SubTopic: Various Classes

  Almost Gone: The World’s Rarest Animals

by Steve Jenkins

PAPERBACK
Animals : Various Classes
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Written and illustrated by Caldecott winner Steve Jenkins, Almost Gone: The World’s Rarest Animals examines twenty-one endangered animals found throughout the world, poignantly highlighting the critically low numbers that remain. Jenkins depicts these rare animals through beautiful cut and torn paper collage artwork. The informative text describes the physical, behavioral and feeding traits, their natural habitats and reasons behind the endangered status of these animals. Readers can learn that the Abington Island Tortoises of the Galapagos Islands were overhunted in the 1800’s to the extent of possibly only one tortoise remaining in the world. Jenkins also includes examples of animals that are now extinct as well as several species that through various efforts have made a comeback to healthier numbers. Describing the extinction of species, Jenkins writes that, although the consequences of the extinction of a species are not fully understood because of the complexity of the web of connections amongst living things, "we do know that something unique has been lost and can never be replaced."

The endangered animals described in this book include: monkey-eating eagle and dwarf water buffalo (Philippines); crested shelduck and baiji or Yangtze River dolphin (China); blue iguana (Grand Cayman Island); northern hairy-nosed wombat, eastern barred bandicoot, giant stick insect and waterfall or torrent frog (Australia); California condor (Southwestern U.S.); addax (Sahara Desert); hispid hare or Assam rabbit (India and Nepal); Miami blue butterfly (Florida, U.S.); Javan rhinoceros (Vietnam and Indonesia); golden lion tamarin (Brazil); Bactrian camel (Mongolia and China); coelacanth (Indian Ocean); Iriomote cat (Japan); Abington Island tortoise (Galapagos Islands); and, northern right whale (Atlantic Ocean). The extinct animals that are cited are: moa, (New Zealand), Stellar sea cow (Bering Strait), Tasmanian wolf (Australia), and Guam flying fox (Mariana Islands). Lastly, the recovering species include: gharial or Indian crocodile (Northern India), whooping crane (North America), and Alpine ibex (Europe).

See also: Alexandra Wright's Will We Miss Them? Endangered Species, and
David McLimans' Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet

        Grades: Kindergarten to 3rd

  Amazon Alphabet

by Martin and Tanis Jordan

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Various Classes

Richly illustrated full-page and double-page images of animals introduce young children both to the letters of the alphabet and the inhabitants of the Amazon. From "Aa is for Agouti eating Brazil nuts", to an Amazon River Dolphin, a harpy Eagle, a tree Frog, a green Iguana, a hyacinth Macaw, an Ocelot, a red-bellied Piranha, a Sloth, an Umbrella bird, to "Zz is for Zorro hidden in the tree" -- the wide and unusual array of different species show the beauty and diversity of the rain forest. A pronunciation guide with extended information about each animal is provided following the text.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  And So They Build

by Bert Kitchen

PAPERBACK
Animals : Various Classes

Illustrated with exquisite, detailed paintings by the author, this book clearly details particular adaptations of amazing structures built by twelve different animals as well as distinctive aspects of the behavior of these architects. The animals described are both exotic and familiar, primarily birds and insects, but also include a harvest mouse, gladiator tree frog, stickleback fish and beavers. Most of these constructions and animal behavior are not familiar to either children or adults and will fascinate readers of all ages.

Recommended in Nature's Course (March/April 1997) published by CCEL.

      Grades: Preschool & Up

  And Then There Was One

by Margaret Facklam

PAPERBACK
Animals : Various Classes
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

In this interesting, informative and well-written survey, Facklam unveils the mysteries of extinction describing the reasons for the disappearance of some species as part of the natural evolutionary process and contrasting the recent increasing rate of extinction due to human intervention, ignorance and carelessness. Citing examples of the disappearance of species due to natural causes, such as earthquakes, volcanoes and, in the case of dinosaurs, possibly an asteroid collision, the author also describes natural selection and adaptations through which other species have survived for millions of years. To demonstrate the impact humans have had on the environment, Facklam examines the role in more recent extinctions of habitat destruction, excessive hunting and trapping, poaching, introduction of non-native species, pollution, DDT and other hazardous waste. In the final chapter, "And Now the Good News", the author ends the book on a positive note describing efforts through legislation and recovery programs to preserve endangered and threatened species from extinction.

Recommended in Nature's Course (November/December 1994) published by CCEL.

      Grades: 3rd to 6th

  Animals Like Us

by Andrea Mills and David Attenborough

HARDCOVER
Animals : Various Classes
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

The ARKive website was created to serve as a virtual "Noah’s Ark" of information about animals and plants throughout the world that are in danger of extinction. Launched by David Attenborough and based in England, this project was conceived to educate the public about the urgent need to protect and conserve endangered species and their habitats.

Designed to accompany the ARKive website, Animals Like Us features several of these endangered animals, organized by the five habitats of forest, desert, ocean, grassland and mountain. Spectacular color photography of each endangered species – close-ups and images of the animals in their respective habitats – as well as fascinating information about feeding habits, behavior, physical traits, maps of habitation and the problems of survival, provide a comprehensive look at these amazing creatures. Links to related websites are also included to explore habitats as well as internet sites of organizations working to save the world’s endangered species.

Introducing each section by habitat, the book describes the ways they are being destroyed and then examines some of the endangered animals that live there:
Forest: orangutan, kakapo, Verreaux’s sifaka, koala and tiger;
Desert: African elephant, Bactrian camel, Arabian oryx, Gila monster and Indian wild ass;
Ocean: humpback whale, sea otter, marine iguana, West Indian manatee and green turtle;
Grassland: cheetah, black rhinoceros, hyacinth macaw, Grevy’s zebra and giant anteater; and lastly,
Mountain: panda, Ethiopian wolf, mountain gorilla, snow leopard and spectacled bear.

Visit the ARKive website to find a wealth of information in the digital library of animals and plants listed as endangered by the World Conservation Union, including audio and video "portraits" through films and photographs at: www.arkive.org

      Grades: 3rd to 6th

  Beast Feast

by Douglas Florian

PAPERBACK
Animals : Various Classes

Florian has written and illustrated a book of captivating poems about a variety of animals -- from the familiar ant, walrus and caterpillar to the more exotic rhea, boa and kiwi -- that will delight children as well as adults. Each poem with its accompanying painting is a feast of an amusing brief encounter with a beast, be it a blind mole, a crumb-picking pigeon, a tacky-tongued anteater or the ever-changing chameleon. The twenty-one captivating poems of different "beasts" include: "The Walrus", "The Barracuda", "The Anteater", "The Boa", "The Lobster", "The Chameleon", "The Rhea", "The Ants", "The Whale", "The Pigeon", "The Armadillo", "The Sloth", "The Grasshopper", "The Camel", "The Caterpillar", "The Toad", "The Bat", "The Firefly", "The Kangaroo", "The Mole" and "The Kiwi".

        Grades: Preschool and up

  The Big Snow

by Berta & Elmer Hader

PAPERBACK
Experience of Nature
Animals  : Various Classes

This 1949 Caldecott Award winner is a timeless story of the cycle of seasons, evoked through the lives of the woodland animals as they prepare in different ways for the coming of winter. Wild geese head south, squirrels and chipmunks busily store food, rabbits and deer grow thick winter coats, while other animals prepare for hibernation. After the coming of the big snow, the hungry woodland dwellers find a banquet of food put out by an old couple, who continue to feed the hungry animals until the arrival of the spring.

        Grades: All

  The Butterfly's Treasure

by Schim Schimmel

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Animals  : Various Classes

In a milkweed patch before summer's end, an old, wise butterfly passes along the wisdom he has learned to a young caterpillar -- his discovery of a "treasure beyond belief." Old Monarch recounts his wondrous year-long journey of discovery around the globe and his encounters with some of the most amazing animals of our planet. As he travels past brown bears, seals and polar bears of the Northern forests and Arctic, then passes the majestic great cats, elephants and gorillas of Africa and the rare snow leopards of the Himalayas, and encounters the penguins of the Antarctic and the dolphins of the Pacific, the secret of this priceless treasure breathtakingly unfolds revealing its fascinating gems. The engaging story and Schimmel’s stunning, beautiful artwork instill a sense of wonder and respect for the intimate connection of all living beings and the unique treasure in this universe -- our magnificent planet.

See also, other books by Schim Schimmel:
Dear Children of the Earth
The Family of Earth
Children of the Earth... Remember

      Grades: Preschool & up

  Can We Save Them?

by David Dobson

PAPERBACK
Animals : Various Classes
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

This book provides information about eleven species of endangered North American animals presented with descriptions of their physical characteristics, habitats, behavior and the causes for their endangered status. At the end of each double-page description and colorful illustration of the endangered species the author provides hope for its future and includes suggestions to promote its recovery. Species of endangered wildflowers are also discussed with mention of the importance of plants as sources of food and valuable medicines. The author concludes the book calling upon readers to help conserve endangered species and prevent their extinction.

Endangered species, primarily animals, discussed in the book include: Florida panthers, Oahu tree snails, gray bats, American burying beetles, peregrine falcons, eastern indigo snakes, cui-ui (fish species), Peary caribou, a variety of wildflowers, eastern timber wolves, Kirtland's warblers and Puerto Rican parrots. An annotated map of North America showing the distribution of the endangered species follows the text.

See also: Alexandra Wright's Will We Miss Them? Endangered Species, and
David McLimans' Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet

        Grades: 1st to 5th

  Christmas Song of the North

by Marsha Bonicatto

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Animals  : Various Classes

During the twelve days of Christmas the north woods bestow "12 wolves a-howling, 11 chickadees calling, 10 fish a-swimming, 9 mice dig-digging, 8 deer a-drinking, 7 rabbits nibbling, 6 otters playing, 5 white birch trees, 4 sleepy bears, 3 red squirrels 2, snowy owls and a ruffed grouse in a pine tree.". Set to the traditional Christmas song and illustrated by evocative, delicate watercolors, this picture book offers children an enchanting discovery of the community of woodland animals and their life during the snows of winter.

        Grades: Preschool to 5th

  Destination: Polar Regions

by Jonathan Grupper

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Various Classes

Taking readers to both polar regions to explore the fauna and flora, Grupper's photographic essay, published by the National Geographic Society, presents a fascinating view of the harsh, yet fragile, ecosystems of the Arctic and Antarctic. Although most of the book is devoted to the Arctic, the polar regions are explored through seasonal variations and their transformations of life. The full-page color photographs with numerous photo insets and informative text present readers with magnificent views of the diversity of polar life on land, on ice and in the sea.

To help protect the polar ice caps, visit NRDC's BioGems Polar Bears on Thin Ice to find a Kid's Polar Action Guide.

See also: Jane Yolen's, Welcome to the Ice House.

      Grades: 5th through 7th

  Each Living Thing

by Joanne Ryder

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Animals  : Various Classes

Celebrating the creatures of this earth, this picture book of double-page spreads and brief, poetic text echoes a message of awareness, caution and caring for all living beings on this earth. Whether it be a spider, alligator, bee, jellyfish, bear, snake or toad, each living thing has its own special place on earth.

      Grades: Preschool to 2nd

  Earthsong

by Sally Rogers

HARDCOVER
Animals : Various Classes
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Based upon the author's song "Over in the Endangered Meadow" which was inspired by the traditional song "Over in the Meadow", this picture counting book introduces young children to eleven endangered animals throughout the world -- from the howling wolf pups in the Arctic tundra and the blowing, spouting right whale calf in the North Atlantic to the panda cubs chewing bamboo in China and the pouncing Bengal tiger cubs of the Bangladeshi jungles. Each page is resplendent with vibrant paintings of ocean, forest, jungle or desert landscapes that show the endangered animals in their habitats. "Notes on the Animals" which follows the text presents a brief write-up about each animal explaining the causes of their endangered status.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  The Extinct Alphabet Book

by Jerry Pallotta

PAPERBACK
Animals : Various Classes
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Twenty-six animals that once inhabited the Earth are presented by an informative text and bold illustrations. Excluding the more popular dinosaurs, Pallotta has instead chosen some unusual, extraordinary creatures, such as the five-eyed Opabinia, that will captivate readers of all ages. Fossilization and the mention of the causes of more recent extinctions are included.

Recommended in Nature's Course (November/December 1994) published by CCEL.

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  First Snow in the Woods

by Carl R. Sams II & Jean Stoick

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Animals  : Various Classes

As the nights grow longer and the winds blow colder, the animals of the forest listen to their heartsong and prepare for the change of seasons, some by traveling many miles to distant, warmer places, others by preparing for hibernation and the cold of winter. The stunning photography by wildlife photographers Sams and Stoick reveals the beauty of the woods and the variety of inhabitants during the transition from autumn to winter in this captivating story. Chipmunks, deer, birds, raccoons, hares and mice await the arrival of the great gray owl from the far north whose cries announce the first snowstorm of winter.

See also:
Sams' and Stoick's Stranger in the Woods,
Berta Hader's The Big Snow,
Elizabeth Partridge's Moon Glowing,
Denise Fleming's Time to Sleep, and
Henrietta Bancroft's Animals in Winter

      Grades: Kindergarten & Up

  Fun With Nature

by Mel Boring, Diane L. Burns and Leslie Dendy

HARDCOVER
Field Guides & Activity Books
Animals  : Various Classes

As an informative and educational "Take-Along Guide" for young naturalists, this illustrated handbook comprises 6 sections, each of which is also published separately: Caterpillars, Bugs and Butterflies; Snakes, Salamanders and Lizards; Frogs, Toads and Turtles; Rabbits, Squirrels and Chipmunks; Tracks, Scats and Signs; and, Trees, Leaves and Bark. The animals of the first four sections are each illustrated in color and described by What it Looks Like, What it Eats and Where to Find It. The section of tracks, scats and signs, organized by forest, field and pond, examines the clues to identifying animals found each habitat. Young naturalists can also identify trees using detailed illustrations and descriptions of leaves, bark and seeds. A variety of activities are also included such as making "stained glass" animals, turtle and rabbit paperweights, frog puzzles, a leaf mobile, squirrel nut-balls and pinecone snackbars for birds, chipmunk swimming pools and a rabbit refuge. This books provides children hours of discovery and fun in nature.

See also:
More Fun with Nature. Chapters include "Berries, Nuts and Seeds", "Birds, Nests and Eggs", "Rocks, Fossils and Arrowheads", "Seashells, Crabs and Sea Stars", and "Wildflowers, Blooms and Blossoms".

See also, published separately:
Mel Boring's Caterpillars, Bugs and Butterflies
Diane Burns' Snakes, Salamanders and Lizards
Diane Burns' Frogs, Toads and Turtles
Mel Boring's Rabbits, Squirrels and Chipmunks
Leslie Dendy's Tracks, Scats and Signs
Diane Burns' Trees, Leaves and Bark
Diane Burns' Wildflowers, Blooms & Blossoms
Diane Burns' Berries, Nuts, And Seeds
Mel Boring's Birds, Nests & Eggs
Christiane Kunp Tibbitts' Seashells, Crabs & Sea Stars
Mel Boring's Flamingos, Loons & Pelicans
Laura Evert 's Planets, Moons and Stars
Laura Evert 's Rocks, Fossils and Arrowheads

        Grades: 3rd & up

  Fur, Feathers, and Flippers

by Patricia Lauber

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Various Classes

A stunning photo-essay that explores through clear text and beautiful color photographs five different habitats -- the Antarctic seas, the African grasslands, the New England forests, the Southwestern desert and the Northern tundra. In each ecosystem, Lauber vividly describes the interactive and interdependent lives of the animals and plants and their particular adaptations to their habitat.

      Grades: 3rd to 7th

  Gone Forever!

by Sandra and William Markle

HARDCOVER
Animals : Various Classes
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

As an alphabet of extinct animals, this engrossing and thought-provoking book describes the complex issue of the extinction of various species -- extinction due to natural causes, but primarily in relation to human intervention and factors. This picture book includes descriptions of the behavior and habitat of extinct species once found in various regions of the world, most of which disappeared just during the last few centuries.

Vivid detailed illustrations and lively informative text describe extinct species of every letter of the alphabet: auroch, Atlas Bear, cisco, dodo bird, elephant bird, Palestinian painted frog, great auk, heath hen, Portuguese ibex, Arizona jaguar, Norfolk Island kaka, Barbary lion, moa, Oahu Nukupu'u, Syrian onager, passenger pigeon, quagga, Captain Maclear's rat, Steller's sea cow, Rodriguez greater tortoise, Utah Lake sculpin, Gull Island vole, Tasmanian wolf, xerces blue butterfly, Cuban yellow bat and Burchell's zebra.

      Grades: 3rd to 6th

  Here is Antarctica

by Madeleine Dunphy

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Various Classes

The "cold world of ice" with "icebergs all jagged and spiked" forms the setting of this introduction to the web of life that inhabits the coast and waters of the Antarctic ecosystem. Through rhythmic, repeating text and detailed images young children can learn about the interdependency among seals, orcas, krill, skua, silverfish and penguins that swim, fly and feed across the vibrantly painted pages. A description of Antarctica, its wildlife and its environmental threats supplements the text.

For more information about protecting Antarctica, visit:
Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition

To learn more visit:
The American Museum of Natural History’s Antarctica: The Farthest Place Close to Home
Cool Antarctica’s Antarctica Schools Resources

See also:
Helen Cowcher's, Antarctica
Mary Cerullo's, Life Under Ice
Kathy Conlan's, Under the Ice
Meredith Hooper's Antarctic Journal
Jennifer Owings Dewey's Antarctic Journal: Four Months at the Bottom of the World
Brenda Guiberson's, The Emperor Lays an Egg
Martin Jenkins', The Emperor's Egg
Judy Sierra's Antarctic Antics: A Book of Penguin Poems

      Grades: Kindergarten to 4th

  Here is the Arctic Winter

by Madeleine Dunphy

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Various Classes

Through rhythmic, repetitive verses and lyrical paintings the vast, moonlit Arctic winter reveals the austere beauty of life in the "cold world of white" -- the wolves, caribou, snowshoe hares, snowy owls and polar bears that move along the icy surface as well as the seals, fish, and narwhals that swim in the frigid waters beneath the Northern Lights. The animals presented are linked in the food chain as they survive the endless night of the Arctic winter.

        Grades: Kindergarten to 4th

  Home at Last

by April Pulley Sayre

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Animals  : Various Classes

The amazing journeys of migrating animals are followed through vibrant, colorful pastel illustrations as they swim in streams and oceans, walk single file or in herds, crawl over rocks and roads, fly through the skies or flutter over mountains -- some just a mile, others thousands of miles halfway around the world. Warblers, salmon, sea turtles, monarch butterflies, gray whales, caribou, spiny lobsters, Arctic terns and wood frogs, all migrate until they are "home at last".

      Grades: Kindergarten to 2nd

  The Living Rain Forest

by Paul Kratter

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Various Classes

The twenty-six animals of this alphabet book offer a fascinating glimpse of the millions of species inhabiting tropical rain forests. Mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects found in these habitats that "cover only six percent of the earth’s land yet contain over half its animal and plant species," are pictured in beautiful, detailed close-up images. Amazon River Dolphins, Morpho Butterflies, Parsons’ Chameleons, Leaf Katydids, Three-toed Sloths and Mountain Gorillas are several of the amazing creatures included from the five continents where tropical rain forests are located. Brief descriptions that cite unique adaptations of each animal to its habitat complement the illustrations of these animals whose habitats are threatened by global warming, deforestation and overhunting.

For more information visit:
Rainforest Action Network
Rainforest Alliance

See also:
Kristin Joy Pratt's A Walk in the Rainforest,
Lynne Cherry's The Great Kapok Tree,
Madeleine Dunphy's Here is the Tropical Rain Forest, and
Rebecca Johnson's A Walk in the Rain Forest

        Grades: Preschool to 5th

  Moon Glowing

by Elizabeth Partridge

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Animals  : Various Classes

As the autumn leaves fall a squirrel, beaver, bear and bat busily ready for the coming winter. The squirrel is stashing, the bat swooping, the beaver building and the bear feasting. The beautiful collage artwork then fades to the stillness of winter as the four woodland animals sleep under a big, glowing moon.

      Grades: Preschool to 1st

  Natural Treasures Field Guide for Kids

by Elizabeth Biesiot

PAPERBACK
Animals : Various Classes
Field Guides & Activity Books 

Published in cooperation with the Denver Museum of Natural History, this introductory field guide of North American animals is organized by the four seasons and uses sensory clues to encourage children to explore and observe their environment. Using a double-sided format, a page of sight, smell, sound and evidence clues complements the facing page that describes the animal who left the clue. Watercolor illustrations of clues and creatures aid in the process of identification.

      Grades: 3rd to 6th

  Over in the Arctic

by Marianne Berkes

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Various Classes

Set to a traditional song, "Over in the Arctic" is a fun-filled counting book in which kids can explore animals that live on land and sea in the Arctic. As wolves howl, wolverines growl, migrating snow geese honk, snowy owls swoop through skies and polar bears roll on ice, children can learn about the behavior of ten Arctic animals and their family units, as well as find "hidden" animals amongst the beautiful cut paper illustrations. Following the verse, there are suggestions for extended activities, additional information about the Arctic, its inhabitants and their adaptations to their habitat, as well as music for the tune of the song, "Over in the Meadow".

To help protect the polar ice caps, visit NRDC's BioGems Polar Bears on Thin Ice to find a Kid's Polar Action Guide.

See also:
Carol Carrick's, Polar Bears Are Hungry
Madeleine Dunphy's, Here is the Arctic Winter
Jonathan London's, Ice Bear and Little Fox
Frank Asch's, Song of the North
Debbie S. Miller's, Artic Light Arctic Nights
Debbie S. Miller's, Caribou Journey

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Owen and Mzee

by Craig Hatkoff

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Animals  : Various Classes

This is a true, remarkable story of an unlikely friendship between a baby hippo and a 130 year old giant tortoise. Having been stranded on a reef off the coast of Kenya after the devastating tsunami that occurred in the Indian Ocean in December 2004 a baby hippo was rescued by villagers and visitors in Malindi and relocated to Haller Park, an animal sanctuary in Mombasa. There a remarkable friendship soon emerged between the hippo, Owen, and an old loner tortoise named Mzee, whose name means "wild old man" in Swahili. Numerous close-up photos of Owen and Mzee show the unexpected bond and companionship between two very different beings. As the authors note, "Our most important friends are sometimes those we least expected."

      Grades: Kindergarten to 5th

  Safe, Warm, and Snug

by Stephen R. Swinburne

HARDCOVER
Animals : Various Classes

The parental behavior of protecting unborn eggs and young offspring is recounted to young children in this brightly illustrated picture book showing examples of fish, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals throughout the world. Young fry swim into the mouths of the mother cichlid as a hungry catfish approaches, a joey hides in the pouch of the mother kangaroo from a dingo, while baby bats and sloths safely cling to their mother as she moves about. The caring of the unborn is shown by the father emperor penguin who in the freezing cold of the Antarctic climate incubates the egg, by the mother Surinam toad that carries tadpoles in the egg pouches on its back, by the python that coils around a mound of eggs she warms and protects, and by the cockroach and sea horse that carry their eggs till hatching. Although there are predators that lurk around the eggs and young offspring, the lighthearted text and colorful drawings focus on the caring aspect of parental behavior, rather than on the ominous danger of the predator. "How Animals Protect Their Young" follows the verse to supplement information about each species' protection of its young.

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Sea Critters

by Sylvia A. Earle

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Various Classes

Written for slightly younger children than "Dive!", marine biologist Sylvia Earle's "Sea Critters" delves into the beauty, diversity and classification of sea life. "Water is magical!" states Earle as she takes the reader into an exploration of the critters that inhabit the underwater realm. From sponges and stingers to a variety of worms such as the lacy, tentacled, Christmas Tree Worm, from soft-bodied mollusks as small as the brightly colored sea slug or as large as the giant squid, from critters with jointed legs and spiny-skinned creatures to the stiff-backed chordates that include the vertebrates, the vast diversity of animal life that abounds in the oceans is presented with concise, clear, informative text. The full-spread illustrated chart of "The Sea Critters' Family Tree" summarizes the categories presented in the book. Full-page, close-up color photographs as well as watercolors of the critters unveil the exquisite beauty of life found in the underwater world.

See also:
Kristin Joy Pratt-Serafini's A Swim Through the Sea as well as the accompanying Teacher's Guide

      Grades: 1st to 3rd

  Somewhere in the Ocean

by Jennifer Ward & T.J. Marsh

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Animals  : Various Classes

As children seek to find numbers hidden on the pages of this colorful counting book, they encounter the activities of the diverse inhabitants of the sea. Set to the traditional tune of "Over in the Meadow", the rhythmic, moving verse and colorful, full-page paintings abound with marine animal mothers and their young in their natural habitats -- otters feed in kelp forests; octopuses squirt in a coral reef den; clownfish nestle in an anemone; manatees, orcas, sea turtles, tiger sharks and jellyfish swim through the ocean; and, hermit crabs dress in different shells in a tide pool. "Fun Facts" about each species as well as the "Musical Score" to the verse complement the lively text and images.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Song of the North

by Frank Asch

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Animals  : Various Classes

Levin's beautiful photography of the animals of the North complements Asch's poetry about an Arctic animal whose song is heard by another Northern inhabitant -- the salmon by the humpback whale, the walrus by the polar bear, the puffin by the bald eagle, the Dall sheep by the marmot, the caribou by the owl, the moose by the beaver, the bear by the red fox -- and, lastly, the song of the Land of the North by a young girl touching the ground to listen. The rhythmic verse and stunning images unveil the lyrical beauty of the Arctic landscape and its inhabitants.

      Grades: Kindergarten and up

  Spoonbill Swamp

by Brenda Guiberson

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Various Classes

"In this colorful and lively story, young readers spend the day with a mother spoonbill as she searches for food for her chicks while her mate protects the babies, and a mother alligator also searches for food -- which just might be the spoonbill! We see the wetland ecosystem, the balance of nature and the way animals protect their young." Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (January/February 1996) published by CCEL.

The afterword, "Bird and the Beast", describes the similarities and differences of the alligator and roseate spoonbill in terms of their physical characteristics and behavior. It also mentions their former near extinction when they were hunted for the fashion market and the present threat they face of the destruction of their environment.

See also:
Brenda Guiberson's Mud City to learn about the flamingos in Inagua National Park in the Bahamas.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Swan Song: Poems of Extinction

by J. Patrick Lewis

HARDCOVER
Animals : Various Classes
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Through poetry Lewis pays homage to 22 species that have gone extinct due to human intervention over the last 400 years. These tributes are complemented by black and white wood engravings and endnotes that further elucidate the causes of the species’ extinction.

The animals cited in these "few small epitaphs in verse to mark their passing" include: Aurochs, Dodo, Chatham Island Swan, Elephant Bird, Steller’s Sea Cow, Blue Buck, Rodriguez Greater Saddleback Tortoise, Painted Vulture, Great Auk, Eastern Elk or Wapiti, Quagga, Laughing Owl, Arizona Jaguar, Passenger Pigeon, Carolina Parakeet, Barbary Lion, Badlands (Audubon’s) Bighorn Sheep, Tasmanian Pouched Wolf, Hawaiian O-O, Bali Tiger, Deepwater Cisco, Miss Waldron’s Red Colobus Monkey.

To learn more about biodiversity visit:
Conservation International
The Convention on Biological Diversity

To learn more about endangered species visit:
Defenders of Wildlife's Kids' Planet
World Wildlife Fund’s Endangered Species

See also: Sandra and William Markle's Gone Forever!,
Margaret Facklam's And Then There Was One,
Alexandra Wright's Will We Miss Them? Endangered Species,
David McLimans' Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet
David Dobson's Can We Save Them?
Steve Jenkins' Almost Gone: The World’s Rarest Animals
Melvin and Gilda Berger's Where Have All the Pandas Gone?


      Grades: 5th to 8th

  3 Pandas Planting

by Megan Halsey

PAPERBACK
Animals : Various Classes
Environmental Themes  : Pollution & Sustainability

This picture book not only serves as a counting book from twelve to one but also provides an engaging tool for teaching young children about saving our planet. Brightly colored double-page spreads of a variety of animals, which have been endangered or threatened -- crocodiles, otters, turtles, condors, chimps, bears, leopards rhinos, pandas, whales, tigers and elephants -- are accompanied by a simple description of the activity in which the group of animals is engaged. Twelve crocodiles carpool, nine turtles take home cans from a beach, six bears recycle newspapers, three pandas plant trees and one elephant enjoys a walk in nature. The simple descriptive sentence accompanying each double-page illustration can serve as a basis for discussions of the images while a detailed description of the activity of each group of animals is provided in "Do You Want to Know More?" following the text.

      Grades: Preschool to 2nd

  Time to Sleep

by Denise Fleming

PAPERBACK
Experience of Nature
Animals  : Various Classes

As the smells, sights and sounds signal the coming of winter, a bear, skunk, snail, turtle, woodchuck and ladybug let each other know to prepare for the time to sleep. This is an engrossing, colorful book for young readers about the changing of seasons and the hibernation of animals, vividly pictured by handmade paper illustrations created by the author.

See also:
Henrietta Bancroft's Animals in Winter

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Tree of Life

by Rochelle Strauss

HARDCOVER
The Living Earth
Animals  : Various Classes

Tree of Life is an informative, scientific overview of the incredible diversity and interrelationship of life on Earth. The branches of the five Kingdoms of classification of life are each described on two-page spreads that also include captioned images on leaves of the tree, each leaf a symbol of the members of the respective Kingdom. The Animal Kingdom is examined in more detail, branching further into the Vertebrate classification of fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. The text then focuses on one specific leaf of the Tree of Life -- the leaf of humans -- showing the relationship to, as well as the tremendous impact of our species on, the Tree of Life Strauss concludes with information for becoming guardians of the Tree of Life, by learning "to live our lives within the Tree – as 1 leaf among 1,750,000". The afterword to parents and teachers adds depth to the scientific concepts and provides suggestions on fostering a biodiversity ethic with children.

      Grades: 3rd to 7th

  Weird Friends

by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Animals  : Various Classes

Weird Friends portrays unlikely allies of the animal kingdom, different species that coexist in symbiotic relationships. The fascinating behavior of these unusual companions is depicted in a humorous context with colorful cartoon-like illustrations, showing how rather than hurting each other, animals actually help each other in surprising ways – by sharing food or a home, warning of approaching predators, clustering for protection or grooming each other.

The fourteen sets of animal companions that depend on each other for survival and protection through symbiotic relationships include: clown fish and sea anemone; rhino and cattle egret; blind shrimp and goby; ostrich and zebra; red phalarope birds and sperm whale; red ants and large blue butterfly; hermit crab and sea anemones; impalas and baboons; horse mackerel and Portuguese man-of-war; forest mouse and beetles; hippo, oxpeckers and black labeo fish; wrasse and google-eye fish; tuatara reptile and sooty shearwater bird; water thick-knee bird and crocodile.

      Grades: Kindergarten to 3rd

  Where Have All the Pandas Gone?

by Melvin and Gilda Berger

PAPERBACK
Animals : Various Classes
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Children can learn about endangered species throughout the world, explore the reasons why different animals have become endangered, primarily due to habitat loss, overhunting and pollution, and find out about ways people have attempted to save endangered species. Presented in a question and answer format, this informative book, illustrated showing each of the animals in their respective habitats, describes endangered land animals (pandas, mountain gorillas, golden lion tamarins, Indian tigers, rhinoceroses and Arabian oryx), birds that have neared extinction (bald eagles, California condors, brown pelicans, whooping cranes, Everglade snail kites, Seychelles warblers and piping plovers) as well as endangered water animals (whales, manatees, sea otters, sea turtles, alligators and crocodiles). The success story of the comeback of the peregrine falcon from near extinction is examined and several suggestions are offered how readers can help save endangered animals.

      Grades: 2nd to 4th

  Wild Babies

by Margriet Ruurs

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Animals  : Various Classes

This book is a visual feast of stunning, realistic paintings of wildlife -- twelve different young mammals and birds pictured in meadows, forests, mountains, lakes and rivers around the northern wooded areas of the North American continent. Young raccoons searching for berries, goslings snuggling close to a goose, bear cubs in a meadow, close-ups of newborn pups near the adult wolf as well as the young of otters, deer, cougars, mountain goats, foxes, loons, moose and skunks are each pictured in their natural habitats. A descriptive sentence complements a black and white drawing of a young animal opposite the page of a color painting to be explored.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd