Animals

Bug Scientists [SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE]

by Jackson, Donna M.

Animals

Difficulty: Challenging

SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE

“By following the footsteps of several bug scientists, we take a closer look at the extraordinary bugs that crawl, swim, and whiz past us. We travel from an outdoor classroom in Indiana to the rain forests of Costa Rica, all in pursuit of a better understanding of bugs, glorious bugs.”

Age Range: 8 – 12

Lexile: 1200

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed. D.

ChallengingThe Bug Scientist

Butterflies and Moths [ACTIVATE & CONNECT]

by Bishop, Nic

Animals

Difficulty: Average

ACTIVATE & CONNECT

An eye-catching exploration of butterflies and moths with breathtaking full-page images, Nic Bishop introduces young readers to the beauty and diversity of these amazing insects, from the shockingly bright blue morpho butterfly to the nearly transparent glasswing butterfly to the mouthless luna moth. The simple, engaging text presents both basic information and fun, quirky facts about the insects’ appearance, habits, and life cycle, including a double gatefold spread of a butterfly in flight.

Age Range: 4 – 8

Lexile 890

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

AverageButterflies and Moths

Chameleon, Chameleon [MONITOR COMPREHENSION]

by Cowley, Joy. Photos by Bishop, Nic

Animals

Difficulty: Easy Reading

MONITOR COMPREHENSION

Experience close-up the many moods (and colors) of chameleons through incredible photographs. One brave chameleon ventures from the safety of his tree in search of a new home.

Age Range: 4 – 8

Lexile 180

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Easy ReadingChameleon, Chameleon

Do All Spiders Spin Webs? Questions and Answers about Spiders [SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE]

by Berger, Melvin and Gilda

Animals

Difficulty: Average

SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE

“Readers will quickly find the answers to such questions as ‘How strong is a spider’s silk thread? Do spiders make sounds? How did a spider help win a war?’ Other details are also covered about the variety of spiders and how they spin webs.”

Age Range: 7 – 12

Recommended by Joan Kindig. Ed.D.

AverageDo All Spiders Spin Webs?

ER Vets [MONITOR COMPREHENSION]

by Jackson, Donna M.

Animals

Difficulty: Average

MONITOR COMPREHENSION With dramatic full-color photos throughout, award-winning author Donna Jackson brings to life the inner workings of an animal emergency room, profiling the important work ER veterinarians and nurses do.

Age Range: 8 – 12

Recommended by Joan Kindig

AverageER Vets

Frogs [ACTIVATE & CONNECT]

by Bishop, Nic

Animals

Difficulty: Challenging

ACTIVATE & CONNECT

“For the first- to third-grade set, frogs are an endless source of fascination, especially when looked at VERY close up. See tiny poison dart frogs and mammoth bullfrogs, as Nic Bishop’s amazing images show the beauty and diversity of frogs from around the globe. And simple, engaging text conveys basic information about frogs — as well as cool and quirky facts. Nic Bishop Frogs is a fun and informative tour through an exciting amphibian world.”

Age Range: 4 – 10

Lexile: 890L

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

ChallengingFrogs by Nic Bishop

Hidden Worlds: Looking Through a Scientist’s Microscope [SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE]

by Kramer, Stephen. Photos by Kunkel, Dennis

Animals

Difficulty: Challenging

SUMMARIZE AND SYNTHESIZE

“There are hidden worlds in nature, places you can visit only with a microscope. For more than twenty-five years, Dennis Kunkel has been exploring these worlds. Through the lenses of powerful microscopes, he has examined objects most people have never even thought about: a mosquito’s foot, a crystal of sugar, a grain of pollen, the delicate hairs on a blade of grass. Hidden Worlds takes you behind the scenes of Dennis’s work and explains how he captures his remarkable images of microscopic life and objects. You’ll learn how Dennis became interested in microscopes as a boy, how he prepares specimens for study, and how different kinds of microscopes work. You’ll also have the chance to follow Dennis as he collects in the fields from the ash-covered slopes of Mount St. Helens to the lava tubes, rainforests, and beaches of his home state of Hawaii.”

Age Range: 9 – 11

Lexile: 1040

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed. D.

ChallengingHidden Worlds

Knut: How One Little Polar Bear Captivated the World [SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE]

by Hatkoff, Juliana, Isabella, and Greg; Uhlich, Gerald R.

Animals

Difficulty: Challenging

SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE

Illustrated with photographs.

“When Knut was born, the first polar bear cub at the Berlin Zoo in more than thirty years, he was no bigger than a snowball and unable to care for himself. His mother, a rescued East German circus bear, didn’t know how to take care of Knut and rejected him. Knut would have died if it weren’t for Thomas Dorflein, a zookeeper who nurtured Knut, feeding him, sleeping with him, and giving him the love and attention Knut needed to thrive. But Thomas wasn’t the only one who adopted Knut. The adorable little polar bear captured the world’s attention, and now Knut is loved around the globe.”

Age Range: 4 – 9

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

ChallengingKnut

Never Smile at a Monkey: And 17 Other Important Things to Remember [ASK QUESTIONS]

by Jenkins, Steve

Animal

Difficulty: Average

ASK QUESTIONS

“Youngsters know that many creatures are dangerous. Here, Steve Jenkins chooses to focus on some whose threats are not obvious. He devotes one or two pages to each of eighteen animals that can be hazardous in a variety of ways. “Never ” warns each informative introduction. The sentences finish “pet a platypus,” “collect a cone shell,” “harass a hippopotamus,” “jostle a jellyfish,” or “step on a stingray.” This liberal use of alliteration leads to descriptions of the unfortunate consequences of such actions. The final advice: “NEVER smile at a monkey!” It warns that showing your teeth may be interpreted as an aggressive gesture, and the result may be violent. Jenkins achieves remarkable naturalistic results with his cut paper collages; he designs his pages using extra-large type for the headings and blocks of regular text for the descriptions. The final four pages offer further information along with a small picture of each creature included in the text and a bibliography.”

Age Range: 4 – 8

Lexile 920 AD

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

AverageNever Smile at a Monkey

Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship [ACTIVATE & CONNECT]

by Hatkoff, Isabella and Craig; Kahumba, Paula. Photos by Greste, Peter

Animals

Difficulty: Challenging

ACTIVATE & CONNECT

“The inspiring true story of two great friends, a baby hippo named Owen and a 130-yr-old giant tortoise named Mzee (Mm-ZAY). When Owen was stranded after the Dec 2004 tsunami, villagers in Kenya worked tirelessly to rescue him. Then, to everyone’s amazement, the orphan hippo and the elderly tortoise adopted each other. Now they are inseparable, swimming, eating, and playing together. Adorable photos e-mailed from friend to friend quickly made them worldwide celebrities. Here is a joyous reminder that in times of trouble, friendship is stronger than the differences that too often pull us apart.”

Age Range: 4 – 10 Lexile: AD920L

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

ChallengingOwen and Mzee

Owney, the Mail-Pouch Pooch [INFER & VISUALIZE]

by Kerby, Mary

Animals

Difficulty: Easy Reading

INFER & VISUALIZE

“One rainy night in 1888, a stray dog wandered into the U.S. Post Office in Albany, New York. Workers found him the next morning asleep on a pile of mail pouches. The dog seemed to like the post office and the smell of the mailbags and the men’s wool uniforms. When no one came to claim him, they named him Owney and made him their pet. However, Owney’s loyalty and sense of adventure soon made it clear he wasn’t just an average mutt. Over the course of nine years, Owney guarded the mail, not only in Albany but on mail trains that traveled all over the United States.

Accompanied by lively pen-and-watercolor illustrations, this is a delightful true story of a special dog whose faithful service earned him a trip around the world. Owney can be seen in the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.”

Age Range: 5 – 8

Lexile 730 AD

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Easy ReadingOwney the Mail Pouch Pooch

Red-Eyed Tree Frog [MONITOR COMPREHENSION]

by Cowley, Joy. Photos by Bishop, Nic

Animals

Difficulty: Easy Reading

MONITOR COMPREHENSION

In a tropical rain forest in Central America, a red-eyed tree frog spends the night looking for food while avoiding potential predators. Award-winning photographer Nic Bishop’s larger-than-life, gorgeous images document the hunt, which ends happily with the frog settling down in the leaves to spend his daylight hours sleeping!

Age Range: 4 – 8

Lexile 350 AD

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Easy ReadingRed-Eyed Tree Frog

Secrets of Sound: Studying the Calls and Songs of Whales, Elephants, and Birds [SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE]

by Sayre, April Pulley

Animals

Difficulty: Challenging

SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE

“Can whales communicate across miles of vast ocean? Can elephants talk to one another with sounds we cannot hear? These are the kinds of questions that drive the work of acoustic biologists. Follow three creative scientists: Christopher W., Clark, Katy Payne, and Bill Evans as they research why and how animals communicate. Through remarkable photographs and stories about all sorts of animals, this book celebrates the challenges of lab work and fieldwork and the thrill of discovery.”

Age Range: 6 – 14

Lexile 1060L

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed. D.

ChallengingSecrets of Sound

Snake Scientist [SUMMARIZE AND SYNTHESIZE]

by Montgomery, Sy. Photos by Bishop, Nic

Animals

Difficulty: Challenging

SUMMARIZE AND SYNTHESIZE

“Dr. Robert Mason, the current recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Young Investigator Award, has been studying a mysterious phenomenon for over fifteen years – one of the most extraordinary events of the natural world – the reemergence from a winter spent in a state of suspended animation in subterranean caverns of tens of thousands of red-sided garter snakes – the world’s largest concentration of snakes. The work of scientists can often seem mysterious and intimidating to the nonscientist. No longer! Introducing an exciting perspective on the important work of scientists in all areas of research and study. Scientists in the Field show people immersed in the unpredictable and dynamic natural world, making science more accessible, relevant, and exciting to young readers. Far from the research laboratory, these books show first-hand adventures in the great outdoors – adventures with a purpose, from climbing into a snake den with thousands of slithering snakes to tracking wolves.”

Age Range: 7 – 10

Lexile: 0930L

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

ChallengingThe Snake Scientist

Spiders [SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE]

by Simon, Deymour

Animals

Difficulty: Average

SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE

“Simon uses absolutely stunning visuals as he presents information about spiders in clearly-written, understandable prose without talking down to his reader.”

“An introduction to the physical characteristics, behavior, and life cycle of different kinds of spiders.”

Age Range: 5 – 11

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

AverageSpiders by Seymour Simon

Spiders [SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE]

by Bishop, Nic

Animals

Difficulty: Average

SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE

“For the first to third grade set, spiders are fascinating and suitably gruesome, especially when looked at in EXTREME close-up. Amazing images show the beauty and otherworldliness of spiders. Simple, engaging text conveys basic information about spiders as well as cool and quirky facts. One stop-action montage shows a spider leaping twenty times its body length!”

Age Range: 4 – 10

AverageSpiders by Nic Bishop

Spiders! [SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE]

by Iorio, Nichole (Time for Kids Series)

Animals

Difficulty: Average

SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE

“From deserts to forests to inside your living room, spiders are everywhere! You can spot the sticky webs that they weave to catch their dinners. Spiders can be many different colors and move in surprising ways. Some roll across the sand. Others walk on water!

In SPIDERS!, TIME For Kids ® unravels the mysteries of these amazing eight-legged creatures.”

Age Range: 6 – 9

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

AverageSpiders by Iorio

Spiders: Biggest! Littlest! [SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE]

by Markle, Sandra. Photos by Pollard, Simon

Animals

Difficulty: Challenging

SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE

“Did you know the female Golden Orb Web spider builds the world’s biggest web? Her silk trap may be as wide as two cars parked side by side! Golden Orb Spiders may also hook their webs together. This may make a trap that is two stories tall! The Golden Orb Web Spider’s silk is so strong that the web can last for years. Local fisherman used to take the spider’s web to use as a fishing net Readers will love the detailed and intense photographs that combine with this non-fiction picture book text. Young readers will also find a map of each spider’s location, and a small glossary.”

Age Range: 4 – 10

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

ChallengingSpiders Biggest! Littlest!

Togo [INFER & VISUALIZE]

by Blake, Robert

Animals

Difficulty: Average

INFER & VISUALIZE

“Togo is a spirited puppy, determined to be a sled dog even though his owner, Leonhard Seppala, does not think he has what it takes. He’s small for a Siberian husky, and much too independent. When he is only eight months old, he breaks through a fence and finds his owner’s team on a supply run; it takes only a day for him to prove himself as a musher. Soon the young dog is leading his team in races, and breaking speed records every time. When Togo is eight years old, Seppala is asked to make an emergency relay run to pick up a serum that can stop the diphtheria epidemic threatening the entire population of Nome, AK. Togo leads his team over 350 miles through storms, suffering terribly, and with almost no rest. While it is another dog, Balto, that became famous for the serum run of 1925, he actually led the final team in the relay, running 53 miles. Many people feel that Togo is an unsung hero, and so will readers, who will feel the terrible cold depicted chillingly in Blake’s paintings. The urgency and desperation come across clearly in both the dramatic text and the full-page impressionistic paintings. The dogs are not anthropomorphized, but their expressions are haunting. Pair this first-rate historical adventure with Natalie Standiford’s The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto (Random, 1989).”

Age Range: 4 – 9

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

AverageTogo

Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival [ACTIVATE & CONNECT]

by Larson, Kirby and Nethery, Mary. Issustrated by Cassels, Jean

Animals

Difficulty: Average

ACTIVATE & CONNECT

“Neither Bobbi the dog nor Bob Cat has a tail, and some say that’s what brought them together.” Abandoned during the Katrina evacuations, pets Bobbi and Bob Cat wander dangerous, debris-strewn streets seeking food and water. Eventually taken to a rescue shelter, the Bobbies show distress when separated but remain calm when together. Workers then discover that Bob Cat is blind and that Bobbi seems to serve as his seeing-eye dog. A national news appearance ultimately results in the animals’ shared adoption in a happy new home.”

Age Range: 4 – 8

Lexile 810

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

AverageTwo Bobbies

Whaling Season: A Year in the Life of an Arctic Whale Scientist [SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE]

by Lourie, Peter

Animals

Difficulty: Challenging

SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE

Photo essay.

“Native Inuit Eskimos consider themselves the People of the Whale. The harvesting of whales is a significant part of their culture. This series book follows an Arctic whale scientist in Barrow, Alaska, throughout the year as he participates in the traditional harvesting of the bowhead or Greenland right whale by the Inuit. He takes samples, studies migration routes, and monitors the numbers and health of these whales. The traditional whalers and scientists cooperate to maintain both the culture and a sustainable population of the whales.”

– Scientists in the Field Series Series

Age Range: 12 and up, younger for photographs

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

ChallengingWhaling Season

Wildlife Detectives: How Forensic Scientists Fight Crimes Against Nature [SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE]

by Jackson, Donna M. Photo by Shattil, Wendy and Rozinsksi, Bob

Animals

Difficulty: Challenging

SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE

“It’s one thing to pass a law protecting endangered species; it’s another to enforce it, as U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers well know. Fortunately, they have a unique weapon in their anti-poaching arsenal: the world’s only crime laboratory specifically designed to examine animal evidence.”

– Scientist in the Field Series

Age Range: 8 – 12

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

ChallengingThe Wildlife Detectives

Woods Scientist [SUMMARIZE & SYNTHESIZE]

by Swineburne, Stephen R. Photos by Morse, Susan C.

Animals

Difficulty: Challenging

SUMMARIZE AND SYNTHESIZE

“Sue Morse is at home in the woods; she has read the woods ever since she could remember. She believes that by reading the forests she can help save them. So outside the door of her small cabin lies her laboratory: the rich and extensive forest and all of the creatures who live there. Revealing just how active and engaging science and scientists can be, this book also gives us a closer glimpse into the vulnerable homes of bear, lynx, deer, bobcat, and all the dwellers of the woods.”

Age Range: 9 – 12

Lexile: 1110L

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

ChallengingWoods Scientist