Books in all shapes and sizes allows the reader a close look at animals in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes these books don’t need to be nonfiction. Fictional animal stories are as old as the ages. Animal stories can help people to take a closer look at our own thoughts and feelings.
I’ll Be A Chicken Too by Lana Vanderlee, illustrated by Mike Deas, is a delightful romp through a world of fantasy. This board book for the youngest readers as a lovely lyrical text with perfect rhyming, a great story to read out loud at bedtime. The humorous illustrations show a parent and children having fun as they pretend to be anything from elephants to skunks to otters. The story starts in bed with chickens and comes full circle after visiting many places and animals in between. ISBN 978-1-4598-3555-9, Orca Book Publishers
Serge the Snail Without a Shell, Harriet Lye and Rosa Rankin, art by Andrea Blinick This, too, is a rhyming story to share aloud with young readers.
Serge the Slug want to fit in at school where the snails tease him for not having a shell. He finds many wonderful shells on the beach but none of them seem quite right. Once Serge realizes that he is perfect the way he is, is accepts being a slug and finds joy in having the whole world as his home. A fun story with an underlying message about being who you are. ISBN 978-1-77471-150-7, Nimbus Publishing
Grasshopper by Titiana Ukhova is a quiet story about backyard nature. A girl spends a lazy afternoon in her wonderful, green garden. She notices how ants eat her apple core. She observes beetles and all sorts of insects around her on the flowers and in the grass. When she catches a grasshopper, there are different consequences. She keeps him in a jar but soon learns that all animals, even insects, should go free. A lovely, wordless picturebook about nature.
ISBN 978-1-77164-692-5, Greystone Kids
The Animals Come Out, by Susan Vande Griek, with art by Josée Bisaillon, was inbspired by the Covid pandemic. When people stayed indoors, they noticed animals who now ventured into the quiet cities. ‘Out from the woods trail the timid deer.’ The ducks come out of the ponds and the parks, while rabbits and coyotes explore the urban streets. A lovely look at animals with whom we share this earth, all venturing among houses and roads and observed by people from their windows. ISBN 978-1-77306-675-2, Groundwood Books
Calabash Cat and his amazing journey, James Rumford.
A bilingual story in English and Persian, this story is based in Chad, Central Africa. The amazing illustrations are based on traditional wood-burning designs by the Kotoko peope of Chad. Reminiscent of traditional legends, Calabash Cat is curious to see where the world ends. So he set off on a journey. When the road stops at the beginning of the desert, he figures this is the end of the world. But Camel corrects him and shows him more of the world. Each time the environment changes, he learns from different animals that there is more to the world than he ever imagined. He sees grasslands and jungle, even oceans and sky, and learns along the way that there is no end to the world and its wonders. ISBN 978-0618224234, HMH Books for Young Readers
Two Green Birds by Geraldo Valério is a chapter book that will appeal to young wildlife lovers. Francisco’s grandmother was given two wild parakeets. They sit in a cage hanging in her guava tree. They are the most beautiful birds he has ever seen. But no matter how well they care for them, how hard they try different foods, the two birds only shiver together on their perch and will not eat. When a wild flock of parakeets visits the garden and talks to them, Francisco and his grandmother know what to do. Perhaps wild birds were never meant to live in a cage. A gentle story about the need for freedom. ISBN 978-1-77306-795-7, Groundwood Books
Margriet Ruurs is a Canadian author whose books about animals include Emma’s Eggs and Amazing Animals. www.margrietruurs.com