Saturday, June 14, 2014

Some of Our Favorite Habitat and Nature Books

{This post contains affiliate links to Amazon for your convenience.  Should you choose to purchase anything at Amazon today after clicking through them, we thank you.  It will help support our family's endeavors by blessing us with a small portion of your sale price at no extra cost to you.}

I know.  I know.  I said I'd be sharing more of our Habitat Explorer lesson plans and reports here soon.  I still have every intention of doing so.

In the meantime, as I gather a huge pile of books to ferry back to the library I wanted to share some of the ones we renewed and renewed until their limits were reached because we enjoyed them to much.

A Log's Life, written by Wendy Pfeffer and illustrated by Robin Brickman, is a gorgeous book that we used when doing our Habitat Explorer Woodlands lesson and, then, poured over for weeks afterward.  The illustrations in it are absolutely beautiful.  Many of the objects in them look like photographs, but, in reality they are vibrant collages made by cutting, painting, sculpting and gluing watercolor paper and, sometimes human hair, together.  The text engages readers in the life cycle of a tree and showcases many creatures that live in forest ecosystems, such as squirrels, porcupines, carpenter ants, woodpecker, beetle, slugs, salamanders, bugs and much more.  The final page offers discussion questions and activity ideas.  Engaging as a read-aloud, inspirational for art projects, sound for studying forest ecology, I'd recommend this book to anyone!

Roxaboxen, written by Alice McLerran and illustrated by Barbara Cooney, captured my children's imagination from the first day we read it, inspired other children during our initial Habitat Explorers meeting and continues to act as a catalyst for my children's creativity. We've read this true story over and over, each time delighting in how children in it create a magical world of their own with rocks, boxes and found objects on an open lot on Arizona.  The text and the wonderfully warm-hued illustrations that bring it life not only describes the magic of the author's mother's childhood days, but inspires magic in its readers self-directed play.  My children have been creating their own "Roxaboxens" in the cul de sac near our home, in the woods and in parking lots.

On Meadowview Street is a charming picture book we've been reading over and over again that I wanted to share during our Meadow Habitats day at Habitat Explorers, but could not as rain came down that day preventing us from an outdoor read aloud.  I did, however, let the entire group know that they might want to take the time to borrow or buy this sweet story of a little girl that saves one little flower from her daddy's lawn mower and, subsequently, turns a typical front yard at her new home into a teeming ecosystem that inspires her entire neighborhood.  Lovely acrylic paintings illustrate the simple, yet powerful story.  The book serves as an engaging read-aloud or read-to-self, a testimony of the power one young child can have in creating change and an impetus for thinking about our front and back yards in new ways.  I think the book makes a perfect introduction or conclusion to a habitats class and, honestly, just a fun read.

  A Dandelion's Life (Nature Upclose), written and illustrated by John Himmelman, is an accessible introduction (or reinforcement) of life cycles and eco-systems.  It unfolds easily as a scientifically accurate, yet simply written story of a dandelion floating through the air as a seed, connecting with other creatures as it grows throughout the seasons, and finally, producing its own seed to blow in the breeze.  With large illustrations and mostly single-line text on each page, this book is a quick and enjoyable read.  I will definitely be borrowing it again for a focused dandelion study at another time.  (This time we simply used it to compliment general life cycle studies and explorations.)

Fun.  Fun.  Fun. And useful!  That is our reaction to Noisy Bug Sing-Along, written and illustrated by long-time bug lover John Himmelman.  Each page of this energetic picture book delights with large-scale images of bugs, passionately created with vibrant color, texture, and shading and overlaid with a line of text that includes the bugs name and a fun and accurate onomatopoeic bug sound.   Such a fun read-aloud and even a great first identification guide, this book will be taken out again by us!

I was going to read On the Way to the Beach in our first Habitat Explorers class as a way to get children thinking about the different habitats that they might come across in their days after leaving their front doors.  But, I decided to hold off on doing that so I can save this great little story to read in a later mini co-op on beaches or marine biology.  That did not mean, though, that the book made a quick trip from our home back to the library.  Nope.  My children enjoyed folding out the three-page acrylic illustrations of woods, marshes, dunes and beach too much, searching for all the wonderful creatures in the illustrations.  (Some were not easy to find, so luckily there was a key at the back of the book!)  Beautifully illustrated, this book encouraged cozy snuggly times of reading, discussing and spying accurate depictions of foliage and creatures from one habitat to the next as the story of a little girl making her way to the beach literally unfolded.   It's such a wonderful book for young nature lovers.

In One Tidepool: Crabs, Snails and Salty Tails is another one I did not read for Habitat Explorers, but got so we could include beach habitats in our home learning.  It is a brilliantly illustrated book that depicts the community of creatures one might find in a tide pool, using rhythmic rhyming text that repeats itself. The book does have two pages of Field Notes, but otherwise is not one that so much 'teaches" as it captures - a visual field trip to the oceanside between two covers.  We enjoy it.

Now, off to the library so I can avoid overdue fines!

I'd love to hear some of your favorite nature and habitat titles!

Please find all the posts related to the Habitat Explorers Co-op I taught this spring by clicking on the button below.


Related Posts with Thumbnails