Posted in Intermediate, Non-Fiction, picture books

Earth Day: Loving the Animals!

Earth Day is tomorrow, but I’ve got books and books to talk about! Let’s love the animals we share the planet with, shall we?

Masters of Disguise: Camouflaging Creatures & Magnificent Mimics, by Marc Martin, (March 2021, Candlewick Studio), $18.99, ISBN: 9781536214055

Ages 4-8

Animals love to play hide and seek in the wild: it keeps them safe! Masters of Disguise profiles twelve different animals, from Gaboon Vipers in Africa to the Great Horned Owl in North and South America, to the Panther Chameleon in Madagascar. Gorgeous watercolor, pencil, and digital collage artwork invites readers to look for animals in their habitats, and profiles on each animal spotlights their uniqueness: polar bear paws and colorless coats; African leopard rosettes on their lush coats, the mimic octopus’s list of impersonations. Fun facts and inviting artwork make this a wonderful invitation to learn more about the animals in their habitats; endpapers spotlight a world map with the animals noted across their locations.

Masters of Disguise has a starred review from Kirkus.

 

Reptiles Everywhere, by Camilla de la Bedoyere/Illustrated by Britta Teckentrup, (April 2021, Big Picture Press), $16.99, ISBN: 9781536217070

Ages 6-9

Reptile fans, get ready! Britta Teckentrup – one of my favorite illustrators! – brings her talents to this great primer on reptiles. Zoologist Camilla de la Bedoyere writes a very readable, interactive book for animals fans, inviting readers to pick the dinosaurs out of a reptile lineup; view a reptile timeline; learn about reptiles in different habitats, and watch a group of baby leatherback turtles race for the ocean. Digital artwork is colorful, and fun facts make each page compulsively readable. Readers will be excited to look for more books on new favorite lizards, like the Komodo Dragon or the Gila Monster, when finishing this one.

Orangutan Hats and Other Tools Animals Use, by Richard Haynes/Illustrated by Stephanie Laberis, (April 2021, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536200935
Ages 7-10
Animals: they’re just like us, right? Yes! This light-hearted book is all about the tools animals use: floss like a macaque, apply sunscreen like an elephant, wield a shield like a hermit crab. Organized into six sections, readers can learn what animals do to stay clean, healthy, and safe; how they create tools to hunt and eat, how they seek comfort, and tools to help them have fun! Cartoon illustrations will make readers giggle as they see a capuchin monkey stick a piece of grass up its nose to clean it out, or watch a crow drop a rock on a cat that’s getting too close for comfort. A smart look at animal ingenuity that kids will return to. Endpapers show a forest landscape on a sunny day and a rainy day; back matter includes a glossary, bibliography, and index. Publisher Candlewick offers a Teacher Tip Card to prompt discussion.
Orangutan Hats and Other Tools Animals Use has a starred review from Kirkus.
And, coming soon…
The Elephants Come Home: A True Story of Seven Elephants, Two People, and One Extraordinary Friendship, by Kim Tomsic/Illustrated by Hadley Hooper, (May 2021, Chronicle Books), $18.99, ISBN: 9781452127835
Ages 3-5
While it’s not out until May, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this moving story about a man who took a group of frightened, hunted elephants into his home. Conservationist Lawrence Anthony, his wife, Françoise, and their dog, Max, accepted a group of elephant to live at their Thula Thula game preserve in Africa. The elephants were bullied and hunted, and were raging at rangers at their last location. For this group of 7 elephants, Thula Thula was their last chance: if they didn’t go to Thula Thula, they would have been shot. Lawrence accepted the elephants; he and Françoise understood their fear and their anger, and gently, slowly gained their trust. When Lawrence died in 2012, the elephants came from where they’d been living, about 12 hours away, and mourned Lawrence along with Françoise. They return every year. Told simply and with genuine feeling, this beautiful story will pull at your heartstrings; Hadley Hooper’s mixed media artwork has touching moments set against a background of reds and oranges. I can’t say enough about this wonderful book: add this to your storytimes, and talk about empathy, kindness, and being a guardian to our planet and the animals we share it with. Back matter includes an author’s note and list of works cited.
Posted in Early Reader, Non-Fiction, Preschool Reads

Two nonfiction titles get updates ¡en español!

Peachtree Publishing has been rolling out more Spanish-language and bilingual children’s titles. They’ve started translating their Stanley the Hamster series into Spanish this year, and I just received early copies of two of their nonfiction titles, coming in 2021. I’m so excited to talk them up!

Sobre los anfibios: Una guía para niños, by Cathryn Sill/Ilustraciones de John Sill, (Feb. 2021, Peachtree Publishing), $8.99, ISBN: 9781682632307

Ages 4-6

The first up is About Reptiles: A Guide for Children, a 2016 titles by Cathryn Sill and John Sill. Great reading, perfect for pre-k and emerging Kindergarten readers, this book is illustrated in full color, with incredibly detailed pictures of salamanders, frogs, and toads. Each page has a brief sentence in Spanish that introduces readers to different aspects of amphibians: “Los anfibios tienen la piel suave y húmeda” (“Amphibians have smooth, moist skin”); “La mayoría de los anfibios pasa parte de su vida en el agua y parte en la tierra” (“Most amphibians spend part of their lives in water and part on land”). The text goes on to describe how they are born; life cycles; appearance; predators and defense mechanisms; habitat, and eating habits. A word about protecting their habitats is a nice opportunity to talk about the environment and habitat protection. Each page includes the name of a featured amphibian and maps to a numbered series of photos in the back matter, which provides more information for more confident readers, and parents/caregivers/educators who want to provide a deeper dive into a lesson. A glossary, web sources, and additional books provide a nice go-to for readers who want to learn more.

There is a teacher’s guide available via the publisher’s website; it’s currently in English, but I know they are developing materials in Spanish and will update as I learn more.

 

Sobre los reptiles: Una guía para niños, by Cathryn Sill/Ilustraciones de John Sill, (Feb. 2021, Peachtree Publishing), $8.99, ISBN: 9781682632314

Ages 4-6

About Reptiles: A Guide for Children, also by Cathryn Sill and John Sill, provides the same easy text and lifelike animal illustrations. The translation is flawless, and communicates the important, basic properties of reptiles for kids: “Algunos repitles están cubiertos de placas duras como huesos” (“Some reptiles are covered in hard plates like bones”); “Los reptiles tienen las patas cortas o simplemente no tienen patas” (“Reptiles have short legs or simply no legs”); “Se muevan reptando o nadando” (“They move by crawling or swimming”). There’s more to work with here; reptiles can include snakes, tortoises and turtles, lizards, and crocodiles, which can live on land, in water, or move between both. Great, fast facts, easy reading, and further information available makes this series a huge relief for my easy nonfiction collection.

There’s a real need for Spanish-language nonfiction in my library’s community, and these books fit the bill. I love having easy picture book nonfiction available that can be used in a Discovery/STEM club readaloud, a storytime (come on, you know you want to read this along with Jump Frog, Jump!), even using flannels to let readers discover the natural world. With an $8.99 price tag for these softcovers, this is an affordable way to add series nonfiction to my Spanish collection. I’m thrilled that Peachtree is working on expanding their Spanish language collection: there are other bilingual editions at the end of the books, letting readers know what other titles are coming.