Sunday, April 26, 2009

Animal Round-Up

This week's "Weekly Geeks" assignment asks participants to "share books (fiction or nonfiction) and/or movies which center around an animal or animals." Although I've fallen off the wagon a bit with the Weekly Geeks challenges, when I saw this one, I thought "that is something I can do." I am going to attempt an animal round-up of all of our previously reviewed children's books featuring critters of one kind or another. In each case, clicking the book title will bring you to our prior post containing a review of that book. Holy cow (sorry about the pun), this ended up being a bit more work than I anticipated. But I started it, so I'll finish it!

Children's Books About Dogs

What child doesn't love a good dog book? Our son's favorite children's books about dogs include Matthew Van Fleet's wonderfully interactive Dog (if you buy your child only one "dog" book, this is probably the one to get); Sandra Boynton's Doggies; and the classic Go, Dog, Go! Other, no less wonderful, books we've read in his first 17 months include: Big Dog and Little Dog Going for a Walk, Clifford the Firehouse Dog, Lucky Tucker (for St. Patrick's Day), Snuggle Puppy, and Wag a Tail.

Children's Books About Cats

We have less cat books in our collection, but a charming favorite is Eve Sutton's My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes. And of course, who could forget the Cat in the Hat? The little guy is also quite taken with the Pudgy Peek-a-boo Book, which features some playful kittens, along with bunny rabbits. (We haven't yet read Matthew Van Fleet Cats book, but I hear it is wonderful).

Children's Books About Bunny Rabbits

Speaking of bunnies, our list of 75 Recommended Childrens Easter books contained many books starring rabbits, including Busy Bunnies, Bunny Hops, the Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes, the Runaway Bunny, and Guess How Much I Love You. Many young readers love the Max and Ruby series, including Max Cleans Up, but we haven't really gotten into it yet. Babies might love this cuddly Pat the Sleepy Bunny cloth book. I nearly forgot that the baby being lulled to sleep in Goodnight, Moon is a bunny too.

Children's Books About Farm Animals

Books featuring farm animals also seem to grab the attention of pint-sized readers. One of our son's very first favorites was Open the Barn Door. He also loves Moo, Baa, La La La. A fun part game, part book is the Baby MacDonald Magnetic Puzzle Book. And Touch and Feel Farm enthralls little readers. If you like your farm animals to have a bit of spring in their step, Jennifer Plecas' Baby Danced the Polka may be just your thing ("While Papa hauled the water,/And Mama fixed the chow.../Baby danced the cha-cha/With the chocolate-colored...COW.") If the polka is too tame, try Punk Farm and its sequel Punk Farm on Tour. Busy Chickens displays a charming collection of chicken photography. Nancy Shaw's Sheep in a Jeep and Sheep in a Shop are really fun read aloud board books. Little ones might also enjoy Does a Cow Say Boo?, which covers the whole farm animal gambit and their accompanying sounds.

Children's Books About Zoo Animals

After your literary trip to the farm, what child doesn't like a visit to the zoo? Consider Eric Carle's 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo or Adam Rex's clever Pssst. We also love the board book Curious George at the Zoo (a touch and feel book). Dear Zoo (a lift the flap book) was a favorite around here for a LONG time as well. And who could forget Goodnight, Gorilla? Are there any bad zoo books? It seems that all of the ones we've read have been well received.

Although not set in a zoo, our favorite lion book is New Zealand author Margaret Mahy's A Lion in the Meadow.

Monkeys were always a zoo highlight for me. Of course, the whole Curious George series, including the hardcover that started it all, offers monkey adventures galore. In addition to the Curious George books we mentioned above, we also enjoy Curious George Bigger and Smaller and a four board book box set. Another monkey favorite around here is Hand, Hand Fingers Thumb (you just have to love monkeys with sideburns!).

If your little one enjoys seeing llamas at the zoo, Is Your Mama a Llama may delight them. We also recently expanded our llama collection with the fantastic book Llama Llama, Mad at Mama. I plan to check out Llama Llama, Red Pajama next.

Children's Books About Birds

And now off to the aviary. There are many wonderful bird books out there. Our latest favorite is Kevin Henkes' Birds. For slightly older kids, the whole Pigeon series, including The Pigeon Loves Things That Go and Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, among others, are wonderfully entertaining. Other excellent series are Duck & Goose and Gossie & Gertie/Gossie & Friends. For the very youngest readers, Fluffy Chick and Friends is a lovely crinkly cloth book (one of only two our son enjoyed), although the chick is only on the cover, and the rest of the animals are not birds, so don't buy it for it's bird content. Older children might also enjoy the classic Make Way For Ducklings, or One Duck Stuck.

Children's Books About Bugs

One of the most well-loved modern classics is The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Nonfiction books covering the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly abound; one we've read and reviewed is Scholastic Reader's Caterpillar to Butterfly. Our son really enjoyed the cloth book Fuzzy Bee & Friends when he was younger (and occasionally now); it includes a dragonfly, lady bug, and worm, among others. He also always enjoyed this Itsy Bitsy Spider book.

Children's Books About Ocean Life

Fish also star in many wonderful children's books, including this board book take on a Dr. Seuss classic: One Fish, Two Fish, Three, Four Five Fish. We also love Curious George Visits the Aquarium, which I just realized somehow has never made it onto our blog. Others we've read: Big Fish Little Fish and Into the A, B, C: An Ocean Alphabet Book.

Serendipitous Pairings and Silly Antics

Enjoy reading about elephants and pigs, together? Mo Willems has you covered with his fantastic Elephant and Piggie series (There is a Bird On My Head adds a fowl to the mix). Or hippos? Better yet, hippos that sing about Belly Buttons? Chimps that drive cars? Cows that type? Pigs that eat pancakes? A Mouse and a giraffe in love? A bear, bull, and baboon (in a tutu) riding a bicycle together?


If we include dinosaurs in the animal category, then we must mention my favorite childhood dinosaur book, Danny and the Dinosaur, as well as Jane Yolen's fantastic Dinosaur series, with fun titles like How Do Dinosaurs Learn Their Colors.

And a Few Others

If your little reader likes their animals to be of the Disney variety, you might try the Wonderful World of Color: Disney Animal Friends, which features a medley of different Disney animals, including Pumba, Bambi, Dumbo, and Lady and the Tramp, among others.

Gallop! combines animals (eagle, rooster, monkeys, etc.) with its unique "scanimation" technique to create a truly unique, fun book.

Richard Scarry's word books are also filled with animals (our favorite is Richard Scarry's Biggest Word Book Ever, but we also like Cars and Trucks from A to Z and Colors).

And there is always the World of Pooh, starring a lovable (albeit stuffed) bear, kangaroo, rabbit, and donkey.

And a few more books featuring a general medley of animals:

I'm sure we've only scratched the surface of animal books out there, but I hope a few might appeal to your young readers. Do you have others you love? Comment and share them.

I think I'll do a transportation round-up another day. But now I need a rest.


Britt said...

That's a really really impressive list.

Bookworm said...

I just posted a blog about the award you gave me. Thank you!

Your blog is fabulous! I am going to show you soon just how fabulous I think it is! Stay tuned...

pussreboots said...

We have about half the books that are mentioned in your post. Happy WG.

MaryAnne said...

For dog books, I like the "Carl" books by Alexandra Day - not very realistic maybe, but cute drawings:

Flores Hayes said...

oh I love pandas!
Here I bought a cuddly panda bag (L) that I can hardly put it down!
I believe it is a GREAT find for every panda fanatic!