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.
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.