Vultures are truly fascinating creatures. Teach your child about these interesting birds via Vulture View by April Pulley Sayre with illustrations by Steve Jenkins. Chances are you’ll learn a lot too. For instance, did you know that vultures glide on pillars of hot air called thermals? Or that their heads have very few feathers because picking from dead animal carcasses is universally messy? You may find these carrion eaters disgusting, but they serve an important role, as nature’s clean up crew! This book is especially good for boys who might think eating garbage sounds funny or cool. You could also take your child bird-watching after reading (I know our library parking lot is a perfect place to see some vultures)!
A Visitor for Bear is an endearing tale by Bonny Becker with soothing illustrations by Kady MacDonald Denton. Bear seems quite sure he does not like visitors. He even has a sign on his door saying “NO VISITORS ALLOWED” which is why he’s taken aback by a persistent mouse who continues to show up uninvited. “Vamoose!” he tells the mouse and “Be gone!” but he keeps appearing again and again. Finally Bear gives in. The mouse can stay for one cup of tea, but then he must leave. But when the mouse compliments Bear’s home, appreciates his headstands, laughs at his jokes, Bear discovers he does enjoy company after all tears his sign down.
Stranger in the Woods is subtitled “A Photographic Fantasy” and that’s exactly what it is. Created by wildlife photographers Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick, the book takes us into a snowy forest. “Take care!” the blue jay caws to the family of deer below, “Stranger in the woods!” All the animals are a-flutter seeking out this stranger. “I do see him!” chatters the squirrel. Who is it? The creatures all wonder. It’s an edible snowman! The animals enjoy the stranger, left for them by some thoughtful children. Besides a lovely story and beautiful pictures, the book also includes a “Recipe for a Snowman” so you too can leave a treat in the woods.
I really enjoy the “Sally goes to” series by artist Stephen Huneck. In Sally Goes to the Mountains, Sally, a black lab, and her owner are going camping. They pack up their van full of dog treats and head out. Sally is so anxious to make new friends in the mountains she falls asleep during the ride. She dreams of chasing rabbits, and climbing a tree to sing with a pretty bird! She imagines meeting an inquisitive owl (always asking “who? who?”) Maybe she’ll take a swim with the colorful fish, or find a stick (the beaver probably has one to spare). “A family of skunks is very nice,” Sally thinks, “except for one little stinker.” Soon she’s arrived, and it’s time for her mountain adventure to begin for real!
Pinduli is one of my favorites by fabulous author and illustrator Janell Cannon. It’s the story of an adorable little hyena named Pinduli. At least, her Mama thinks she’s adorable–everyone else makes fun of her big ears, her straggly fur, and her disorderly stripes. In effort to look more presentable, she pushes her ears flat, soaks down her fur, and rolls in the white dust. She certainly looks different. She looks like a ghost! So much so, she strikes fear into all the animals who objected to her appearance. She takes advantage of this and threatens to haunt them unless they become more tolerant (and leave food offerings). In the end Mama praises her: she’s not only a beautiful hyena, but a very smart one!
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is the story of a mischievous boy named Max, sent to bed without supper. But in his room, a forest grows and the walls give way to jungle and ocean. Max sails to a land of wild things (like himself). The monsters show Max how terrible they can be, but he tames them, and they name him their king. Max commands “let the wild rumpus start!” and he and the other wild things swing and dance and march, until Max remembers how hungry he is. He waves goodbye to his monster friends and sails back to his room, where dinner is there waiting (and still hot too)!