animals, humor, tween

Squirrel in the Museum


Author: Vivian Vande Velde
Illustrator: Steve Björkman
Publisher: Holiday House
Genre: Middle grade
ISBN: 978-0-8234-4167-9
Pages: 112
Price: $15.99

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Twitch, the squirrel, has heard stories about wolves who eat squirrels. Twitch doesn’t want to be eaten, but he has no idea what a wolf is. So when the students are going to the museum, he decides to tag along and see if he can learn about wolves.

No one expects to see a squirrel in a museum, so the staff are understandably upset, especially when the squirrel becomes a disruption to the exhibits and proves difficult to catch. But when it appears that Twitch might meet a fate worse than wolves, an unexpected hero comes to his defense.

Squirrel in the Museum is a madcap adventure to the museum through the eyes of a squirrel. Fast-paced, zany action will delight young readers who will enjoy reading about Twitch’s escapades.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, children, Christian

Night Night Zoo


Author: Amy Parker
Illustrator: Virginia Allyn
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-4003-1014-2
Pages: 20
Price: $9.99

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Illustrator’s website
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The zookeepers have locked up and gone home for the day, but the animals still have to get ready for bed. Hippos, gazelles, elephants, and many others all have a nightly routine. As each animal family prepares for bed, kids are encouraged to wish them a good night’s sleep through the repeating refrain, “Night night [animals].” A box at the bottom right corner introduces the next animals they will see.

Finally, everyone is tucked in for the night. All the animals are now asleep, and this charming bedtime board book closes with the message that God is in control, even in a zoo.  Night Night Zoo is the perfect bedtime story for children who love animals.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, audio book, nature

Sounds of the Night


Author: Brent A. Ford
Publisher: nVizn Ideas
Genre: Children / Nature
ISBN: 9781947348745
Pages: 40
Price: $11.95

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Nighttime animal sounds make a summer symphony that’s a joy to hear. But what are the animals that make them? Curious kids can find out by listening to Sounds of the Night.

This unique interactive book uses QR codes for kids to listen to various sounds of the night. Its opening track is a long segment of night sounds that includes all the animals presented in the book. Then each animal is featured separately in sound, with a prompt for kids to try to identify it. Once we know who it is, the original comprehensive track is played so kids can try to find it among all the others. Animals featured include various species of bugs, birds, frogs, and toads.

As a nature lover, I found this process fascinating, and I had fun trying to guess the animals as I listened to their sounds. Kids will enjoy listening to this interactive book, and will apply what they’ve learned as they spend time outdoors at night. I highly recommend Sounds of the Night.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, birds, children, nature

The Big Book of Birds


Author & Illustrator: Yuval Zommer
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children / Birds
ISBN: 978-0-500-65151-3
Pages: 64
Price: $19.95

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Birds delight us with their brightly colored plumage and beautiful songs. But how many different kinds of birds are there? And what are the various categories they belong to? The Big Book of Birds shares a wealth of information regarding these fascinating creatures.

Beginning with a bird family tree, kids are introduced to birds of prey, woodland and forest birds, owls, seabirds, perching birds, water birds, and flightless birds. Feathers, beaks, songs, nests, migration, and flight are explained, and several species of birds are explored in more details. Colorful images fill the pages, as kids get to know these interesting birds.

Bird watchers of all ages will enjoy the touch of whimsy in these unusual illustrations. I highly recommend The Big Book of Birds for anyone who loves to watch birds.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, children, nature

Can You Count the Critters?


Author & Illustrator: Stan Tekiela
Publisher: Adventure Publications
Genre: Children / Nature
ISBN: 978-1-59193-819-4
Pages: 32
Price: $8.95

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Counting to twelve just got a whole lot more fun! Rather than just counting the animals in these amazing nature photographs, kids have the opportunity to read about each animal while they learn their numbers. Featured animals are: Monarch butterfly, American toad, Eastern cottontail, American black bear, Black-tailed prairie dog, Elk, Bald eagle, Virginia opossum, Lesser long-nosed bat, Painted turtle, Mallard duck, and American bison. In addition to the text on each photo, fun facts on each animal are included in an appendix.

Stan Tekiela is a talented nature photographer, and the images of these animals are close-up and candid. I highly recommend Can You Count the Critters? for all young nature lovers.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, children

Count to 10 With a Mouse


Author: Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrator: Kirsten Richards
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-68412-741-2
Pages: 32
Price: $12.99

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A mouse decides he wants to learn to count, but he does it in the most unusual way. He gnaws a hole through a book and dashes through the pages. On each page, he discovers other animals that he can count. And when he is finished, he runs back through the hole to begin again.

Kids will be able to count the animals on each page, while also being able to join their parents in reciting the refrain that is repeated throughout the book. Adorable illustrations accompany this rhyming text. I highly recommend Count to 10 With a Mouse.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, children

Five Hungry Mice


Author: Frances A.B. Dunning
Illustrator: Heather Lynn Harris
Publisher: Crisscross Applesauce
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-942483-58-8
Pages: 30
Price: $16.95

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Five hungry mice spy a box of full of rice. But in order to get to it, they need to cross the kitchen while avoiding the family cat! Atop the table, they find a bag of oranges that they use to distract the cat. Soon they’re filling their bellies with tasty white rice.

This cute retelling of a classic nineteenth century tale is accompanied by adorable illustrations. Kids will cheer for the mice as they reach their prize while narrowly avoiding danger. Five Hungry Mice is a delight to read.

Reviewer: Alice Berger