SubTopic: Spineless Creatures

  Butterflies Fly

by Yvonne Winter

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Animals  : Spineless Creatures

Readers enter the dazzling realms of fifteen species of butterflies pictured in their natural habitats as they view the full-page illustrations and read the whimsical verses describing these insects. The watercolor and gouache close-ups by Karen Lloyd-Jones show the beauty and diversity of these insects that are factually explored in the identification guide at the end of the book. This book provides a visual feast for all ages, exploring a selection of butterflies from various parts of the world, some of which are being threatened by habitat destruction.

        Grades: 2nd to 5th

  The Butterfly Alphabet

by Kjell B. Sandved

PAPERBACK
Animals : Spineless Creatures

The exquisite beauty of wings of butterflies and moths reveal forms of letters of the alphabet created by nature's hand. Having visited more than thirty countries over more than twenty-five years, Sandved found the letters he sought sometimes hiding in an exotic setting, sometimes revealed only under magnification of these insects' wings. A double-sided layout for each letter shows the photographed full-page color close-up pattern of scales forming the letter on the insect's wing, while the opposite page presents the full image and name of the butterfly or moth. The lines of a poem about butterflies weaves through the pages of the alphabet. Information about the life cycle of butterflies and moths as well as each of the photographed insects is appended to the text.

      Grades: Preschool and up

  The Butterfly Alphabet Book

by Brian Cassie and Jerry Pallotta

PAPERBACK
Animals : Spineless Creatures

The beauty and variety of butterflies, resplendent with detailed, colorful, airbrush illustrations, are presented in alphabet style format to young naturalists. Information about their life cycle, as well as descriptions about unusual species such as camouflaged and transparent butterflies, will fascinate young readers.

Reviewed in Nature's Course (November/December 1995) published by CCEL.

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Butterfly House

by Eve Bunting

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Animals  : Spineless Creatures

The narrator recounts how, as a young girl, she saved a larva from a jay and then, with the help of her grandfather, created a colorful butterfly house, a painted garden in a box decorated with pictures of flowers from which butterflies feed the nectar. Over the days she watched the larva transform itself into a chrysalis and later emerge as a Painted Lady butterfly which she released back to nature. Years later when she is much older, the narrator describes how she is visited every spring by butterflies who come to her garden of flowers, the ones she had painted long ago with her grandfather in her butterfly house. This touching, evocative story, illustrated with gouache paintings of the narrator, her grandfather as well as close-ups showing the metamorphosis of the Painted Ladies, is followed by detailed information for creating a house in which to raise a butterfly, including care and feeding instructions.

See also:
Melissa Stewart's A Place for Butterflies

      Grades: Preschool and up

  Compost Critters

by Bianca Lavies

HARDCOVER
Animals : Spineless Creatures
Environmental Themes  : Recycling & Composting

"What are the organisms that turn the food scraps, grass clippings and leaves that you put into your compost pile into dirt? Bianca Lavies shows us these strange looking creatures magnified many times and her marvelous text explains how they do their jobs. . . . The photographs in this book will amaze and captivate children. Here are the critters that specialize in turning yukky garbage waste into rich soil: bacteria and fungi, earthworms, springtails, nematodes, sow bugs, millipedes, mites and snails -- bigger than life." Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (November/December 1998) published by CCEL.

See also:
Mary Appelhof's Worms Eat Our Garbage: Classroom Activities for a Better Environment
Wendy Pfeffer's Wiggling Worms at Work
Tim Magner's Earl The Earthworm Digs for His Life

      Grades: 2nd to 6th

  Horseshoe Crabs and Shorebirds

by Victoria Crenson

HARDCOVER
Animals : Spineless Creatures
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

For many years, hundreds of thousands of horseshoe crabs have made a journey each spring, crawling from the depths of Delaware Bay to the sandy shores to lay their eggs. The millions of green, pearly eggs on the beaches, fed upon by scavengers, are an especially important source of nourishment for starving migrating shorebirds traveling thousands of miles north from the tip of South America to their nesting grounds in the Arctic. This picture book explores an intricate food web as well as the life cycle of creatures that have been on the Earth even before the dinosaurs and whose eggs play a unique, key role in the survival of migrating shorebirds.

See also:
Ruth Horowitz's Crab Moon
Nancy Carol Willis' Red Knot: A Shorebird's Incredible Journey

To learn more about efforts to save horseshoe crabs and shorebirds, visit:

ERDG's Horseshoe Crab Conservation Network
Delaware Audubon's Horseshoe Crab Sanctuary

        Grades: 2nd to 4th

  I Wish I Were a Butterfly

by James Howe

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Animals  : Spineless Creatures

"Butterflies are insects and what better way to introduce the family of insects than with I Wish I Were A Butterfly, a story about a cricket who is so enamored with the beautiful butterfly that he is oblivious of his own fine qualities. . . . Ed Young's beautiful pastel illustrations are full of light, shadow and mystery." Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (November/December 1995) published by CCEL.

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Insectlopedia

by Douglas Florian

HARDCOVER
Animals : Spineless Creatures

"This lighthearted book of poems will delight children of all ages. It humorously describes insects as they go about eating or being eaten or trying not to be eaten. Paintings illustrate camouflage, poison, movement, and life cycles." Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (Fall 1998) published by CCEL.

Twenty-one captivating poems about spiders and insects include: "The Caterpillar", "The Dragonfly", "The Daddy Longlegs", "The Army Ants", "The Inchworm", "The Praying Mantis", "The Black Widow Spider", "The Io Moth", "The Whirligig Beetles", "The Weevils", "The Walkingstick", "The Hornet", "The Treehoppers", "The Mosquitoes", "The Monarch Butterfly", "The Giant Water Bug", "The Termites", "The Crickets", "The Locusts", "The Ticks" and "The Mayfly".

        Grades: 2nd to 6th

  Monarchs

by Kathryn Lasky

PAPERBACK
Animals : Spineless Creatures
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

"On the leaf of a milkweed plant in Maine, a monarch butterfly lays a miniscule egg. Soon a caterpillar hatches, and before long a new butterfly flutters in the breeze. Within its lifetime this tiny monarch will fly more than two thousand miles on a mysterious migration south. On the way it will join millions of other migrating monarchs. At the end of their journey these monarchs will be greeted by people whose lives have been changed by their beauty and mystery. Every year in Pacific Grove, California, the townspeople hold a parade to welcome the butterflies after their arduous flight. And in a small village in Michoacan, Mexico, where millions of wintering butterflies hang from trees, the villagers are replacing logging with tourism to preserve the monarch's fragile habitat. Photographs by Christopher Knight offer a unique view of the life cycle of this fascinating butterfly and into the lives of people touches by its magic." Review in Nature's Course (November/December 1995) published by CCEL.

See also:

Tony Johnstonís Isabel's House of Butterflies
Laurence Pringle's An Extraordinary Life: The Story of a Monarch Butterfly
Bruce Coville's The Prince of Butterflies
Connie Mutherís My Monarch Journal -- an outstanding guide to raising monarchs that also includes a section for parents and teachers.

For more information, visit:
Journey North Ė a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change, including monarch butterflies.
Monarch Watch of the University of Kansas
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
Monarch Lab for monarchs in the classroom.

      Grades: 3rd to 7th

  National Audubon Society First Field Guide: Insects

by Christina Wilsdon

PAPERBACK
Animals : Spineless Creatures
Field Guides & Activity Books 

This excellent field guide with vivid, detailed photographs unfolds the world of insects, spiders and other arthropods of North America to the young naturalist. The guide, which includes a laminated field spotting card, also contains information about poisonous, rare and endangered species as well as a reference section with glossary and resources for further study.

        Grades: 3rd & Up

  An Octopus is Amazing

by Patricia Lauber

PAPERBACK
Animals : Spineless Creatures

A lucid text with simple drawings provides children information about this fascinating creature and shows how an octopus is truly amazing -- its color changing ability, its hunting maneuvers and its own defenses when hunted, based on its unique physical adaptations. The intricate construction of strings of eggs by the female octopus in her den, the problem solving abilities of the octopus in obtaining food, its playfulness with people (including squirting persons that annoy them) will unveil to youngsters the wonders of this animal.

      Grades: Kindergarten to 4th

  Pagoo

by Holling Clancy Holling

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Spineless Creatures

The ocean ecosystem, in particular tide pools, is explored through the adventurous life story of Pagoo, a hermit crab.

"Like most of Holling Clancy Holling's books, Pagoo is a classic, as relevant today as when it was written in 1957. It is a wonderful book to begin teaching about the ocean ecosystem. Holling's water color illustrations are evocative of the watery world they depict." Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (September/October 1994) published by CCEL.

        Grades: 3rd to 9th

  The Snail's Spell

by Joanne Ryder

PAPERBACK
Experience of Nature
Animals  : Spineless Creatures

"Here is a chance to glide through the garden as a snail would, eating bits of lettuce leaf, touching things with feelers, then resting, tucked inside a hard shell for safety. The delightfully detailed illustrations depict the garden from the snail's perspective -- flowers, vegetables, and clods of dirt -- up close." From Bringing the World Alive: A Bibliography of Nature Stories for Children, published by The Orion Society.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Waiting for Wings

by Lois Ehlert

HARDCOVER
Animals : Spineless Creatures
Flora  : Gardening

The beautiful imagery and design of this picture book will enrapture readers of all ages as they follow the life cycle of a butterfly. The metamorphosis of the butterflies begins on small, partial pages where eggs lie hidden on leaves amidst the full spread pages of colorful foliage. Gradually, as the transitions of the stages of the life cycle unfold, the butterflies spread out and travel through the full-page, colorful floral imagery. Information about the anatomy and characteristics of butterflies, butterfly attracting flowers as well as instructions for growing a butterfly garden are also included at the end of the book.

See also:
Melissa Stewart's A Place for Butterflies

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Where Butterflies Grow

by Joanne Ryder

PAPERBACK
Experience of Nature
Animals  : Spineless Creatures

"On the bottom side of a leaf there lies an egg. One day the egg hatches, and the magical life of a butterfly begins. Bright and intricate illustrations draw the reader into the evolution of a butterfly, from hatching egg to caterpillar to cocoon, and finally, a young black swallowtail butterfly." From Bringing the World Alive: A Bibliography of Nature Stories for Children, published by The Orion Society.

"Joanne Ryder has become known for her books that allow a child to enter another world and become another creature in another habitat. Ö At the end of the book, an author's note 'Growing Butterflies in Your Garden' suggests some flowers that you can plant to attract different species of butterflies." Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (November/December 1995) published by CCEL.

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Wonderful Worms

by Linda Glaser

PAPERBACK
Animals : Spineless Creatures
Environmental Themes  : Recycling & Composting

Cross-section illustrations of a garden and the underground burrows of worms complement a simple, engrossing text which introduces children to the world of earthworms and their importance in enriching the soil. A facts section at the end of the book provides interesting supplementary information about the life cycle, physical characteristics and behavior of these creatures.

See also:
Wendy Pfeffer's Wiggling Worms at Work
Tim Magner's Earl The Earthworm Digs for His Life

Recommended in Nature's Course (November/December 1998) published by CCEL.

        Grades: Kindergarten to 3rd

  Yuck: A Big Book of Little Horrors

by Robert Snedden

HARDCOVER
Animals : Spineless Creatures

An amazing exploration using the microscope investigates the world of common household inhabitants and items. Vivid photographs and an informative text, which reveal the magnified world of dust mites, food, pollen, bacteria and other amazing (sometimes "yucky") creatures and objects found in the home environment, will fascinate young readers.

Recommended in Nature's Course (November/December 1998) published by CCEL.

      Grades: Kindergarten to 5th