Smoky the Cowhorse by Will James (published 1926) is an animal book telling of one young horse from the day he was born until his old age retirement. Smoky learns in a free, mountainous home for his early years, is broken in as a cow horse by a loving cowboy, spends years rounding up cattle,

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The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting (published 1922) continues the story of the special doctor that talks to animals, John Dolittle, but this time with a different tone and child’s perspective. In this volume, the doctor travels across the ocean to the coast of Brazil to find his naturalist friend on his floating

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Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Emily Sutton (Candlewick, 2020) is a gloriously illustrated book has a nice balance of illustration to detailed factual text. It teaches about the variety of life on earth, including animals, plants, fungi, and microbes. Italicized sidebars also expand upon the read-aloud text with

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With a wordless story frame illustrating a family going for a walk in the park with their dock, A Mammal is an Animal by Lizzy Rockwell (Holiday House, January 2018) explains the differences between mammals, birds, and other animals. In the picture book, the illustrated family explores the unique creatures around them and learn about

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In middle grade graphic novel Saving Sunshine by Saadia Faruqi (First Second, September 2023), twin teenagers must face the ultimate punishment this vacation: no cell phones. It’s not a permanent punishment, but it sure feels like it. They can only get them back when they can get along without fighting. While their parents attend a

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In the Woods: An Adventure for Your Senses by Mariona Tolosa Sisteré (OwlKids Books, September 2023) is the in action tale of a family going on a walk in the woods. With bright paintings to show the action, parent and child dialogue tell of the smells, sights, sounds, and textures that the children and grownups

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The Imaginary Alphabet by Sylvie Daigneault (Pajama Press, September 2023) is a gorgeous addition to an alliterative abecedaria book shelf. Each spread features a letter of the alphabet with an alliterative phrase. The imaginative illustrations, done with colored pencil, bring the silly sentences to life. For example, one favorite of mine is “Quick-tempered Quails Quarrelling

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Antarctica: A Continent of Wonder by Mario Cuesta Hernando and Raquel Martin (Prestel Publishing, English 2021; originally published in Spanish, 2020 Mosquito Books) is a gorgeous large format upper elementary nonfiction picture book about the frozen continent and the animals to be found there. With a first person narration about a trip to the continent,

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Riding an ostrich? It’s a long shot, but Suzy Bowles hopes that’s her key to finally leaving her small Michigan town in Long Road to the Circus by Betsy Bird (Knopf, 2021). Her story entails a one-of-a-kind summer in the 1920s in this historical fiction novel for young readers. Long Road to the Circus is

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