Books: Animals

Welcome spring (and Earth Day!) with curriculum-ready books on animals and their environments

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

Steve Jenkins Author-illustrator, Eye to Eye

Why animal eyes?

I couldn’t help but notice that when I added a creature’s eyes—often the last step in the collage process—it came to life. In part, I wanted to use animal vision as a way to show the power and elegance of evolution as it is expressed in one specific feature.

Were there teachers who spurred your interests?

Definitely. My father, a professor of physics and astronomy, was my first and most influential teacher. And I had several brilliant design teachers in college who helped me see the importance of process, which is also an essential part of doing science.

What’s next?

My wife, Robin Page, and I are working on a book about animal eggs. And we ­recently finished Creature Features. The book assumes the voices of the creatures, and they explain how having a bright red-and-blue nose, eight eyes, or a really long tongue helps them survive.

1 | What If You Had Animal Hair!?
By Sandra Markle, illustrated by Howard McWilliam. $3.99.
Would you want to have polar bear or zebra “hair”? This book has tantalizing reasons, based on facts, for any given choice. Grades K–2.

2 | E-I-E-I-O: How Old MacDonald Got His Farm
By Judy Sierra, illustrated by Matthew Myers. $16.99.
A goat, a hen, a horse, and some composting worms help Old MacDonald create the best farm in the burbs. Grades PreK–1.

3 | Mama Built a Little Nest
By Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Steve Jenkins. $17.99.
Jenkins’s appealing illustrations combine with Ward’s rhyming text about all the places (in the mud, on a twig “boat”) birds build nests. Grades PreK–1.

4 | A Baby Elephant in the Wild
By Caitlin O’Connell, photos by O’Connell and Timothy Rodwell. $16.99.
Follow Liza and herd through the Namibian savanna and learn about these bighearted, big-eared mammals. Grades PreK–2.

5 | See What a Seal Can Do
By Chris Butterworth, illustrated by Kate Nelms. $14.99.
A gray seal’s journey in and out of the water, “flumping,” flipping, and stretching, comes to life with expressive illustrations. Grades PreK–2.

6 | No Monkeys, No Chocolate
By Melissa Stewart and Allen Young, illustrated by Nicole Wong. $16.95.
Monkeys equals chocolate? Turns out monkeys are part of a vast ecosystem that results in cocoa beans—and chocolate! Grades 1–3.

7 | The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees
By Sandra Markle. $26.
This look at the mysterious dying-off of honeybees proposes several causes—and includes many fascinating facts about nature’s super-pollinators. Grades 3–5.

8 | The Dolphins of Shark Bay
By Pamela S. Turner, photographs by Scott Tuason. $18.99.
Scientists spend years among a population of wild dolphins to document the habits and intelligence of these cunning creatures. Grades 3–7.

9 | Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World
By Steve Jenkins. $17.99.
Animals with 100-plus eyes, others that can look in two directions at once. Caldecott winner Jenkins turns the subject of animal eyes to gold. Grades PreK–5.

10 | Bugged: How Insects Changed History
By Sarah Albee, illustrated by Robert Leighton. $17.99.
Dung beetles, mosquitoes, fleas—all were players in history. A humorous take on the topic for budding entomologists. Grades 4–8.

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