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The Green Life: Book Roundup Wednesday: Nature Books for Kids

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April 07, 2010

Book Roundup Wednesday: Nature Books for Kids

Book review image Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. Today we're recommending books that teach children about nature.

The Tiny Seed (by Eric Carle, $8, Little Simon, Mar. 2009): This is an excellent resource for teaching preschool or early elementary school students how plants develop from seed pod to flower. Carle, also the author of the bestselling The Very Hungry Caterpillar, obviously takes great pleasure in creating the simple, abstract illustrations that grace this book's pages. As a bonus, kids can plant the seeded paper that comes with the book and watch their own seeds sprout and grow.

The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound: A Birder's Journal (by Sallie Wolf, $12, Charlesbridge Publishing, Feb. 2010): Young readers will enjoy the sketches and short, thoughtful poems by artist and passionate birder Sallie Wolf. She describes the habits of a variety of bird species, from robins to seagulls, and illuminates the importance of keeping a journal to better understand nature. 

The Turtle’s Dream and Keys (by Benrali, $16, Only 1 Earth, Sept. 2009): Eastern box turtles are very special to this Benrali, who draws captivating pictures that fill every page with surreal patterns. The story starts autobiographically but grows into fantasy, following Benrali’s own shelled pet, Jupiter, on the adventures the author imagines for him. Benrali introduces a new idea to conservation by asking readers to imagine if “box turtles became extinct, what patterns would leave the earth,” an interesting perspective that adult environmentalists might never have considered.

N is for Nature! An Environmental Alphabet Book (by Tim Magner, $15, Green Sugar Press, June 2009): Though it’s probably too complex to function solely as an alphabet-learning tool, this book gives slightly older children an excellent opportunity to learn about a variety of critters and their interactions with their habitats. Information about aspects of the natural world, from F for fish to M for migration, accompanies creative illustrations.

Life in the Boreal Forest (by Brenda Z. Guiberson, $17, Henry Holt and Co., Sept. 2009): Heavy on the biology, this book is meant to encourage young conservationists. Onomatopoeia on every page helps the reader feel what life is like for animals in the boreal forest. The author describes an entire year of forest life and cycles, sparing no detail about what happens to creatures that don’t find enough to eat and the consequences of human development on nature. The visuals are beautiful, but the discussion of death coupled with the overt conservation themes may be too intense for the littlest ones.

--Sophie Matson

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