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Book Review: Top Informational Nature Books for Kids

Posted on 10/29/2019
by Rene Stroud, Naturalist and her daughter, June, 1st Grade Nature Lover
It's time for another book review! As you may remember my daughter & I set out to pick our five favorite nature books this year but had a little problem, too many great books! So we divided our list into storybooks with a plot & "informational" books full of facts so that we could pick 10 books.

Our storybooks list came out this summer, but fall is here & the winter weather will soon make indoor activities a must so here is our second review for your reading pleasure. Here is "Part 2 Book Review, the Top 5 Non-Fiction Informational Nature Books as Identified by a Mom & a First Grader" we hope you find some new favorites in our list.

To choose our top "guides" or "informational" books we had to identify the books we loved that didn't incorporate a story but instead provide non-fiction, accurate, scientific information for young readers. Many people may think these non-fiction books are too dry to be entertaining ... but they'd be wrong! Non-fiction informational books are a great way to inspire young nature lovers to learn more about the world around them & give these young learners a solid scientific bedrock as they move through science classes in school. 

#5 - What If You Had Animal Eyes by Sandra Markle

This book is part of a series of books that try to explain the ways animals are different by relating those differences back to humans. How are animal eyes different than human eyes, how do they see, how do they move, what adaptations do they have to help the animal survive? They are easy to ready cover to cover by a first grader so they also inspire independent reading. 

Why mom likes this book: I appreciate how confusing & alien animal adaptations are related in easily understandable language with examples.

Why June likes this book: I like looking at the funny pictures & learning about all the animal adaptions.

#4 - Amazing Giant Wild Animals by Marie Greenwood and Polly Appleton

This book is super! Covering a large number of different animals with the perfect amount of detail it is sure to keep the interest of older children & it's amazing pictures & durable pages are perfect for younger children too. This book is full of interesting & informative details about animals you may not see every day & features interactive fold out flaps to get readers involved with the information. 

Why mom likes this book: This book takes a broad look at a lot of animals, providing just enough age appropriate information in a simple, easy to understand way making it entertaining & informative. June even used this book as a primary source for a school report on camels 

Why June likes this book: I like unfolding the pages to find the giant animal!

#3 - EWW! Critter Litter by Stan Tekiela

This book is a relatively new addition to our collection by noted photographer, nature writer & previous Hitchcock Nature Center guest speaker, Stan Tekiela. It has amazing photos, which Stan's fans have come to expect from this prolific author. These photos make it a hybrid picture/guide book that is fun for a broad age group.  It takes a look at what animals leave behind & is a great way to help kids hone their observation skills for the next time they head outdoors. Kids get a kick out of it because, well, it’s all about poop.

Why mom likes this book: I love the photos, they are funny & memorable, & it presents some important information without kids even knowing it.

Why June likes this book: I love flipping the flaps to find the poop or scat & that it is right next the butt!

#2 - Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll by Franklyn Barnley

As a naturalist I love this book. This book explains common weather phenomena with really terrific & narrative illustration. It covers complicated topics like storm cloud mechanics to lightning in an easy to understand & discuss kind of way. If your child is remotely curious about the weather this is a good book.

Why mom likes this book: I love all things related to the science of weather & this is the perfect book to help me share that love with my daughter.

Why June likes this book: It helps me to understand the weather & how it changes & why it changes.

 #1 - You can be a Nature Detective by Peggy Kochanoff

This is a terrific resource for kids in North America because it focuses mostly on species they are likely to encounter in their own back yards. This is a much more informative & advanced book than the others on that list but don't let that detour you, tackle it a few pages at a time & make it a shared read, you won't be sorry. 

Why mom likes this book: It's got great info for your next hike, pick a few things that you are going to look for each time you head out on an adventure. 

Why June likes this book: I like learning all the Nature clues in the book then finding them outside. I really like the bugs too.

No matter what book you choose, reading about the natural world with a youngster is a lot of fun. For us, it often inspires us to make plans and go outside to rediscover the natural world together.

Read our previous blog Part 1 Book Review, the Top 5 Nature Story Books as Identified by a Mom & a First Grader!


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