Favorite Kids’ Books: Wildlife & the Seasons

On this page, you’ll find a growing list of children’s books that I’ve paired with some of my photos, videos, and blog posts. These are books I think will grab kids’ interest, maybe fill in some informational blanks, and—I hope—ignite a lifetime of curiosity about our natural world.

(If you wish to buy a book, consider Bookshop.org, where profit from online book purchases is distributed among independent bookstores.) https://bookshop.org/

I just love The Winter Bird by Kate Banks. When an injured nightingale can’t migrate south for winter, non-migrating woodland birds and animals help it survive the cold and snow. Beautifully illustrated by Suzie Mason, the story celebrates friendship. The book is fiction, but it gives some good clues about how creatures face winter’s challenges.

This book came to mind when I watched a young Bald Eagle, perched in one of my trees, during a raging snowstorm. It stayed there for nearly an hour, and I was mesmerized by how stoic the bird appeared to be. Here’s a clip of what I saw:

In A Warm Winter Tail by Carrie A. Pearson, illustrated by Christina Wald, animals ask their mamas how humans stay warm in winter. Each young animal asks about its own winter adaptation, like the deer who wonders: Do humans grow hollow hair so the coats they wear trap the heat from their bodies for warmth? The mama deer responds, explaining that without hair coats, humans wear jackets with zippers and snaps. The book features mammals, reptiles, birds, and insects. The language is quite lovely—lyrical, rhyming lines that pack a lot of information into just a few words. The illustrations are beautiful, realistic depictions of the animals, plus fun drawings imagining how humans would look if they adopted the animals’ winter warmup strategies. The book ends with two fact-filled but fun-to-read pages that explain the details of animals’ winter adaptations.

I shared a video of my neighborhood squirrels’ winter strategies in this blog post. Here’s the photo that prompted me to title that post B.Y.O.B. As in… Bring Your Own Blanket.

A squirrel covers itself with its bushy tail as snow falls on and around it.

Snow Still, by Holly Surplice, is a board book (for kids up to about age 3) about a fawn that wakes up and discovers snow. It’s a wonderful bedtime book to read on a snowy night!

In my blog post, Welcome to the All-Night Deer Diner, I wrote about the winter-time deer that patronize our all-night deer diner. The post is about admiration, frustration, and a call for helpful ideas. As much as I enjoy seeing deer, I’d like to enjoy our beautiful hemlock trees, too. Enjoy seeing them un-munched, that is! If you visit the post, you’ll see some of the creatures and their damage. This photo hints at the distance deer travel to reach our home, including crossing some nine hundred feet of ice.

Deer and other wildlife tracks on snow-covered lake ice.

I giggled all through The Leaf Thief by Alice Hemming, illustrated by Nicola Slater. In the book, a squirrel suspects foul play when leaves begin disappearing. He questions possible perpetrators, including two birds. (Can you tell why this book grabbed my attention?) In the end, Squirrel learns about windy fall days. This is a fun book, loaded with whimsical art. It’s perfect for explaining seasons to the preschool set, but older kids will laugh along, too.

Every spring, I see leaf thievery with my own eyes. The repeat offenders: Tufted Titmice. A while back I wrote about these perpetrators in my blog post, Stop, Thief! Here’s a more recent crime scene you might enjoy laughing at.

The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder, by Mark Cassino and Jon Nelson, Ph.D. Cassino’s stunning macro photos reveal minuscule, icy building blocks as they develop into the beautiful, intricate collections of crystals that we know as snowflakes. Nelson, a retired ice physicist, ensures the easy-to-understand text doesn’t skimp on scientific detail. The book has instructions for catching and taking a closer look at snow. Intended for ages 5-8, but I think the book will appeal to older kids, too.

Wouldn’t the winter view out my window make a perfect jigsaw puzzle? Here’s a photo that I ‘puzzle-fied.’ You won’t be puzzled by the science of snow if you read your littles The Story of Snow.

Image Credits: Carol Doeringer, Publishers (for book covers).