animals, children, classics

William Sheepspeare (Wild Bios)


Authors: Courtney Acampora & Maggie Fischer
Illustrator: Benedetta Capriotti
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Genre: Children / Classics / Board book
ISBN: 978-1-68412-619-4
Pages: 16
Price: $7.99

Buy it at Amazon

In hilarious ovine fashion, William Sheepspeare introduces Shakespeare to kids. But this is no dry biography for parents to read to their toddlers. Instead, clever puns fill these pages.

For example: Sheepspeare was a master of tragedy, with classics like: “Lamblet,” “MacBleat,” “Julius Fleecer,” and “All’s Wool That Ends Wool.” … Sheepspeare had a sense of humor, too. His comedies, like “Taming of the Ewe” and “As Ewe Like It,” had audiences baa-ing for more.

Small children won’t get these enjoyable puns, but they will entertain parents who will be reading it over and over again. And at some time in the future, kids might remember this funny tale and seek out more information about the Baa-rd. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, children, classics

Sleep Tight, Sleepy Bears


Author: Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrator: Julie Clay
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Genre: Children / Classic
ISBN: 978-1-68412-760-3
Price: $12.99

Buy it at Amazon

A big sleepy bear and a little sleepy bear are settling in for the night. One at a time, they each give a big yawn, a big stretch, and climb into bed. Heads on their pillows, they close their eyes and sing softly. And then they go to sleep.

This classic from Margaret Wise Brown encourages sleepy little ones to willingly climb into bed and mimic the bears’ actions. I especially liked the revised version of the bedtime prayer “Now I lay me down to sleep” which has angels keeping watch and no mention of death.

Cute and cuddly bears, sweet words, and a soft and gentle rhythm make Sleep Tight, Sleepy Bears a perfect addition to your child’s bedtime routine. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, nature

The Gift of the Deer


Author: Helen Hoover
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Genre: Nature / Outdoors
ISBN: 978-0816631285
Pages: 224
Price: $16.95

Buy it at Amazon

Every so often I long to read a book simply about wildlife or nature in general. The book has to have good story, entertaining characters, and a satisfying ending. It is necessary that the tale comes alive in my mind and stimulates my imagination. The Gift of the Deer does all this and more.

Helen and Adrian (Ade) gave up life in the city to move to a remote cabin in the wilds of northern Minnesota. On one Christmas Day during a particularly brutal winter, they noticed a new visitor out among the usual birds and squirrels they feed outside. The fully mature buck was thin, blind in one eye, and obviously struggling to survive winter’s harsh treatment. Deciding to help this deer survive became a decision that would affect the lives of Helen and Ade forever. For four years afterward, they had the privilege to observe and get to know a growing family of deer throughout the seasons. Hoover’s vivid descriptions are presented with the eye of a seasoned naturalist, and her husband’s illustrations further bring the imagery to life.

By reading these personal accounts that cover four captivating years, the reader has the opportunity to see nature in its purist form and learn a side of deer behavior that is very rare indeed. The Gift of the Deer is a golden opportunity to absorb a good story and exercise the imagination. I recommend this book to nature lovers of every sort.

Reviewer: Gene Berger

animals, birds, children

Greta the Great Horned Owl


Author: Christie Gove-Berg
Publisher: Adventure Publications
Genre: Children / Nature
ISBN: 978-1-59193-815-6
Pages: 32
Price: 14.95

Buy it at Amazon

Greta the Great Horned Owl is out hunting one evening when she spots her prey. Intent on catching the field mouse, she doesn’t see the train coming her way. In a flash, she’s pinned against the front of the train, unable to move.

When the train stops moving, she frees herself and drops to the ground. But her wings hurt and she’s unable to fly. Greta is fortunate that someone sees her plight and carries her away. Soon she’s in a facility that cares for injured wildlife. She has a broken leg and wing, and the veterinarians are going to mend them for her. Once Greta is fully healed, she is released back into the wild where she can live out the rest of her natural days.

Greta the Great Horned Owl shares a wonderful rehabilitation story that kids will enjoy reading. The great horned owl facts at the end of the story, as well as the many spectacular photos, will be helpful in learning about these magnificent birds of prey. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, birds, children

The Song of Spring


Author & Illustrator: Hendrik Jonas
Publisher: Prestel
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-3-7913-7379-9
Pages: 52
Price: $12.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

It’s springtime, and all the birds are singing their mating calls. But one little bird can’t remember his song. He wants to find a birdie friend, so he attempts to discover it through trial and error.

Time after time, he sings a song, but his moos, meows, and oinks fail miserably. Soon he’s surrounded by farm animals but no birdie friend. Until one day a strange song comes from the distance – a little girl bird attempting to find her own song.

The Song of Spring is an adorable tale of friendship, as each of these animals come to keep little bird company. Kids will love these charming illustrations of cheerful animals in spring. I highly recommend this cute story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, children, nature

Hidden Critters


Author: Stan Tekiela
Publisher: Adventure Publications
Genre: Animals / Nature / Children
ISBN: 978-1-59193-812-5
Pages: 48
Price: $14.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

The ability to blend in with its surroundings can mean the difference between life and death for many animals. In Hidden Critters, Stan Tekiela shows kids some of these animals that survive by hiding.

Tekiela is a gifted nature photographer who has captured images of the animals in hiding and in plain sight, so kids can see them in their natural settings. In the first picture, kids need to try to find the hidden animal. The second picture shows it in plain view. Closing pages provide fun facts about each of the animals featured: burrowing owl, gray wolf, southern flying squirrel, American alligator, brown creeper, short-tailed weasel, bullfrog, praying mantis, white-tailed deer, and polar bear. A key to the hidden critter pages is also included, showing exactly where to spot these animals.

Nature lovers of all ages will enjoy this book. I highly recommend it for home and classroom.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, children, nature

Look at Me!


Author & Illustrator: Jim Arnosky
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children / Nature / Animals
ISBN: 978-1-4549-2809-6
Pages: 40
Price: $16.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Many animals have coloring that allows them to blend in with their surroundings, camouflaging them from being seen by predators. But some animals have colorful and unusual features that are meant to attract mates, as well as avoid being eaten. Look at Me! shows us some of these creatures and their stunning displays.

Male turkeys spread their tail feathers, and strut to attract females. African bullfrogs blow up to twice their size to avoid frog-eating snakes. Deer have antlers and sheep have horns for battling other males during mating season. These as well as many other interesting animals are introduced with beautiful illustrations, including some fold out spreads.

Nature’s wonders never fail to please children, and Look at Me! is a delight to read. Kids (and teachers) will love it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, children

Which Animal Is Fastest?


Author: Brian Rock
Illustrator: Carolyn Le
Publisher: Arbordale
Genre: Children / Animals
ISBN: 9781607187455
Pages: 32
Price: $9.95

Author’s website
Illustrator’s website
Buy it at Amazon

King Lion is hosting a race to determine the fastest animal. But before he can crown cheetah the champion, the other animals protest. Why should the race be for quickness over a short distance? There are other ways to measure speed – why won’t he use those instead?

After listening to all their pleas, King Lion finally decides to hold an Olympics. Each animal now has the chance to show off its skills in the best possible setting, and the winners of each event are congratulated.

The final pages detail each of the speeds of the winning animals in their specialty. Activities and questions are also provided for teachers who might want to use this book for science lessons. Which Animal Is Fastest? is a fun read for animal lovers, and will be a big hit in the classroom.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, children

Business Pig


Author & Illustrator: Andrea Zuill
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children / Animals
ISBN: 978-1-4549-2684-9
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Jasper the piglet is born at the Sunshine Sanctuary for Farm Animals, and immediately, everyone notices he’s different. He won’t play in the mud or root for grubs like the other pigs. Instead, he sits at his computer in a suit and tie, working on spreadsheets and presentations.

All the other animals are being adopted, but no one seems to pay attention to Jasper. Feeling he needs to do something about this problem, he takes on an advertising campaign, hoping to attract the perfect owner. When a little girl in a business suit with a briefcase sees his ads, she shows up at the sanctuary to meet him. She takes his business card, inspects his charts, and reads his resume thoroughly. And soon Jasper has a new job – and a new home – with his new friend. “It was a perfect fit!”

Business Pig is a delight to read. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, children

Rufus Blasts Off!


Author: Kim T. Griswell
Illustrator: Valeri Gorbachev
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-4549-2099-1
Pages: 40
Price: $16.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Rufus the pig needs more stories and knows just what to do. He’ll travel off into space so he can tell everyone all about it. But first he has to convince Commander Luna he has the right stuff.

Treats, a blanket, and even a space suit aren’t enough. But when Rufus shows up with a flag proclaiming, “I love reading!” along with a bag full of books, Commander Luna finally agrees. And soon Rufus is on Mars, reading to kids everywhere on TV.

Rufus is such a cute character and kids will admire his persistence as he keeps chasing his dreams. His love of books and reading is contagious, inspiring kids to read just because it’s fun. I highly recommend Rufus Blasts Off!.

Reviewer: Alice Berger