By Pam Heller
For Younger Readers
What Do You Do With A Tail Like This?
by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
Children love to play guessing games. Steve Jenkins has created one that will not only delight and engage young children, but will tickle their curiosity about the animals of the world around them. The “what do you do”question is asked and answered using imaginative cut-paper art by first showing just the body part in question and then revealing five different animals and how they use that part of their body. Young children will develop their observation skills as they are introduced to the concept of similarities and differences. And for those who want to know more, the end of the book provides additional information about the thirty animals discussed. Ages 4 to 7.
The Lion and the Bird
by Marianne Dubuc
This story about an unlikely friendship between a lion and a small bird unfolds gently. In autumn, Lion is gardening when he finds a young bird that has injured its wing while flying south for the winter. The Lion tends to the bird’s injuries and invites him to stay until he is able to fly. The winter is spent in Lion’s cozy home becoming friends. As spring arrives, the flock reappears, and Lion knows his friend must leave. Lion resumes his solitary yet busy life, but when autumn returns, he is seen quietly looking skyward, hoping his friend will return. This is such a touching story about friendship, hope and the rhythm of the seasons. Ages 4 to 7.
For Older Readers
The Shark Whisperer
by Ellen Prager
Take adventure, science and humor written by a marine scientist/ocean advocate and you have the making of a new series called Tristan Hunt and the Sea Guardians. Add to it the common doubts and awkwardness of a middle school boy who accidentally falls into a shark tank, and you’ve got a reader interested. Add to that the fact that the boy discovers he can communicate with the sharks, and the reader is hooked. Tristan is invited to a summer camp at a marine-life research center in the Florida Keys. He joins a group of other newbies who are equally gifted with special ocean creature related talents. When a group of older teen campers go on a fact finding mission and get caught, the newbies are off to their rescue! They are off on an adventure to help protect the oceans from harmful human predators—specifically to thwart the efforts of a harvester of shark fins for the black market. This is a fast-paced summer read for the beach. Ages 10 to 14.
by Hudson Talbott
Summer is a time for outdoor adventures, and 12-year-old Corey is off to Kenya for a photo shoot with his wacky aunt. He befriends Mutongai, a Maasai man who was hired to drive the supplies overland to the shoot locations, and his son Pilot. Corey learns about the Maasai culture and several animals, including the cheetah, elephant and lion, their habits and habitats. The plot also includes an incident involving poachers and endangered rhinos. The journal with scrapbook format will appeal to all readers, especially reluctant readers. This geography lesson disguised in an adventure can spark discussions about cultural identity, endangered animals, ecotourism and an understanding of the importance of wildlife conservation. Ages 8 to 12.