At long last, Northeast Ohio has broken free from the cruel bonds of winter; let spring prevail! For a short time, anyway, before we dive headlong into summer!
The children who frequent the library are greatly enjoying their long-anticipated outdoor time, and they serve as inspiration for this post’s subject: nature science picture books! They’re a perfect way to explore the great outdoors when spring showers and summer storms keep antsy little ones inside. So whether your kids are into big animals, plants, or dinosaurs, we should have something here to keep your family satisfied.
A Leap for Legadema: The True Story of a Little Leopard in a Big World by Beverly and Dereck Joubert
For Ages 4 – 8
The creators of this book spent four years following a young leopard cub (the titular Legadema) and her mother, taking pictures and learning about how a leopard grows from a tiny cub to an independent adult. This book is a result of those labors, and it is full of bright colors and lively photographs. The text is solid, and the photos and behind-the-scenes information about leopard life will satisfy big cat fans. A good book for leopard lovers.
The Truth About Hippos: Seriously Funny Facts About Your Favorite Animals by Maxwell Eaton III
For Ages 4 – 8
A tongue-in-cheek expose of one of Earth’s largest land mammals, this picture book is a good blend of comics-style artwork and interesting, child-friendly facts. Kids will learn that there are two types of hippos (common and pygmy), and what those varieties like to eat, how they spend their days and nights, and other living habits. A great choice for kids who like to giggle as they learn.
A Seed is the Start by Melissa Stewart
For Ages 4 – 9
With simple text and clear, bright photographic illustrations, this is a wonderful choice for learning about plants. The book opens with a glossary (“Words to Know”), then describes how seeds start to grow. A substantial portion of the text discusses how seeds spread out to find clear spaces to sprout (floating, gliding, hitching a ride on animals, etc.), before the book concludes with an index and suggestions for further learning. Colorful and engaging, this should capture any youngster’s attention, even those who know little about plants.
The Seal Garden by Ian McAllister and Nicholas Read
For Ages 6 – 9
In this latest installment of the “My Great Bear Rainforest” series, the gorgeously vivid underwater photography completely steals the show. Kids will pore over the illustrations of marine mammals (seals and otters of various species) as they hang about in kelp forests and on nearby beaches. When they get around to the (incredibly readable) text, children will learn how these animals stay safe and find food in their northern environment. A beautiful selection for budding zoologists.
In The Past: From Trilobites to Dinosaurs to Mammoths in More Than 500 Million Years by David Elliott, illustrated by Matthew Trueman
For Ages 3 – 7
Short, snappy, amusing poems about prehistoric animals, starting with trilobites in the Cambrian Period and moving steadily through time until the mammoths in the Quaternary Period. The illustrations are a blend of realistic and goofy and match the tone of the verses perfectly. An author’s note at the end fills in a few extra details about why certain creatures were chosen for the book and the eras when they lived. A fun selection for dinosaur lovers and prehistory buffs.