Hug Time is an adorable story by Patrick McDonnell, creator of the “Mutts” comic strip series. Jules is a kitten who is so filled with love, he wants to give the whole world a hug, so he makes a Hug To-Do List and sets off. He hugs his friends, and all the birds in the park. He gets on a boat to find a whale to hug. He travels to Africa to hug an elephant. He explores the rain forest and discovers a new species (which he promptly hugs). He hugs a tiger, a panda, even a wombat (hooray)! He even goes to the north pole to hug a polar bear. While we may not be able to hug the world, we can start spreading the love by hugging those closest to us.
Australia is a fantastic place filled with many creatures unfamiliar to us: Kangaroos, Koalas, and an adorable burrowing marsupial called a Wombat–the subject of Jackie French’s Diary of a Wombat, illustrated by Bruce Whatley. It’s told in true diary form, the wombat treating us to her day to day routine consisting mostly of eating, sleeping, and scratching. But one day she discovers she has new neighbors–humans! And these humans have delicious carrots, for which she will do most anything for! This is a very cute book you’re sure to enjoy.
I really enjoy Beth’s Job by Carole Roberts, illustrated by Michael Garland. It is ideal for the child who is ready to read a book all on their own. It’s the story of an elementary school student named Beth. On the day everyone is assigned their class jobs, and Beth is very excited, until she discovers she will be in charge of watering the class plant. This seems very dull to her. She is jealous of her other classmates, that seem to have much more interesting duties. Max gets to feed the class rabbit! And Jeff is in charge of being first in line. Glen gets to hold the flag during the pledge of allegiance. Beth’s job seems so boring in comparison to all the cool things the other kids get to do. Until one day, the plant blooms! Thanks to all the care Beth gave the plant, the class now has a beautiful flower, leading Beth to proclaim, “This job is the best!”
Our favorite inquisitive monkey is at it again in Curious George Plants a Tree, inspired by the legacy of Margret and H.A. Rey, written by Monica Perez, and illustrated by Anna Grossnickle Hines. In this installment, George, and his faithful friend, the man in the yellow hat, learn all about conserving the environment. Of course, George goes a little overboard in his desire to help the planet. On recycling day he gathers all the discarded paper from his home, but also all of his neighbors’ newspapers! When everyone goes to follow him, they track George down at a tree-planting event, and happily decide to help out.
If I Ran the Rain Forest by Bonnie Worth is a selection from the Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library, a wonderful series of books for young readers. These books are entertaining and educational, presenting non-fiction concepts in a basic format to help children build ideas about the natural world. In If I Ran the Rain Forest, the much loved Dr. Seuss character, the Cat in the Hat, is here to tell you about a fascinating part of the world, filled with life! The rain forest is brimming with enormous trees, which are home to amazing creatures, like parrots, monkeys, and frogs. However, this fantastic place is threatened–people are cutting down trees, and so the Cat tells us, if he ran the rain forest he’d say “chop somewhere else, people. Leave us these trees. Don’t cut them down. Save the trees, please!”
Slowly Slowly Slowly Said the Sloth is my favorite book by well known author/illustrator, Eric Carle. The sloth is a fascinating creature. It lives most of it’s life hanging upside down, living in trees, and sleeping for 15-19 hours a day! It’s certainly a gentle, peace loving creature, moving so slow the animal itself becomes a habitat for moss and insects. In this story all the other rain forest animals want to know why the sloth is so slow. He just hangs there! So lazy! So boring! Finally the sloth defends his lackadaisical nature–he just appreciates tranquility! This book offers a lot for a child to learn: first to stop and smell the roses, simply enjoy life around them, and take things slow, and also facts about the sloth in general, an interesting species threatened by deforestation.