Happy Earth Day!
By Happy Chance I got three new picture book non-fiction books for little kids last week, all of which are great picks for Earth Day (or any day) reading.
Ocean Counting, by Janet Lawler (National Geographic Little Kids, May 2013), with photographs by Brian Skerry, starts thus:
"Explore our beautiful blue ocean while learning how to count. Visit colorful coral reefs, warm and sunny seas, sparkling ice packs, and other special spots where marine animals live and play. And on your way, discover new ocean friends on a worldwide counting adventure." For the numbers one through ten, there are double spread pictures, and short blurbs and supplemental "did you know" insets that offer interesting information. A very nice book!
The cute baby seal and its mama (for Two) are particularly kid-friendly, although I myself was especially taken by the four reef squid--a stunning picture in which the squids obligingly arranged themselves in a line by size (sweet squids!).
Flowers by Number, by David Shapiro, illustrated by Hayley Vair (Craigmore Creations, April 2013).
This is one for the child who appreciates beautiful illustrations--the flower paintings are lovely, in a calm, painterly way. They aren't your common or garden flowers either--instead, they are wildflowers from across the country, including new ones for East Coast me, like the six Pacific Starflowers. The text is minimal, but interest is added by occasional metaphorical language. For the nine lupines, for instance, the text says "Named after the wolf, they howl in purple when many flower at once."
The Latin names of the flowers are included, though a little note explaining what these foreign words are might have been useful.
This one is strong on aesthetics and floral interest, could for peaceful appreciation of the beauties of nature. I particularly liked that it started with Zero, which so often gets overlooked--it's a snowy landscape with no flowers at all.
The World is Waiting for You, by Barbara Kerley (National Geographic Children's Books, March 2013), is a photographic invitation (and a very compelling one) to get outside!!! From woods to water to fossil hunting in the desert, the imperative commands, like "Dig deeper" or "Take a peek. Go on--get a little nosy" reinforces the beautifully clear message of the pictures that there are wonderful things to do out there in the great big world of nature. And if that cave full of huge crystals really is real (I assume it is, but it boggles the mind!) I want to go there myself! It is a joyful celebration of the outdoors that manages to enthuse without any sense of didactic preaching.
This is a truly inspiring one that I wholeheartedly recommend.
So, have a happy Earth Day! And just to close, here is my own go-to saving the earth tip--keep a bucket in your shower, to catch the water while its warming up, and use that water to flush the toilet. If you have four shower-ers in your family, like me, and an old plumbing system that takes ages to warm the water, you'll save hundreds of gallons a year.
For more great non-fiction for kids, visit this Monday's Non-Fiction Roundup at A Mom's Spare Time
disclaimer: review copies received from publicist