Maeve Visser Knoth: 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Picture Books Featuring Animals

So you know a preschooler who is in love with animals? There are plenty of books starring animals but I would separate them into a few different categories. First there are books in which animals behave and dress like people. I won't include those on this list. Certainly Curious George is a great book, as are Kevin Henkes' Chester's Way and Sheila Rae the Brave but I don't really think of those as animal stories.

A child who loves animals will find a lot to like in the folklore collection at the library. Try some of Verna Aardema's stories and books by Mwene Hadithi. These are long stories for a child with a good attention span for picture books. The language is beautiful (reflecting the oral origins of the folk tales) and there is often a lot of humor.

The following is a list of books that feature animals in one way or another. Some, like the stories of Beatrix Potter, have animals dressed in human dress, but her detailed illustrations (drawn from live animals) express the spirit of the animals. Others, like the books of Joanne Ryder, bring the reader deeply into the natural world.


Aardema, Verna Rabbit Makes a Monkey of Lion
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears
Anno Anno's Animals
Aruego, Jose We Hide, You Seek
Barrett, Judi Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing
Baylor, Byrd Desert Voices
Brown, Marcia Once a Mouse
Brown, Margaret Wise The Big Red Barn
Burningham, John Mr. Gumpy's Outing
Cole, Joanna My Puppy is Born (this is in non-fiction)
Fleming, Denise In the Small Small Pond
Geisert,Arthur Oink
Gibbons, Gail Zoo (she has many other simple non-fiction books about animals)
Ginsburg, Mirra The Fox and the Hare
Graham, Bob "Let's Get a Pup", Said Kate
Griffith, Helen Grandaddy's Place
Grimm Bremen Town Musicians (there are many good versions)
Hadithi, Mwenye Tricky Tortoise
Heller, Ruth Animals Born Alive and Well
Herriot, James Only One Woof
Hirschi, Ron Forest
Jonas, Ann Aardvarks Disembark
Kuskin, Karla Roar and More
Lindbergh, Reeve Johnny Appleseed (not about animals, but there are many wonderful animals hidden in the illustrations)
Lindbergh, Reeve The Day The goose Got Loose
Lobel, Arnold Fables
Machotka, Hana Breathtaking Noses
Marris, Ron In My Garden
Martin, Rafe Will's Mammoth
Parnall, Peter Winter Barn
Potter, Beatrix Tale of Two Bad Mice
Provensen, Alice The Year at Maple Hill Farm
Simont, Marc The Stray
Tafuri, Nancy Do Not Disturb

This list, I realize, is woefully unsatisfying. When my daughter went through her gorilla stage, we read picture books about gorillas and pored through the non-fiction shelves for books with information about gorillas. We read about Koko, the sing-language speaking gorilla and we read about Peggy Rathmann's ingenious animal who is able to sneak the zookeeper's key and get out for the night in Goodnight Gorilla. The books on this list are just a starting point. Browse the shelves, look for other books by these authors. What else do you want? Ask.