Nesting by Henry Cole

NestingNesting by Henry Cole; illustrated by Henry Cole. 2020. Micron pens and acrylic paints. Published by Katherine Tegen Books.

Brief summary: Young readers learn about two robins making a nest in an apple tree. The mother robin lays four eggs and keeps them warm until they hatch. Now, both robins must take turns feeding their babies despite a storm and a snake. When the hatchlings have grown and have feathers, they leave the nest, learn to feed themselves, and grow fat for the winter months.

Comments: Robin blue end pages. Illustrations are done with black pen and blue acrylics.

This book would go well with the spring unit of study.

Author’s Note in the back with more robin facts.

A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel; illustrated by Brendan Wenzel

A Stone Sat StillA Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel; illustrated by Brendan Wenzel. 2019. Variety of media such as cut paper, colored pencil, oil pastels, marker, and the computer. Published by Chronicle Books.

Brief summary: A stone is examined as being something different to many creatures of the forest. It has many functions even when it is later totally submerged under the water. It sits still throughout.

Comments: Loved how this would help children see different perspectives  and meanings for one object that stays stationed.

Large two-paged layouts that students in the back could also see if sharing with a group.

I would pair this with Brendan Wenzel’s earlier book, They All Saw a Cat.

I would refer to this story whenever there is a difference of opinion about something to demonstrate how we can have different perspectives to the same event.

Thank You, Earth: A Love Letter to Our Planet by April Pulley Sayre

Thank you, EarthThank You, Earth: A Love Letter to Our Planet by April Pulley Sayre; illustrated by April Pulley Sayre. 2018. Photography. Published by Greenwillow Books.

Brief summary: This beautiful rhyming love letter thanking the earth of all its wonderful life and land is illustrated with superb nature photos capturing the awesomeness of the planet.

Comments: This book could be shared at Thanksgiving with a discussion of what each child is thankful for that the earth gives us.  It could also be shared on Earth Day. Topnotch photography as in her other books Raindrops Roll, Best in Snow, and Fall of Fall.

There is  A Note From the Author in back.

Warbler Wave by April Pulley Sayre

Warbler Wave

Warbler Wave by April Pulley Sayre and Jeff Sayre. 2018. Photography. Published by Beach Lane Books.

Brief summary: Warblers migrate back up north in the spring stopping along the way to eat and continue the journey each night. Readers will learn what type of food they eat, other animals in their habitat, characteristics of various types of warblers, and other facts about these precious migratory birds.

Comments: This husband and wife team created another beautiful nature book. April Pulley Sayre books are the examples I use when teaching about the various mediums used to illustrate picture books.  I can just imagine how quiet and still one would have to be to get these top-notch photos that spread across each oversized page. Lyrical prose.

There is a complete write-up in the back of the book about these birds and their amazing migration. I had no idea that there are fifty different species of these songbirds. The author and her husband set aside the first two weeks of May to enjoy the warbler migration. Live near Toledo, Ohio? Don’t miss The Biggest Week in American Birding, a festival celebrating the warblers’ migration.

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Make the Earth Your Companion by J. Patrick Lewis

Make the Earth Your Companion

Make the Earth Your Companion by J. Patrick Lewis; illustrated by Anna and Elena Balbusso. 2017. Published by Creative Editions.

Brief summary:  A gentle poem advises the reader how earth elements can teach about life; how nature can teach mankind to live in harmony with life and one another. “Let the River remind you that everything will pass.”

Comments: One of my new favorite poems of J. Patrick Lewis. The rhythm of the poem and softness of the words with the beautiful illustrations of the Balbusso sisters  are both aesthetically pleasing to hear and see.  This would be an excellent addition to any library. I would use it in the school setting for Earth Day and to teach imagery.  Very well done.

Buy here.

(I may receive a small commission for purchases made with links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books in this picture book blog are not sent to me in exchange for a review, but instead, are checked out from a public library.)

This House, Once by Deborah Freedman


This House, Once by Deborah Freedman; illustrated by Deborah Freedman. 2017. Pencil, watercolor, colored pencil, pan pastel “with an assist Photoshop”. Published by Antheneum Books for Young Readers.

Brief summary: Readers are told through words and illustrations how the different parts of the house use to be part of Earth. “The door was once a colossal oak tree…”

Comments: This will help students to think how things are made back to the simplest form to its present form. I could see using this book in the kindergarten curriculum for the “how things are made” unit. I often wondered as a child of how things were made but did not ask. I would have appreciated a book like this one. Each child will go home looking at his/her house in a new way perhaps wondering how other things are made; what it was originally in nature or man-made.  This book is the stepping stone to other wonderment around us.

Although this book is soft and quiet with its gentle colors of watercolors and few words floating from one page to the next, I believe it is a profound book that makes the reader consider the origins of  things. This may be one of those first books that sparks the fire of curiosity to learn more about other origins of things in our daily lives. How is the car made? Where did the tire come from? How were they made? What about the food I’m eating? How was this bread made? Wait a second, how was I made?

Buy here.

(I may get a commission for purchases made through links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books reviewed were checked out of the public library and not sent to me free for review).

What Will Grow? by Jennifer Ward


What Will Grow? by Jennifer Ward; illustrated by Susie Ghahremani. 2017. Gouache on wood; hand-lettering by Susie Ghahremani; typeset in Cronos Pro. “All papers used in Bloomsbury Publishing, Inc., are natural, recyclable products made from wood grown in well-managed forests.” Published by Bloomsbury.

Brief summary: Each seed is described in a simple rhyme concluding with  “What Will Grow?” and answered on the right with an illustration of the featured seed grown to maturity. There is a two-paged spread in the back of each seed telling when to sow, steps needed to plant, and how long the plant will need to grow. The back also lists and illustrates the four stages of growth–roots, stem, leaves, and flower.

Comments: There are full, colorful two-paged illustrations with no white space. Students will also enjoy the three page extensions. This book could be read as an introduction to seeds. Students could be given  actual seeds that are discussed in the book and have to figure out which ones match  the pages.

Buy here.

(I may get a commission for purchases made through links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books reviewed were checked out of the public library and not sent to me free for review).

Best in Snow by April Pulley Sayre

Best in Snow by April Pulley Sayre

Best in Snow by April Pulley Sayre; illustrated by April Pulley Sayre. 2016. Photography.

Brief summary: Superb photos of snow in nature with all its forms and shapes. Begins with snow on a squirrel’s nose and then explores how snow looks and forms in the forest with snow in its full water cycle and then ending on a squirrel’s nose again.

Comments: Very well done. You really need to see it to appreciate the beauty of this book. I can’t imagine the patience it took to get all of these high end photos of the various forms of snow and in the forest. I nominate this as the number one winter book this year. I would suggest pairing it with her companion that came out last year, Raindrops Roll. I can’t wait to see what she creates next.


(I may get a commission for purchases made through links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books reviewed were checked out of the public library and not sent to me free for review).

Finding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd


Finding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd; illustrated by Abigail Halpin. 2016. Watercolor, colored pencils, finished digitally.

Brief summary: Two children who are city dwellers take a walk looking for Wild around them. They experience Nature through their five senses as they walk through various habitats and environments.

Comments: There were many similes, adjectives, and metaphors in this story. I would read this book for those units of study and with the five senses unit as well.  I think this could be read before a nature walk to encourage the children to stop and think of how they experience Wild fully on their outing.