Children's Booklist

Science and Nature — Nonfiction and Fiction


Adamson, Joy, Born Free (12-up). The Adamsons raise a lion cub and prepare it for release to the wild.

Arnosky, Jim, Deer at the Brook (2-6). Picture book of deer introduces nature watching to young children. Also All Night Near the Water (3-6).

—— Drawing from Nature (12-up). Artist shares not only valuable techniques for drawing but also his love for and keen observation of nature; continued in Drawing Life in Motion (12-up).

—— Secrets of a Wildlife Watcher (11-up). Tells how to find animals and get close enough to watch them by explaining how they live.

Bash, Barbara, Ancient Ones: The World of the Old-Growth Douglas Fir (5-12). Picture book captures the atmosphere of the old-growth forest in describing the life cycle of the firs and the web of life they support.

Baylor, Byrd, The Desert Is Theirs (4-up), and The Other Way to Listen (7-up). These books bring out the oneness of nature and man, and ways of getting in tune with nature and oneself.

Billington, Elizabeth T., Understanding Ecology (8-12). This basic presentation explains "how all living things affect each other and the world they live in."

Bird, Christopher, The Secret Life of Plants (14-up). Brings together fascinating research on consciousness in plant life.

Boeke, Kees, Cosmic View: The Universe in 40 Jumps (6-up). A journey in scale to the limits of space and into the atom, imaginatively yet accurately done; provides a cosmic perspective on mankind.

Boone, J. Allen, Kinship with All Life (10-up). Real-life experiences showing the oneness of all life and how animals communicate with each other and with people who understand them. Also Adventures in Kinship with All Life (10-up).

Brown, Vinson, Reading the Woods (12-up). Encourages a sense of wonder through understanding the woods, explaining the influence of climate and weather, and how man and animals fashion woods. Also Knowing the Outdoors in the Dark (12-up).

Carrighar, Sally, Moonlight at Midday (15-up). Natualist visiting Northern Alaska for a year stays for ten because of her interest in and love for the people, native and settlers. Strong readers will find much of interest concerning the Alaskan people, land, and wildlife.

Darwin, Charles, Voyage of the Beagle, abridged by Millicent E. Selsam (12-up). Darwin's account of his formative journey around South America; edited for young people.

Duensing, Edward and A. B. Millmoss, Backyard and Beyond: A Guide for Discovering the Outdoors (10-up). A fascinating book filled with useful information as well as deeper insights into the wonders of one's own backyard; good index and bibliography.

Durrell, Gerald, My Family and Other Animals (10-up). Often hilarious stories from the author's childhood in Corfu, focusing on the natural habitat and his eccentric family and friends; very well written.

—— Three Tickets to Adventure (10-up). One of the author's many books about expeditions to collect animals for zoos, full of humor and love of nature; others include The New Noah, The Whispering Land, The Drunken Forest, etc.

—— A Practical Guide for the Amateur Naturalist (10-up). Walking tours through 17 environments illustrate many activities for the naturalist; full of hands-on knowledge.

Earth Works Group, The, 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth (6-12). Clearly presents ways children can respect and care for their home planet.

Facklam, Margery, Bees Dance and Whales Sing: The Mysteries of Animal Communication (5-10). Discussion of the ways in which a wide variety of animals communicate leads to an appreciation of the marvels and oneness of life. Also Partners for Life: The Mysteries of Animal Symbiosis (5-12).

Farre, Rowena, Seal Morning (11-up). Memoir of the author's life from 10 to 17 with her aunt and many wild pets in an isolated, North Scotland cottage. Remarkable descriptions of this silent, remote wilderness highlight her unusual adventures — most humorous, a few sad.

Fiarotta, Phyllis and Noel, Snips and Snails and Walnut Whales: Nature Crafts for Children (4-up). Crafts using natural materials such as pods, leaves, rocks, and shells.

Goudey, Alice E., The Day We Saw the Sun Come Up (5-8) and Houses from the Sea (5-8). Sensitive handling of nature themes of day and night and of sea shells.

Grillone, Lisa, and Joseph Germaro, Small Worlds Close Up (all ages). Scanning electron microscope photos of 31 familiar objects informs while stimulating the imagination.

Hatchett, Clint, The Glow-in-the-Dark Night Sky Book (all ages). Eight star maps divided by season, with stars that glow for easy use outdoors in the dark; also maps with the constellations as imagined by the ancients.

Herriot, James, All Creatures Great and Small (13-up). Memoirs of a vet in Northern England, full of humor and love of animals; first of a series.

Hirschi, Ron, Who Lives in . . . the Forest (2-4). Lovely photos invite the very young to look at animals in the forest; one of a series.

Hirst, Robin and Sally, My Place in Space (4-8). A brother and sister pinpoint their location on earth and in the universe for a skeptical bus driver.

Hogner, Dorothy Childs, Endangered Plants (10-up). Describes endangered North American plants and how to help preserve and enjoy them.

Jaspersohn, William, How the Forest Grew (6-12). A clearing becomes a climax forest over a period of 200 years in this picture book.

Jeffers, Susan, Brother Eagle, Sister Sky (5-12). Using words attributed to Chief Seattle, this beautiful picture book describes respect and love for the earth and concern about its destruction.

Kohl, Judith, and Herbert, The View from the Oak: The Private Worlds of Other Creatures (10-up). Tells how creatures from spiders to whales sense space and time, and communicate; written with humor.

Krupp, E. C., The Big Dipper and You (5-up). Gives readers of any age a ready and easy reference for finding our place in the physical universe. Also The Comet and You (5-up).

Kudlinski, Kathleen V., Boy, Were We Wrong about Dinosaurs! (4-10). Picture book explains how our knowledge about dinosaurs was formed, showing that information and theories continually change.

Lorenz, Konrad Z., King Solomon's Ring (12-up). Informative and amusing anecdotes about animals by one of the founders of modern ethology.

Maxwell, Gavin, The Otters' Tale (8-14). Appealing, factual account of three adopted otters, abounding in photos; based on the author's Ring of Bright Water.

Miles, Betty, Save the Earth! An Ecology Handbook for Kids (7-11). Discusses land, air, and water pollution, with projects that illustrate ecological problems and possible solutions.

Milord, Susan, The Kids' Nature Book: 365 Indoor/Outdoor Activities and Experiences (all ages). Informative, thoughtful, and originally presented, it sharpens observation of nature; ideal for family participation, black and white illustrations on every page.

Muir, John, retold by Donnell Rubay, Stickeen: John Muir and the Brave Little Dog (4-12). Picture book tells of Muir's growing friendship with a dog who comes with him on a dangerous Alaskan adventure.

Poortvliet, Rien, Dogs (8-up). The author's illustrations — some done for accuracy, others for humorous effect — and anecdotes about his own well-loved dogs make this an unusually appealing tribute to dogs of many types.

Pringle, Laurence, The Gentle Desert: Exploring an Ecosystem (8-12). Study of North American deserts, their plants and animals, and human impact on them; author of many nature and environmental books.

Provensen, Alice and Martin, Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm (3-7) and The Year at Maple Hill Farm (3-7). Character and idiosyncrasies of the animals on the authors' farm, and their experience of the passing seasons in these picture books.

Rotner, Shelley and Ken Kreisler, Nature Spy (4-7). Photographs encourage youngsters to take a close look at the world around them.

Selsam, Millicent, Backyard Insects (2-5), and All Kinds of Babies (2-5). Two of the author's appealing science books for the very young.

Simon, Seymour, Hidden Worlds: Pictures of the Invisible (5-up). X-ray, scanning electron microscope, telescope, and stop action are among the techniques used to gain an unusual view of the world.

—— Look to the Night Sky: An Introduction to Star Watching (5-up). This practical text helps children grasp the awesome magnificence of our solar system and universe; author of many science books for children.

Sheldrake, Rupert, The Presence of the Past (15-up). Lucid discussion of the inadequacies of present scientific theories of causation, which are contrasted with the author's ideas of formative causation, including morphic fields.

Suzuki, David, Looking at Plants (7-12). Introduction to plants, with projects to help children discover nature for themselves. Also Looking at Insects (7-12).

Tresselt, Alvin, The Gift of the Tree (4-10). The process of an oak dying and returning to the soil, aided by many animals and plants, is poetically told in this picture book; formerly titled The Dead Tree.

Weiss, Malcolm E., Sky Watchers of Ages Past (10-up). Thoughtful discussion of how and why ancient peoples tracked astronomical objects, using various Amerindian, Egyptian, and Ancient European examples.

Wick, Walter, A Drop of Water, (6-up). Exceptional photographs and thoughtful text explain many characteristics of water, ice, snow, clouds, soap bubbles, etc., in this picture book.


Aragon, Jane Chelsea, Salt Hands (3-7). In the middle of the night a young girl watches a deer that comes and licks salt from her hands.

Baker, Jeannie, Window (4-10). Wordless picture book of elaborate collages shows how a little boy's wilderness home in Australia is engulfed by the city as the years go by. Also Home.

Banks, Kate, A Gift from the Sea (5-11). With few words, this picture book suggests the many adventures a rock has undergone from the time of the dinosaurs till a boy finds it at the beach.

Barker, Cicely Mary, Flower Fairy Series (2-6). Accurate paintings of plants, shown with their "fairies," with poems giving information about the plants. Series includes "Spring," "Summer," "Trees," "Garden," and many more.

Blake, Robert J., The Perfect Spot (4-up). In this picture book, a boy and his artist father walk through the woods looking for the perfect spot to paint.

Burnford, Sheila, The Incredible Journey (9-up). The friendship among two dogs and a cat, and their will to survive, on a 250-mile trek through the Canadian wilderness.

Burningham, John, Hey! Get Off Our Train (3-9). Picture book where one night a boy and his dog go around the world on his toy train, letting endangered animals join them one by one.

Carrighar, Sally, One Day on Beetle Rock (12-up). Fictionalized but scientifically accurate account of a June day in the life of various members of the animal community in the High Sierras.

Cherry, Lynne, The Great Kapok Tree (5-11). Centered on the interdependence of rainforest life and the importance of preserving the trees.

Fish, Helen Dean, When the Root Children Wake Up (4-8). Beautifully illustrated story from the early 1900s about the waking of life in spring, its flourishing in summer, and its return to the earth in autumn.

George, Jean Craighead, Julie of the Wolves (11-14). An Eskimo girl, protected by wolves while lost on the tundra, gains appreciation of her heritage and her oneness with nature.

—— My Side of the Mountain (10-up). A city boy survives in the wilderness, learning about the plants and animals.

—— Who Really Killed Cock Robin (9-14). An ecological detective story, where young investigators discover how interrelated seemingly separate or trivial environmental factors are.

Goffstein, M. B., Natural History (3-6). Simple, effective presentation of the brotherhood of all life.

Holling, Holling Clancy, Pagoo (6-9). The life story of a hermit crab, beautifully illustrated.

Lampman, Evelyn Sibley, The City under the Back Steps (7-12). Two children become tiny and are forced to take an active role in the life of a colony of ants, whom they come to respect.

McNulty, Faith, The Lady and the Spider (4-8). A gardener spares a spider living in her lettuce plant; brings out the value of all life.

Morey, Walt, Canyon Winter (11-up). A city boy, stranded in the wild for six months with an old prospector, gains strength, understanding, and a true friend; plea for environmental responsibility and appreciation of nature.

Mowat, Farley, Owls in the Family (9-12). Humorous story of a boy's love of nature — especially animals — while growing up in Canada.

Robertson, Keith, In Search of a Sandhill Crane (10-14). A teenager from the city matures while staying with his aunt in the country.

Rounds, Glen, The Blind Colt (5-11). Tells how a blind wild colt survives his first year in the Badlands of Montana, finally to be befriended by a young boy; fine nature descriptions.

Salten, Felix, Bambi: A Life in the Woods (6-10). Classic story of a deer, and of man's impact on the forest.

Seton, Ernest Thompson, Lives of the Hunted (10-up) and Wild Animals I Have Known (10-up). Beautifully told, but often sad, stories of animals by a master nature author.

Seuss, Dr., The Lorax (4-8). Fable on the importance of preserving the environment.

Simon, Mina and Howard, If You Were an Eel, How Would You Feel (3-6). Imaginative, poetic presentation of various animals.

Skofield, James, All Wet! All Wet! (3-7). Wordless story about nature seen by a small boy on a rainy day.

Smith, E. Boyd, The Farm Book (4-9). Simple story of two city children spending time on a farm, as well as beautiful, accurate illustrations, reveal New England rural life and values in 1910.

Tejima, Keizaburo, The Bears' Autumn (2-7). Striking double-page color woodcuts depicting a bear and cub fishing for salmon at night. Also Owl Lake (3-8).

Titchenell, Elsa-Brita, Once Round the Sun (5-9). Combining science with fun, Peter's "Big Year" provides many lessons about natural rhythms and phenomena.

Theosophical University Press Online Edition