Animal- Picture Books

4 Quick Picks of Animal Picture Books

  1.  The Watcher –   Jane Goodal’s Life with the Chimps

by Jeannete Winter

published by Schwartz and Wade Books in 2011

The Watcher


This is a beautiful picture book biography – tracing the life of the world renowned primatologist – Dame Jane Goodal-

Dr Jane 0r Dame Jane- has lead an incredible life and I have been fortunate to personally hear her speak on several occasions- she is one of my childhood heroes.   An amazing lady who has devoted her life to her passion to help the animals she loves by developing a vast array of social intiatives spanning the globe with the combined purpose of preserving the fragile ecosystem of our planet.

If you would like to read more about her current work- check out this website here to read about the Roots and Shoots programme which is a group of projects in multiple countries developed by youth.


This book starts with you Jane growing up in England-  it highlights her nascent love for animals and her profound interest in observing animal behaviours to help her to understand their community and their communications.


As a young woman, Dame Goodal made a difficult journey to the remote land of Kenya to try to find work with animals.  She was able to secure a job with the Scientist Dr. Louis Leakey working in Tanzania studying Chimpanzee’s.

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Jane spending time with Chimpanzee’s in Tanzania

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I like how the author emphasizes the amount of time necessary to build up a coherent body of research… One must be very patient while doing field work.

Now Jane watched every day, all day— even huddled in the rain.  She saw the chimps accept the rain, not look for shelter, as we do.  And she kept notes about it all.  “You have to be patient if you want to learn about animals, ”  she wrote.


Over time- Dr. Jane was able to build up a warm relationship with the Chimpanzee’s and was able to make wonderful progress into understanding the complex  relationships and diverse means of communications which these fascinating primates use.

This picture book is Highly Enjoyable-   to read another account which I equally recommend try – Me, Jane by Patrick McDonnell


2) The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats A Scientific Mystery

by Sandra Markle

published by Millbrook Press in 2015

Non fiction – scientific picture book- genre crossing book- part information picture book and part adventure/mystery  —result Superb and Highly readable – Ideal for reluctant older readers particularly those interested in science or environmental concerns.


Excellent use of introducing scientific vocabulary in a clear and engaging manner


Nice use of Maps and diagrams


Also it was great to see a variety of scientists and researchers working on the problem of investigating why were Little Brown Bats perishing at large rates across the United States together-  Perfect book for your budding eco- warrior.

I’m not personally a fan of bats- but I enjoyed this book- and will look for more from this publisher. My nine year old daughter also very much enjoyed this book.

3) Creature Features 25 Animals Explain Why They look the Way They Do

by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2014

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Fantastic Information Picture Book-  friendly and up close illustrations and dynamic text take readers into the action of examining why do certain animals have such unique facial characteristics…. For example:

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Dear Giraffe: Why is your Tongue Purple?

I live in Africa. where the sun is very bright.  My tongue, which I use to pluck leaves and grass, is dark purple so that it won’t get sunburned.  And as you can see, I’ve got a lot of tongue to protect.

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Nice variety of common and less common….(Axoltol) animals- perfect for your 1-4th grade student.

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4) How to Clean a Hippopotamus   A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships

By Steve Jenkins & Robin Page

published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children  in 2010FullSizeRender 2



Another Steve Jenkins book….which I adore!  This one focuses on animals who live in relationship with another animal…looking at their symbiotic relationship…Fascinating!  Includes a wonderful glossary and index at the back IMG_7790

The book gives examples  of parasitism, mutalism and commensualism… in a very straightforward and approachable manner.




I wrote about Steve Jenkins and his book Eye to Eye in this earlier blog post here


Next up:

Picture Books January- FICTION!  I have so many to recommend…Can’t wait to share with you… a sneak peek in the photo…..









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