Animal books are KING with younger readers. I gush constantly about the NatGeo books, but I’ve just been made aware of Animal Planet’s Animal Bites series: books spotlighting animals from different habitats, like Farm Animals and Wild Animals, and loaded with bite-sized info (see what I did there?), questions for discussion, and yes, outstanding photos.
Each book is organized to guide readers through information about family relationships, animal bodies, ecosystems, play time, conservation, and so much more. Check boxes throughout prompt discussion about whether these animals are friendly or would make good pets (bears, not so much; horses, yes) and discussion questions ask kids to compare themselves with animals: do you like to play games, like a border collie does? We get infographics on featured animals, including geographic location, weight, and height, and to help younger kids form a more solid frame of reference, a comparison to something most of us see every day, from a truck to a computer printer.
I love the emphasis on conservation, particularly in the Wild Animals book. Features on animals that have been saved from the brink of extinction, like the gray wolf, make very real the idea that conservation works when there is awareness.
Each book ends with a quiz, an activity and a craft, and a robust list of resources, a glossary, and an index. Endpapers lead readers in and send them off with a gorgeous photo of an animal.
There are over 200 photos in each book, along with infographics, maps, and informative Quick Bites. Other books in the series include Animal Planet Polar Animals and Animal Planet Ocean Animals.
Further committing to conservation, a portion of the proceeds benefits Animal Planet’s R.O.A.R. (Reach Out. Act. Respond.) campaign that partners with leading animal organization to make the world a better place for domestic and wild animals.
My 4 year old LOVES these books: trying to get them back so I could refer to them for this review was fun (he’s at school right now). Every page is a new discovery, something waiting for him to find and explore. Sometimes, he plays with his animal toys, showing me his horses when I read the section on horses; he’ll show me a lion when I get to a spotlight on lions. If he asks why his shark is missing, I’ll explain that I have to buy him a copy of Ocean Animals. 😉
Kids love animals. Animal Planet books make it easy for you to bring more animals into their lives, and even more importantly, to discuss humane treatment of animals and the importance of conservation of our planet with them. The books are a nice, sturdy softcover, perfect for tucking into your tote bag when you’re traveling (or sneaking your kid’s copy out so you can read it on the way to work), and it’ll hold up to repeated reads.
Animal Planet: Animal Bites – Wild Animals, by Laaren Brown (Animal Planet, June 2016), $12.95, ISBN: 978-1618934147
Animal Planet: Animal Bites – Farm Animals, by Laaren Brown (Animal Planet, June 2016), $12.95, ISBN: 978-1618934130
Recommended for ages 4-8