Kangaroos and Dolphins and Crayfish, Oh My

the-secret-planI’m beginning to notice a theme in children’s lit: kids and critters go hand-in-hand. So we rounded up some of the newest examples of animal antics on bookshelves and let you know whether they’re worth the hardcover investment:

The Secret Plan by Julia Sarcone-Roach:

  • The animals: An elephant and three cats
  • The premise: These four unlikely friends love playing together, but bedtime is always ruining their fun. So they come up with a “secret plan” to thwart their parents. Only to find out it’s HARD staying up late.
  • Who’s it for: Recommended for ages four and up, it’s a good bedtime story for kids who always ask for just one more game before bed.

winters-tailWinter’s Tail by Juliana Hatkoff

  • The animals: Winter, a real-life dolphin immortalized in print
  • The premise: Winter, an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, was rescued from a crab trap with a badly damaged tail. Taken to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, she has to learn to grow up without one of a dolphin’s most vital body parts.
  • Who it’s for: Recommend for ages four and up, the story is a little in-depth for kids that age. A skim-through is possible, but leave the more scientific details for the older kids. Pick it for the kids who need an “I think I can . . . I know I can” read.

where-else-in-the-wildWhere Else in the Wild? by David M. Schwartz and Yael Schy

  • The animals: Snowshoe hares, crayfish, the orchid mantis and more
  • The premise: A lift-the-flap book that challenges kids to find the chameleon-like critter in gorgeous photos straight out of the wild, it’s a scientific adventure in their own home.
  • Who it’s for: Also recommend for kids four and up, it’s well suited to a range of ages with the simple fun of searching for the younger set and detailed explanations of the life of the various animals for the older kids.

pouchPouch by David Ezra Stein

  • The animals: A kangaroo, her joey and a variety of animals they meet while out exploring the bush
  • The premise: Joey wants to test out life beyond the pouch, but he needs to do it in small increments – with mom close by.
  • Who it’s for: Recommended for four and up, the simple language better suits this book for younger kids – and it’s apropos for their mix of apprehension and independence.
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