Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

An animal board book two-fer from Katerina Gorelik

What Do Animals Eat? (Curious Creatures), by Katerina Gorelik, (Nov. 2022, Schiffer Publishing), $9.99, ISBN: 9780764365140

Ages 1-3

Schiffer has been publishing some great board books, and this duo of larger-format board books by Katerina Gorelik, originally published in France (2018), is the latest. What Do Animals Eat? uses high-contrast colorful images to introduce readers to different animals and what they eat: bats and birds, owls and foxes, tigers and wolves, hedgehogs and gorillas, crocodiles and elephants, pelicans, and polar bears. Brief text on how each animal eats and feeds their family is informative and just right for young learners, who will be captivated by the bold illustrations, which have a playful sense of humor. Readers will chuckle at a fox and duck eyeing one another through a hole in an otherwise secure door, and delight in the bustling activity taking place in a tree as different birds feed their young. Exclamations on each page give lend some interactivity to readalouds, letting readers munch on leaves along with a baby elephant, or gulp down a beakful of birds with a pelican. The pages are sturdy and will hold up well in circulation. Great for an animal storytime.

Print some activity sheets from Schiffer’s Resources Hub and have them ready for a post-storytime activity.

 

 

Where Do Animals Live? (Curious Creatures), by Katerina Gorelik, (Nov. 2022, Schiffer Publishing), $9.99, ISBN: 9780764365157

Ages 1-3

Where Do Animals Live shows readers where animals live and how they stay safe: moles and mice; bats and cats; dogs, owls, and squirrels; bees and hedgehogs; bears and penguins; foxes, and wolves all appear in high-contrast, bright illustrations. Readers learn about animal families and how adults protect their young while they search for food. Playful illustrations are appealing: a mole lovingly holds a carrot in her underground burrow, under root vegetables and alongside various bugs in their homes; a hungry cat eyes mice through a crack in the floor, but the mice aren’t worried: they’ve got food stored up, and their little ones are asleep, safe in the knowledge that the cat can’t reach them. Bees buzz alongside friendly spiders and butterflies, landing on flowers and near their hives; a brown bear hibernates, cuddling her cub; they’re warm inside their den while the snow falls outside. Interesting and brief informative text makes this a good readaloud choice that will keep readers engaged. Like What Do Animals Eat?, Where Do Animals Live? was originally published in French in 2018. See more of Katerina Gorelik’s work at her webpage.

Pair these with Creature Features from Big Picture Press for more fun animal facts.

Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Board and Concept Books to keep an eye out for!

I’ve been busily scaling Mount TBR, and wanted to share some up-and-coming books, too! Here are some concept and early childhood books to into your ordering carts now – let’s spend down our book budgets!

One More Try, by Naomi Jones/Illustrated by James Jones, (Aug. 2022, Kane Miller), $14.99, ISBN: 9781684644568

Ages 3-7

While playing one day, Circle sees the squares and hexagons building a tower and really wants to build one, too. Triangle and Rhombus want to play, too, but the group can’t seem to balance as easily as the other shapes do. They work out, they study, but they keep falling down, until Circle gets some inspiration from above and changes his perspective. Naomi Jones creates a sweet story about teamwork and perspective; James Jones creates colorful shapes with cheerful expressions and spindly black arms and legs. The shapes cheer each other on and support one another, delivering a positive message about playing together and helping one another. A cute addition to concept collections and a fun storytime choice.

One More Try lends itself to a fun flannel storytime – cut shapes out of flannel and let your circle time add to the story as you read. There are oodles of shape coloring pages available for free for a post-storytime activity: visit GetColoringPages and MomJunction for some fun choices.

 

My Big Book of Nature Sounds, by Lucie Brunelliere, (Feb. 2023, Twirl Books), $21.99, ISBN: 9782408042165

Ages 0-3

An adorable way to introduce interactivity into your storytimes, My Big Book of Nature Sounds includes over 100 sounds organized into areas like backyards, gardens, forests, beaches and oceans, the mountains, the desert, and the rainforest. Each button maps to an area of the book, noted by a colorful icon at the top left hand of each page. At the press of a button, little ones will delight to hear 6 types of birds; backyard activities, like digging holes or watering plants; a grownup inflating a child’s water wings, and a calming rainforest waterfall. Colorful illustrations show animals and humans enjoying and respecting nature, and illustrations are clearly labeled. Perfect for lapsit exploration or to enhance a nature storytime.

 

Who’s the Most…? A Guess Who Book, by Claudia Bielinsky, (Feb. 2023, Twirl Books), $10.99, ISBN: 9791036353093

Ages 0-3

This adorable seek-and-find book challenges readers to pick animals out of a group based on characteristics: who’s the strongest? The cleanest? The most loving? Readers will look for the featured animal based on clues provided in the text: “Which mouse is all ready, with a shirt, pants, and shoes on? It’s Mikey-he’s the most ready!” The guessing game leads up to a delightful reveal, making this a wonderful readaloud for small lapsits and one-on-one reading and cuddle time. Colorful, kid-friendly cartoon animals are attention-grabbers, and naming the animals assures readers will return to this one as they look forwarding to naming their new friends again and again. A good addition to board book collections.

 

Little Chicks, by Taro Gomi, (Feb. 2023, Chronicle Books), $7.99, ISBN: 9781797218748

Ages 0-3

Three little chicks head off for an adventure in this sweet story by Taro Gomi. After running through a field, escaping a bigger, grumpier bird, and taking a bus ride, the chicks are ready to head back home; the story speaks directly to a toddler’s growing sense of independence, cloaked in the desire to explore within the bounds of safety. Gomi’s colorful artwork is always a delight for the eyes, and some readers may notice that the bus in the story looks similar to another board book favorite character: Elmer the Elephant! Short sentences make for a great move into independent reading for preschoolers. An essential pick for board book collections.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Season’s Reading! Christmas Books for littles!

All the Things Santa Claus Will Never Do, by Ronan Badel/Illustrated by Noé Carlain, (Nov. 2021, Schiffer Books), $14.99, ISBN: 9780764362170

Ages 4-7

I have been holding onto this book for a full year! I received it while I was out sick last year (thanks, COVID), but had so much fun reading it that I wanted to make sure I gave it some love. All the Things Santa Claus Will Never Do is a giggle-worthy read-aloud that tells readers all the things Santa won’t do, like running late delivering toys because he’s stopping at every Christmas Tree to sing “O Christmas Tree”, or unwrapping presents and playing with them. All of these silly little things that Santa would never, ever do lead up to the one biggie – Santa won’t ever forget where his favorite readers live, naturally! Amusing cartoon artwork illustrates each scenario and will have readers laughing along as they come up with their own things that Santa would never do. Endpapers show Santa and one of his reindeer playing a game of tag, chasing one another back and forth. A fun additional Christmas book add to holiday collections.

All the Things Santa Claus Would Never Do is the holiday companion to Badel and Carlain’s All the Things a Teacher Would Never Say.

 

 

The Twelve Cats of Christmas, by Feather Flores/Illustrated by Carrie Liao, (Oct. 2022, Chronicle Books), $15.99, ISBN: 9781452184616

Ages 3-8

This feline-friendly take on the famous Christmas carol is all about cats, and the lovable chaos they bring with them. On the first day of Christmas, there’s a kitten under the tree. From there, it’s all cats: batting bows; laying on the gifts, watching the winter weather, and – naturally – climbing the tree. The cats become more mischievous as the verse progresses, and mixed media artwork plays out the action in hilarious detail. Front endpapers are a wrapping paper design with cats being adorable, swinging on lights and hiding in boxes; back endpapers are torn, with wide-eyed cats, upended boxes, and melting snowflakes. Back matter introduces readers to each of the featured cats by name, likes and dislikes, and favorite Christmas activities. Definitely meant to be read and enjoyed aloud, The Twelve Cats of Christmas is a fun holiday read that works well where there are animal fans.

There are adorable Christmas cat coloring pages all over the Internet! Print out some fun ones and let your littles make their own Twelve Cats of Christmas.

 

 

Crinkle Bells, by Jay Fleck, (Oct. 2022, Chronicle Books), $8.99, ISBN: 9781452181677

Ages 0-3

Set to the tune of Jingle Bells, this touch-and-feel board book lets little fingers make crinkly sounds with special material on each spread. Two jingle bells are too excited to sleep as Christmas gets nearer, but they’re keeping everyone awake! Will they finally be able to fall asleep – and give the ornaments, candles, and candy canes a break – before Christmas morning? Adorable, brightly colored artwork set off against deep green and blue backgrounds and tactile activities on each spread make this a great book for little hands to explore and celebrate. Sing the book as part of a lapsit and get your egg shakers or jingle bells out: this book is too much fun NOT to read aloud.

 

 

 

Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Board Books and Pop-Ups Bonanza!

It’s time for the latest board book bonanza! These books are great for collections and for stocking stuffers: let’s take a look.

The Pop-Up Guide: Animals, by Maud Poulain/Illustrated by Peggy Nille, (Sept. 2022, Twirl Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9791036345166

Ages 3-5

Twirl’s Pop-Up Guides are so much fun for toddlers and preschoolers. The fourth in this series is all about animals and their environments, with spotlights on nine areas: the African Savanna, the forest, the Far North, the rain forest, the backyard, the ocean, the desert, the river and the mountains. A brief factual paragraph gives kids introductory information to each area, and each spread folds out into a 3-D landscape. Animals are clearly labeled, as are environmental objects like pine cones, ice floes, and water lilies. The Pop-Up Guide are great ways to introduce new vocabulary and new ideas, with colorful illustration and sturdy pages that hold up to multiple reads. If you’re putting these into circulation, keep a reference copy on hand for storytimes. Great for a STEM storytime!

Pop-Up Topics: Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures, by Arnaud Roi, (Oct. 2022, Twirl Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9782408037512

Ages 3-5

Twirl has another pop-up series for young learners now! Pop-Up Topics has slightly more informational text and a more refined topic range for growing minds, while keeping the same exciting and eye-catching 3-D pop-ups that exploring fingers enjoy. Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric features includes 10 pop-up spreads on dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures with a short, informational paragraph on each, and at-a-glance statistics like region, size and weight, and time period. Fan favorites like Tyrannosaurus Rex Stegosaurus are here alongside the lesser-known Sarcosuchus, a prehistoric relative to the modern-day crocodile, and flying reptile Quetzalcoatlus. If your budget permits, pick up a back-up copy or two, or keep this in storytime reference; while sturdy, the flaps may not hold up to the beating that dino books take (at least, in my library!).

 

Happy Little Pets: I Take Care of My Puppy, Illustrated by Michael Slack, (Jan. 2023, Chronicle Books), $14.99, ISBN: 9781797205267

Ages 1-4

Happy Little Pets is an adorable new board book series from Chronicle! Combining pet care with learning, the books are a sweet introduction to having a pet. I Take Care of My Puppy has 15 interactive elements that let kids fill the puppy’s bowl, brush their fur, and trace their finger through a walk around the block. Moving parts, bold fonts, and a cheery, expressive puppy will appeal to readers. The final spread invites readers to take care of their own puppy for a week, with sliding panels to check off every day after they feed, walk, play, and take their puppy out for a potty run. It’s a great way to introduce responsibility into a conversation, and for preschoolers who may not have a pet, a chance to try a puppy on for size – accompany with a stuffed animal for a test run! Sliding panels can be a little fiddly with new books, but the pages are sturdy and will hold up.

 

Happy Little Pets: I Take Care of My Kitten, Illustrated by Michael Stack, (Jan. 2023, Chronicle Books), $14.99, ISBN: 9781797205274

Ages 1-4

I Take Care of My Kitten is the companion to I Take Care of My Puppy, with an adorable black and white kitten that readers can name, feed, brush, and pet. There are 15 interactive elements for toddlers and preschoolers to explore, and they can spend a week caring for their own kitten (Can be a toy! Get creative!) and marking off their progress at the end of the book. Kids can learn about the responsibility involved in having a kitten, including cleaning the litter box and helping them find a scratching post to sharpen their claws. Kid-friendly artwork and sturdy panels engage readers from the get-go.

Posted in Toddler Reads

Phoebe Cakes leads a doggie A-B-C in An Alphabet Tail

Phoebe Cakes and Friends: An Alphabet Tail, by Michelle K. Dumont/Illustrated by Jennifer Zoe Taylor, (Sept. 2022, Susan Schadt Press), $14.95, ISBN: 979-8985071306

Ages 2-4

Last week, I posted a list of author Michelle K. Dumont’s favorite dog books for National Dog Week. This week, I’m happy to talk up the adorable lift-the-flap board book she wrote to celebrate her own special needs bulldog, Phoebe Cakes. Phoebe introduces herself in a note at the beginning of the book, guaranteeing that you’ll fall in love with her as quickly as I did. From there, it’s all about the doggos as Phoebe frolics across each spread with a different dog of the alphabet, from Affenpinschers to Irish Setters, Newfoundlands to Zapadno Sibirska Lajkas. Rhyming text and colorful artwork with adorable dogs running, roasting marshmallows, napping, and playing peek-a-book make this perfect dog lovers everywhere. Each letter of the alphabet is set off a large frame, with bold green and pink colors, with each breed running across the top of the page. Lift-the-flaps divulge fun facts about Phoebe. An Alphabet Tail is a very cute abcedary, and will hold up to multiple reads. Dog fans will enjoy learning about new dog breeds and want to hear more about Phoebe.

An Alphabet Tail is the second Phoebe Cakes book, joining A Mardi Gras Tail, which published earlier this year. There are more books planned, and you can follow Phoebe’s adventures on Instagram to keep up with her.

Posted in Toddler Reads

It’s another Board Book Blitz!

Time for more board books!

Tummy Time! A high-contrast fold-out book with mirror for babies, by Mama Makes Books, (March 2022, Red Comet Press), $8.99, ISBN: 9781636550138

Ages 0-1

A two-sided, fold-out board book that’s perfect for infants whether they’re laying on their tummies or during a lapsit. On one side, there is rhyming verse and photos of baby faces; a mirror lets baby see themselves. On the other, high-contrast black and white images with pops of bright primary colors attract baby’s attention. Stiff cardboard allows the book to stand up without tipping over, and the foldout pages allow for caregivers to lay out multiple images for baby to look at. Great for lapsit storytime and baby social time. These are sturdy enough to put into circulation, too!

 

The Trainbow, by Nina Laden, (Aug. 2022, Chronicle Kids), $8.99, ISBN: 9781452176413

Ages 0-3

Another foldout board book! This time, a colorful “trainbow” is rolling down the track, with rhyming text reminiscent of Donald Crews’s classic Freight Train. One side folds out into a color study of the cars on the freight train, all inhabited by colorful cartoon art animals and people. The other side features a cheerful rhyme as the train chugs past a group of well-wishers. Die cut pages fold into a rainbow readers will see from either side of the book. The pages are sturdy and will hold up to circulation and storytimes and will easily stand up for display or tummy time. A very cute collection choice from the author of the Peek-a…. series of die-cut board books, another board book collection staple.

 

Baby Hippo Finger Puppet Book, Illustrated by Yu-Hsuan Huang, (Sept. 2022, Chronicle Kids), $7.99, ISBN: 9781797212876

Ages 0-3

I can’t get enough of these adorable finger puppet books! I love putting them up and around my early reading area so my littlest learners can see and easily reach them. Baby Hippo has an exciting day, splashing in the water and playing with her fellow calves, having some grass to eat, and running back to Mama in time to go to sleep. There’s one sentence on each spread except for the last page; gentle blues and greens make up most of the scenery, making this a good naptime/bedtime lapsit choice. Let your kiddos take turns wiggling their fingers inside of the Baby Hippo puppet as you read, letting them act out the story. I won’t lie – the pages are blocky and study, but that puppet is going to go in little mouths, so give them a wipe down with some soap and water if you can. They are durable enough to hold up in circulation.

 

Baby Lion Finger Puppet Book, Illustrated by Yu-Hsuan Huang, (Sept. 2022, Chronicle Kids), $7.99, ISBN: 9781797212869

Ages 0-3

Set up your own jungle adventure storytime by pairing Baby Lion with Baby Hippo. Baby Lion spends his day playing with friends, nuzzling and getting a bath from Mama, taking a nap, exploring, rejoining his family as the sun starts setting. Oranges and yellows are the main colors here, with greens, blues, and browns joining the natural colors that dominate this story of life on the African Savanna. The Baby Lion finger puppet will easily accommodate a couple of tiny fingers to wiggle around and act out the story. These books are very sturdy and will hold up to multiple readings and in circulation; with all the finger puppet books, my suggestion is to wipe them down; I’ve seen my in-house copies are going in little mouths as toddlers and babies use all of their senses to explore.

 

Mr. Bear’s World of Food, by Virginie Aracil, (Sept. 2022, Twirl Books), $19.99, ISBN: 9791036345173

Ages 2-5

This oversize book has so much to discover! Mr. Bear just loves food, and takes readers on a trip through their taste buds to learn about different types of flavors, including sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami. Each spread introduces a new flavor, showcases foods with those flavors, and a little commentary from Mr. Bear on how each one makes him feel. Salty makes Mr. Bear thirsty; he thinks bitter, like coffee, tastes funny; fried makes him feel warm and toasty. Foods are labeled, expanding vocabularies, and introducing children to all sorts of different food, from endive and radicchio to miso and mushrooms; seasonings like vanilla bean and star anise to rich foods like salmon and whipped cream. A section of Favorite Foods features popular comfort foods – ask readers what they love most! – and Foods to Share encourages readers to share the love. There are lift-the-flaps and pop-ups to further delight readers, and a baguette bookmark assures readers can return to their favorite spreads again and again. Great for a yummy storytime! Originally published in France in 2021, this Mr. Bear book accompanies the three previous titles: Mr. Bear’s ABC, Mr. Bear’s Birthday, and Mr. Bear’s Colors.

 

So Many Kisses!, by Alexandra Garibal/Illustrated by Claudia Bielinksy, (Sept. 2022, Twirl Books), $8.99, ISBN: 9791036348822

Ages 0-3

An adorable board book that’s just perfect for a cuddly lapsit storytime. Adorable animals have a lovefest and show off all the fun ways of showing affection! Do you prefer a nose-to-nose kiss? Maybe a foot-to-foot kiss is more your style. An octopus loves to give tickly kisses, and a porcupine is there to give prickly kisses! Colorful animals and colorful backgrounds engage kids’ attention and different “kissy sounds” give readers a chance to really make this a fun readaloud. Originally published in France in 2021, So Many Kisses! gives readers the opportunity to show their caregivers how they like to be kissed and hugged.

 

Bookscape Board Books: We Love Books!, Illustrated by Ingela P. Arrhenius, (Oct. 2022, Chronicle Books), $8.99, ISBN: 9781797215587

Ages 0-3

Bookscape Board Books pack a little world into each book! We Love Books is all about developing a love of books, showing readers that they can enjoy a book just about anywhere, and maybe even consider writing a book one day. Arrhenius’s bold artwork is eye-catching, and the die cuts work together to create a layered world that reveals more with each turn of a page. Sturdy and absolute fun for exploring hands and minds, the Bookscape series is great for young learners. We Love Books is the fifth in the series and is great for board book collections. See more of Ingela P. Arrhenius’s illustration work on her Instagram.

 

Little Wild Animal Hugs, by Hans Wilhelm/Illustrated by Wednesday Kirwan, (Oct. 2022, Chronicle Kids), $9.99, ISBN: 9781797207186

Ages 1-3

Pair this one up with So Many Kisses! for your cuddly lapsit! Little wild animals love hugging, and this die-cut board book allows readers to mix and match the hugs. When a monkey and a seal hug, they make a Chitter-Chatter, Splish-Splash Hug! A porcupine and a lion make a Prickly-Prickly, Roar-Roar Hug! You can read this in a different way each time, just mix and match your animals any way you please. Die cuts make the animals look like they really do hug, and colorful cartoon art shows affectionate, lovable animal friends sharing affectionate embraces. Perfect for readalouds.

 

TouchWords: Color Cards : Touch and Feel, Illustrated by Rilla Alexander, (Sept. 2022, Chronicle Kids), $14.99, ISBN: 9781797214993

This oversized deck of ten cards is perfect for learning color. The die-cut cards let little hands feel and trace color names and a primary image on each card. Card backs show different shades of the featured color and other items of the same color. Purple is the color of a violet, with accompanying vocabulary words to help kids visualize and identify the world around them: flower / blossom / petals / leaf / stem / wild / delicate. On the back, shades of lilac, violet, and indigo give children additional shades of color, with examples including an iris, an eggplant, and grape jelly. The cards are study and will hold up to exploration; you may lose some in circulation, but keep a set or two handy for your storytime/playgroup collection.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

A love letter to special moments: ALL THAT IS YOU

All That is You, by Alyssa Satin Capucilli/Illustrated Devon Holzwarth, (Aug. 2022, Henry Holt & Co), $18.99, ISBN: 9781627797023

Ages 2-6

The bestselling author of the Biscuit Easy Reader series has a gorgeous picture book that’s all about love and joy. All That You Are features diverse groups of people across generations sharing wonderful moments, from splashing in puddles to sharing meals; from sailing across magical seas to soaring through skies. Blending the everyday with the magical everyday, artist Devon Holzwarth uses vibrant colors and mixed media to bring Capuccilli’s verses to life. Verse reads like an ode to joy at the wonder of connection: “You’re my ‘Gather ’round the table’, / the ‘Make room for one more’, / the share in my together, / the warm hug at the door”; “You’re the wide in my world, / the home in my soon, / the star that found my dream, / the glow of my moon”.

An essential first purchase. This will become a storytime standard. Download an activity kit to share at storytime here.

 

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Good advice for daily living: Don’t Forget

Don’t Forget, by Jane Godwin/Illustrated by Anna Walker, (Aug. 2022, Kane Miller), $14.99, ISBN: 9781684644360

Ages 3-7

A diverse group of children move through the day together as the overall narrative gently reminds readers of important things, both practical and esoteric, to remember in order to live a happy, fulfilling life: “Don’t forget to make your bed, / and wear socks that fit your feet”; “Don’t forget to try new things, / to smell the flowers, / watch the ocean, / and listen to the music / of the trees”. The story is a reminder of the important things in life: taking time to play; to be mindful; to reflect. Soft watercolors add to this gently profound meditation on living a meaningful life. Soothing endpapers show a nature scene. Don’t Forget will soothe readers with its upbeat look at the day-to-day. A nice additional purchase for storytime collections.

 

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Bustletown moves from seasons to times of day

All Around Bustletown: Nighttime, by Rotraut Susanne Berner, (Apr. 2022, Prestel), $12.95, ISBN: 9783791374901

Ages 2-5

Bustletown greeted visitors on American shores in 2019, with the debut of four oversized board books, showing the bustling town (get it?) through the four seasons. The latest Bustletown book shows readers what the town – still bustling! – looks like at night. The wordless seek-and-find book offers seven spreads where readers can see a library sleepover and a cross-section of a home’s residents getting ready to call it a night. Townspeople gather in the park to watch fireworks and a mischievous dog steals a woman’s hat. Familiar characters and locations resurface with yet another point of view, teaching concepts in a fun way. Challenges on the back cover ask readers to look for a nocturnal raccoon, sleeping horses, a neighbor sleeping outside, and more. Each spread reveals new details every time: there are so many things to see! Imaginative readers can look through previous Bustletown stories and tell their own stories about what the neighbors have been doing between each book. Create your own challenges for your readers: see what they’ll find.

Posted in Intermediate, Middle Grade, Non-fiction, Non-Fiction, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Animals, Animals, Animals! Books for everyone!

I’ve got a bunch of great animal books, courtesy of NatGeo Kids, to talk up today, so sit back and start your program and collection planning!

Can’t Get Enough Shark Stuff: Fun Facts, Awesome Info, Cool Games, Silly Jokes, and More!, by National Geographic Kids, (May 2022, National Geographic Kids), $14.99, ISBN: 9781426372582

Ages 7-10

The latest NatGeo Kids offering fits perfectly with the CSLP “Oceans of Possibilities” Summer Reading theme, and it’s a good add to your collections and programming. Filled with fun spreads and facts, quizzes, and experiments, this is part workbook (remind kids that we don’t write in library books!), part STEM/Discovery Club handbook, and part primer on sharks for shark fans. A glossary “Catch and Match” game challenges readers to match terms with their definitions and a “Find Out More” section offers resources for further reading and a list of scientists and researchers who contributed to this volume. Over 250 color photographs show a variety of sharks, many labeled with names. A great resource to create shark-related scavenger hunts, trivia programs, and science projects for the summer and beyond.
Don’t forget that Shark Week starts on July 24th! STEAMsational has some great Shark Week activities that I want to try out with my Queens Kids (my affectionate term for my library kiddos); TeachersPayTeachers has some great freebies, too, including these coloring sheets courtesy of The WOLFe Pack; these Facts vs. Opinion cards from A Classroom for All Seasons would make for fun trivia or debate programs, and Simply Learning Life’s Feed the Shark Counting Game is a quick and fun printable for busy bags.

Critter Chat, by National Geographic Kids, (May 2022, National Geographic Kids), $9.99, ISBN: 9781426371707

Ages 8-12

If animals used social media, it would probably look like this amusing digest from NatGeo Kids. Using imagined screenshots, webpages, and social media accounts like “Llamazon”, “Dolphinstagram”, and “Yowl”, Desert_long-eared_bat reviews the Algerian Desert (5 stars – “…everything I could ever want in a dining establishment! It’s hot, it’s dry, it’s sandy, and it’s packed with scorpions”) and Upside_down_jellyfish posts selfies from the Caribbean Sea. Animals chat to one another via “Critter Chat”, and Animal Influencers spotlight famous animals like Fiona the Hippo, Punxsutawney Phil, and Brigadier Sir Nils Olav, the only penguin who’s also a knight. Hashtags and selfies communicate fun facts about animals, habitats, and more. It’s a fun way to learn little tidbits about animals, and perfect for middle graders to relax with and enjoy. Great for trivia and a side project – ask readers what they think animals would post to social media!

TeachersPayTeachers has fun social media templates that your kids can customize to make their own Critter Chats: here’s one from ZippaDeeZazz, and The Cute Teacher has phone screen layouts.

 

 

Little Kids First Nature Guide: Bugs, by National Geographic Kids, (May 2022, National Geographic Kids), $9.99, ISBN: 9781426371493

Ages 4-8

Great for younger nature fans, the Little Kids First Nature Guide: Bugs introduces little learners to all sorts of bugs. Full-color photos are labeled and accompanied by easy-to-read and understand facts, scientific terms, and diagrams. Spreads on insect life cycles of demonstrate a photo-by-photo, step-by-step explanation, using photos of different bugs. Profiles on ants, bees, beetles, and other bugs give readers a close-up look at different insects, with facts and related (but not the same!) bugs. Fun activities like Hide-and-Seek and Move Like a Bug! encourage readers with extension activities, and a glossary of terms keeps all that new vocabulary on hand. The flexible binding is made of sturdy cardboard and will hold up to many, many nature walks. Fully indexed for easy reference. A fun, informative guide for preschoolers and early school-age kids.

Education.com has fantastic butterfly activities you can download and print for free; ditto for sheets on bugs in general. There are some adorable activities on Pocket of Preschool that you can do on a budget.

 

 

Little Kids First Big Book of Baby Animals, by National Geographic Kids, (March 2022, National Geographic Kids), $14.99, ISBN: 9781426371462

Ages 4-8

The Little Kids NatGeo Kids books are adorable, aren’t they? I’ve got a bunch here at my library, and my now 10-year-old loved them when he was in Pre-K and Kindergarten. (As he’s 10, he is no longer a “little kid”, as he tells me. Often.) The Little Kids First Big Book of Baby Animals contains over 120 pages of squeal-worthy color photos of baby animals with their families. You pull this out and show it to your kids – library or otherwise – and you will have a roomful of little ones in the palm of your hand. And when you tell them things like a panda cub’s cry sounds like a human baby’s cry? Or that a hippo can’t swim yet, so it gallops underwater? They will tell you ALL about their favorite animals, and the cute things that the animals in their lives do, so get ready to have the best, cutest conversations about baby animals. Fun facts and thought-provoking questions run throughout the book, and text is larger in size, making it easier and less dense for younger kids and emerging readers. A map of the world at the end of the book is color coded to show where animals referenced in the book live, and parent tips help caregivers extend the knowledge from the book into the real world. There is a glossary of terms, a list of additional resources, and a full index. Add this book to your animals collections.

123Homeschool4me has some free printables where kids can match baby and adult animals and learn the terms for different baby animals.

 

 

Little Kids First Board Book: Birds, by National Geographic Kids, (March 2022, National Geographic Kids), $7.99, ISBN: 9781426371448

Ages 0-3

I love NatGeo Kids’s First Board books! They’re so bright and cheery, and the photos and activities are perfect for engaging littles during a lapsit storytime. The latest is Birds, and contains 12 spreads with color photos of different birds. Each spread has a simple, one-sentence factual statement and a colorful callout fact about birds, and each picture is labeled with the name of the bird in a colorful box with bold black lettering. Names of birds and key phrases get a nice, colorful font that sets them off from the rest of the text. A final spread invites readers to try different activities to identify six featured birds: “Tap the toucan’s beak. / Flap your arms like the eagle.”

This is the seventh Little Kids First Board Book. It’s a great series for beginning learners, with sturdy cardboard to hold up to many circs and readings. NatGeo Kids has a birds website where learners can watch videos, see maps, and learn facts about 24 different birds, presented in alphabetical order. Also check out their Strange Birds website for photos of more feathered friends.

Happy Hooligans has a great list of 25 bird crafts for little ones that are easy on easily done on a budget.

 

National Geographic Readers: Mythical Beasts: 100 Fun Facts About Real Animals and the Myths They Inspire, by National Geographic Kids, (Jan. 2022, National Geographics Kids), $4.99, ISBN: 9781426338939

Ages 7-10

Unicorns, dragons, and krakens all have one thing in common: they’re mythical creatures with origins in very real history. NatGeo Kids’s Mythical Beasts is a Level 3 Reader, good for most readers ages 7-10, that provides 100 facts on real animals and the myths they’ve inspired or are named for. A helpful key to NatGeoKids’s leveling system is right on the back cover, and I like using the 5-finger rule for choosing a book when I do my Readers Advisory. The book is organized into 3 chapters and two 25 Facts spreads that give readers the roundup on history’s mysteries: mermaids were most likely manatees, who have fishy tales but can turn their heads from side to side like humans; the giant Kraken was most likely a giant squid. Using research and the fossil record, color photos and illustrations, NatGeo Kids author Stephanie Warren Drimmer takes kids through the process of figuring out why ancient people mistook a distant ancestor of the elephant was mistaken for a cyclops, and how dinosaur fossils led folks to believe that they discovered proof of dragons. We get some modern-day mythical behavior, too: the basilisk lizard can run across water, and adult jellyfish can age in reverse and regrow into adults again, like the phoenix’s power to be reborn (sans ashes, though). The back matter rounds up all 100 facts across a spread (and makes for great trivia questions).

Fun for a STEM/Discovery Club, fun for collections. And you can extend the activity with mythical creature-inspired crafts. Give kids a manatee coloring page and let them create mermaid friends. They can create a giant squid of their own, or try their hands at this fun paper roll squid craft. Make a handprint unicorn and give it a narwhal friend.