With spring in full swing, bookstores and libraries are sprouting with books about the environment. Here are a few that offer a smart take on the natural world as well as being fun to read.
“Out of the Way! Out of the Way!” By Uma Krishnaswami and Uma Krishnaswamy (Groundwood Books, ages 4-6).
This book uses charming illustrations and poetic language to tell the unlikely story of how a tree grows in a sprawling city in India.
“Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle”
Claire A. Nivola (Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers/
Frances Foster Books, ages 6-9)
Sylvia Earle is one of the most important pioneers in the exploration of the deep sea. Her work has helped broaden our understanding of the oceans and the creatures that live in them. What makes this book exceptional is the way it uses Earle’s own words to describe the sea. Challenging the traditional image of whales as “big and fat and ponderous and lumpy,” Earle declares, “Whales are like swallows . . . like otters. . . . They move in all directions. . . . Rollicking, frolicking creatures, doing all this wonderful dancing in the sea.”
“Marty McGuire Digs Worms!”
By Kate Messner and Brian Floca (Scholastic Press, ages 6-9)
It’s hard to think of cafeteria composting as the topic for a good chapter book, but Messner and Floca pull it off. It’s the characters who make this book entertaining, whether it’s Marty’s wildlife rehabilitator mom or her inventive Grandma Barb, who thinks both worm slime and duct tape have essential uses.
“How to Raise Monarch Butterflies: A Step-by-Step Guide for Kids” By Carol Pasternak (Firefly Books: ages 8-12)
Reading about insects is one thing; learning to raise them is another. Pasternak has written a clear, practical and family-friendly guide to raising butterflies, which includes plenty of compelling scientific information along the way and ends by explaining what we can do to save their habitat.
“The Lorax Pop Up!”
By Dr. Seuss, with pop-ups by David A. Carter (Robin Corey Books, All ages)
Perhaps you saw the movie version of “The Lorax,” but we all know that the original book is better than the movie. This pop-up version can give kids of all ages a new appreciation of Dr. Seuss’s pro-environment message.
— Juliet Eilperin