Category Archives: nature

Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm

By Alice and Martin Provensen. Aladdin Books, 2001

Who lives at Maple HIll Farm? People live here. Two dogs and five horses live here. A pig lives here. Then there are — some geese, lots of chickens, a few cows, a few goats, several sheep, and four special cats…

I can’t imagine a better picture book for any animal-loving kid. On each page are illustrations of the dogs, horses, pigs, cats, chickens and goats who live (or used to live) on the author’s real Straatsburg, NY farm, followed by verbal snapshots of their unique personalities. For instance, the big rooster, aptly named Big Shot, doesn’t like children. Willow the cat “is very beautiful, but not very interesting.” And Whiney the sheep is always lost and never knows where the gate is. My kids can look at these gorgeous, simple drawings forever. We’ve decided we all want to live at Maple Hill Farm.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Grandmother’s Pigeon

pigeon

By Louise Erdrich, Illustrated by Jim LeMarche

Hyperion Books for Children, 1996

As it turned out, Grandmother was a far more mysterious woman than any of us knew. It was common knowledge that she had trained kicking mules. We’d often heard how she had skied the Continental Divide. I was with her myself once when she turned back a vicious dog by planting herself firm in its path and staring into its eyes.

I have always been fond of books which start in media res. But let’s just cut to the chase, shall we? Erdrich rocks. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leaf

leaf

Ideas, sound effects and pictures by Stephen Michael King

Roaring Book Press, 2008

No running text in this small book, just the occasional sound effect — the snip, snip of a mother’s eager scissors, the pitter, patter, splot of  a trickling shower. But the gorgeously simple drawings do a fine job of telling the story. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Blueberries for Sal

blueberries

By Robert McCloskey

Viking, 1948

Little Sal picked three berries and dropped them in her little tin pail…kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk! She picked three more berries and ate them. Then she picked more berries and dropped one in the pail — kuplunk! And the rest she ate. Then Little Sal ate all four blueberries out of her pail!

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

The Little House

house

By Virginia Lee Burton

Houghton Mifflin Books, 1942

Once upon a time there was a Little House way out in the country. She was a pretty Little House and she was strong and well built. The Little House was very happy as she sat on the hill and watched the countryside around her. 

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

The Curious Garden

curious

By Peter Brown

Little, Brown Books, 2009

There once was a city without gardens or trees or greenery of any kind. Most people spent their time indoors. As you can imagine, it was a very dreary place. However, there was one boy who loved being outside…

I’m calling this book an “eco-conscious fairytale.” Granted, these pages (printed on recycled paper, mind you) contain no princesses, princes, wicked witches or dragons, but there is one very kind, determined boy who finds beauty where others do not. And there is a patch of curious green plants in need of rescuing. And as in all fairytales, there is a city (er, kingdom) where the inhabitants are in desperate need for an imaginative leader who will transform their dreary world. So…eco-conscious fairytale it is. With sparse, elegant prose and vivid illustrations that are difficult to look away from, Brown tells the story of little Liam, who begins nurturing a long-forgotten garden. Because of his efforts, the plants and flowers spread across his city, magically affecting everything and everyone in their path. A fabulous reminder to go play in the mud.

Tagged , , , , ,

Incredible Earth!

earth

Photos by various photographers who really deserve to be identified more prominently 

Play Bac Publishing, 2008

Incredible Earth! Nature is truly as ferocious as it is magnificent…We will dive deep into dark oceans; fly over beautiful yet dangerous lakes; stand in awe of landscapes that appear more alien than familiar; marvel at miraculous sculptures created in rock, ice, sand, and salt; and peer into volcanic craters that bubble like witches’ cauldrons!

$12.95 is a reasonable price to pay to go around the world. I stumbled upon this glossy, bright hardback at the University of New Mexico book store in Albuquerque. It was the only copy and I immediately bought it. The enormous, up-close-and- personal pictures take you on a whirlwind trip. See Mount Pinatubo, the Phillipine volcano, majestically exploding! 120 million red crabs on Australia’s Christmas Island!  A melting iceberg that looks like a giant dining room table! Once I win the lottery (or find a kind and generous benefactor,) I will use this as a travel guide.

Tagged , ,