted by woodcut imagery and explanative captions.

Bunting, Eve. Night Tree; illus. by Ted Rand. Harcourt, 1991. 5-8 yrs.
The story of a family who decorates their Christmas tree for forest animals; an Earth-friendly alternative holiday tale.

Curtis, Patricia. Animals and the New Zoos. Lodestar, 1991. Gr. 4-7
Readers learn about new ways of making zoos animal-friendly, including five habitat types and “things to look for and questions to ask” during your next zoo visit.

Ehrlich, Fred. Does a Mouse Have a Mommy?; illus. by Emily Bolam. Blue Apple/Handprint, 2004. 3-6 yrs.
— Does a Duck Have a Daddy?; illus. by Emily Bolam. Blue Apple/Handprint, 2004. 3-6 yrs.
Beginning with animals that are least like humans and moving to those more and more like us, these books travel through the animal kingdom to explore parenting roles from snakes and turtles to human beings.

Elkington, John. Going Green: A Kid’s Handbook to Saving the Planet; by John Elkington and others; illus. by Tony Ross. Tilden/Puffin, 1990. Gr. 3-6
Full of amazing facts and colorful illustrations, this handbook provides plenty of information on environmental hazards, habit analysis, and an A-to-Z list of tips, ideas, and inspiration.

Florian, Douglas. Zoo’s Who. Harcourt, 2005. Gr. 2-4
Mixed-media illustrations and interestingly formatted poems introduce readers to a variety of familiar and not-so-familiar animals.

Gilders, Michelle. The Kids’ Guide to Zoo Animals. Red Deer, 2004. Gr. 3-8
Color-coded and organized by phylum and class (don’t worry; there’s an index too!), 200 animals from anemones to humans are included in this great reference tool.

Hiaasen, Carl. Hoot. Knopf, 2002. Gr. 6-9
This oftentimes humorous story of the new kid in town and his quirky friends shows how anyone, no matter how big or small they are, can make a stand and save the environment.

Horowitz, Ruth. Big Surprise in the Bug Tank; illus. by Joan Holub. Dial, 2005. Gr. 1-3
Wacky illustrations of loveable cockroaches and a silly plot of two boys trying to get rid of their cockroach pets’ babies provide an amusing look at some of nature’s most underappreciated insects.

Jenkins, Steve. Actual Size. Houghton, 2004. Gr. 3-7
A wonderful work that shows just how big—or small—nature’s creatures are!

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.
Illustrated with textured images of animals in their habitats, this book is a Where’s Waldo? for the animal kingdom.

Leslie, Clare Walker. Nature All Year Long. Greenwillow, 1991. Gr. 2-4
Complete with fun facts, colorful illustrations, a section on each month of the year, and projects to enjoy, this book teaches readers about changing seasons and the adaptability of nature.

Lewin, Ted. Top to Bottom Down Under; written and illus. by Ted and Betsy Lewin. HarperCollins, 2005. Gr. 3-6
Travel to Australia with the Lewins to meet the animals of the land down under through a series of (mis)adventures.

MacGovern, Ann. Swimming with Sea Lions and Other Adventures in the Galapagos Islands. Scholastic, 1992. Gr. 3-5
Written in diary form, the short stories and colorful photographs introduce readers to the interesting creatures found only at the Galapagos Islands.

Martin, Jr., Bill. Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?; illus. by Eric Carle. Holt, 1991. 2-5 yrs.
Eric Carle’s ever-delightful illustrations vibrantly visualize the creatures in this story. A great read-aloud, interactive book!

Meyers, Susan. This Is the Way a Baby Rides; illus. by Hiroe Nakata. Abrams, 2005. 2-4 yrs.
Simple watercolor pictures and side-by-side imagery of human and animal babies, along with action-filled descriptions, make this a good book to act out—no matter what species you are!

Parnall, Peter. Marsh Cat. Macmillan, 1991. Gr. 5-8
Cat learned a long time ago how to live in the marsh, but how does he fare with domestication and life in a barn?

Prelutsky, Jack. If Not for the Cat; illus. by Ted Rand. Greenwillow, 2004. Gr. 3-6
The simplicity of the haiku and beautiful pictures primarily done in ink and watercolors give life and elegance to this collection.

Richardson, Justin. And Tango Makes Three; by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell; illus. by Henry Cole. Simon, 2005. 5-8 yrs.
A heartwarming story with endearing pictures, the true story of these three chinstrap penguins is sure to make you go “Aww!”

Schlein, Miriam. Squirrel Watching; illus. with photographs by Marjorie Pillar. HarperCollins, 1992. Gr. 2-5
An easy-to-read work with black-and-white photographs, Squirrel Watching covers all kinds of fun facts about squirrels.

Seltzer, Meyer. Here Comes the Recycling Truck. Whitman, 1992. 4-8 yrs.
A straightforward account of how recyclables are picked up and what happens to them when they drive away.

Urbigkit, Cat. Brave Dogs, Gentle Dogs: How They Guard Sheep. Boyds Mills, 2005. Gr. 2-4
Provides a unique look at shepherding dogs, from the time they meet their first sheep to their first day “on the job.”

Wood, Audrey. Ten Little Fish; illus. by Bruce Wood. Blue Sky/Scholastic, 2004. 2-5 yrs.
This colorfully illustrated counting book, with settings and characters reminiscent of Finding Nemo, will encourage children to shout out the next number while enjoying whimsical rhymes.