What happens when a well-developed sense of humor is added to a fondness for animals, the environment and science? Irresistible books by Henry Cole! Meet two and four-legged characters that frolic, change the world one flower at a time, observe their environment and more. Along the way, readers are sure to a smile if not an outright chuckle!
A Nest for Celeste
An unlikely friendship develops between a small, basket-weaving mouse named Celeste and the young apprentice to the great naturalist, Audubon. They meet when Joseph accompanies Audubon to New Orleans to paint the birds of Louisiana. Evocative pencil drawings add information as well as emotion in this unique, attractive, sometimes sad, but always riveting blend of fact and fantasy.
In this cumulative tale, Jack plants, tends and harvests his garden. Not only will readers follow Jack's activities, they'll learn about gardens and gardening in this informative and animated book through text and highly detailed and well-labeled illustrations. (The author's background as a science teacher is pleasantly evident.)
On Meadowview Street
Caroline doesn't see much of the name of their new street, Meadowview, as she and her family move to their new suburban neighborhood. When she saves a single flower from the lawn mower, she starts to change not only her backyard but ultimately the entire neighborhood. Soft illustrations and understated text convey story and an important concept.
On the Way to the Beach
Young readers are invited to look and listen as they join a girl on a summer morning walk to the beach. While she passes through the woods, a marsh, and the dunes, she stops to observe, and sometimes wonders what animals are watching her. A foldout reveals animals, birds, insects, and plants in each of the coastal settings, and are carefully listed on the final page.
The Littlest Evergreen
During his first spring, the narrator was shorter than the grasses but grew into a fine but small evergreen tree. When people with saws came, they took the little evergreen by its roots where it was decorated with sparkles then planted. Lush, realistic illustrations show the passage of time and how the no longer small evergreen provided a home to other creatures.
One Saturday, Esme who lives with her grandparents on a farm, goes with her grandfather to the county auction to buy the animal promised. The girl chooses Trudy, a small brown and white goat, and discovers a strong bond with this very special animal. Richly toned paintings depict the affection and farm life — concluding with a lovely surprise for Esme.
Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad
Readers are encouraged to tell the story of a brave farm girl who provides food to someone who has escaped in this sophisticated, expressive, wordless book. Inspired by family stories, the author allows adults to fill in the historical detail while children recognize the story's power.
Books illustrated by Henry Cole
Barefoot: Escape on the Underground Railroad
A young boy's flight to freedom is shown from the animal's point of view in darkly hued, evocative illustrations. The animals reveal what the boy needs to know along the way frogs point to fresh water, a mouse shows edible berries until he emerges and is shown walking toward a safe house on the Underground Railroad. Text and illustration impart a taut, nocturnal journey.
Big Chickens Go to Town
Their city adventure begins when the four big chickens follow a bag of feed into the farmer's truck — and off they go! Lively language and comic illustrations combine to create a rowdy fowl adventure which ends happily back in the farmer's truck heading home.
Boston Tea Party
The basics of the events that led up to the Boston Tea Party in 1773 are revealed gradually, building through the familiar cadence of "The House That Jack Built." Rhyming text and realistic illustrations successfully introduce the event that preceded the Revolutionary War. Small Colonial and English mice appear on each page, adding humor and a touch of information to this otherwise straightforward, clearly illustrated historical book.
Bravo, Livingstone Mouse
Livingstone Mouse discovers that the woodland creatures just don't have the rhythm needed for an effective musical performance. Even though he's told to mind his own business, he puts a band together and makes it all work. The adventures of this mouse-explorer, first introduced in Livingstone Mouse (HarperCollins, 1996), are told and illustrated with humor and verve.
The rhyming conversation between a boy and his dad begins when a naughty chicken follows them home. As the father reads his newspaper, the boy asks, "You know what?" "What?" A turn of the page reveals the rhyming response. Rollicking good kid humor abounds in both the dialogue and the comic illustrations.
Chicken Butt's Back
The rascally child introduced in Chicken Butt returns. Here, he gets his poor mom to say all kinds of rhyming words as he plays with homophones (think: but, butt; bare, bear). Cartoon illustrations add to the humor of the mother-son conversation.
After her mother lays the egg, Clara becomes a plain caterpillar and then, predictably, a plain butterfly. Her homely color, however, camouflages Clara and allows her to become a hero by saving her once-haughty friend from a hungry crow. Butterfly fact and utter imagination combine in this winning tale of courage and contentedness.
Dinorella: A Prehistoric Fairy Tale
In this rendition of the classic fairy tale, the Cinderella role is played by — you guessed it — a dinosaur! Her Fairydactyl comes to the rescue and dresses our heroine, a big fuchsia dinosaur, in a prom gown. And while you're reading about how Dinorella dazzles the Duke at the Dinosaur Dance, children will be learning about the sound /d/ makes.
Four Famished Foxes and Fosdyke
While their mother vacations in Florida, Fosdyke's siblings forage for food like typical foxes. Since the fowl on the farm have been warned, the results are disastrous. Meantime back at home, Fosdyke prepares tasty vegetarian dishes, which everyone ultimately enjoys together. Animated illustrations are perfectly suited to the fast, funny, and alliterative text; the letter F is well represented!
Honk! The Story of a Prima Swanerina
When Mimi the Swan sees ballet practice from the window of the Paris Opera House, she becomes obsessed with ballet. Though she tries to attend a performance, she is not allowed into the opera house. She finally follows a tardy dancer into the theater and gets her big break: Mimi becomes the star in none other than "Swan Lake!" The wry humor is conveyed in both text and witty illustrations in this appealing, comical story.
I Know a Wee Piggy
A wee piggy escapes his boy at the fair for a very colorful adventure around the fair. The naughty pig "wallowed in white to go with the red…" but "It's not polite to wallow in white…" The boy catches up just in time to see his pig win a blue ribbon. Funny, animated illustrations accompany the rhyming tale inspired by "I Know an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly."
Meet Katy—a feisty ballerina-in-the-making who loves to twirl like a leaf, stretch like a flower, and float like a swan. She's all dance, all the time—until she faces the fear of dancing in front of everyone in her new ballet class at Mr. Tutu's School of Dance! Suddenly the once-bold Katy is overcome with a bad case of stage fright! What's a duck to do?
Katy Duck Is a Caterpillar
Katy Duck loved to dance through each season but was especially excited about the spring recital: "A show to celebrate spring!" Though Katy is disappointed with her assignment, she blossoms as a lowly caterpillar in this recognizable and humorous tale.
Nelly Has Her Say
When Nelly May takes a job as housekeeper for Lord Ignasius Pinkwinkle, she must learn a new vocabulary. Lord Pinkwinkle becomes "Most Excellent of All Masters," his bed a "restful slumberific" and so on — until she must put it all together to save the Master and his home. Jauntily illustrated, a fresh version of an old English tale is sure to engage children.
New Pup on the Block
Can Tracker, Fritz, Sheena, and Jake find Rosie before the dogcatcher finds them all? The quest starts when Rosie heads back to the city to find her former owner. Each puppy has his or her distinct personality; each lives with loving humans in Buxton, a small town where Rosie comes to live, too. The canine sleuths are captivating in this and other books in the series. Black and white sketches throughout enhance the dogs' individuality.
Prairie Chicken Little
A prairie chicken named Mary McBlinken, "heard a rumbling and a grumbling and a tumbling" fearing that "a stampede's a comin'!" Others join her to alert Cowboy Stan and Red Dog Dan to the impending danger. Almost sidetracked by a tricky coyote, Stan and Dan save the day and stop the rumbling of Mary's tummy. A take-off of "Chicken Little" is made even more humorous by rib-tickling illustrations.
Roar! A Noisy Counting Book
A little lion cub cannot understand why no one, from 1 red monkey to 8 brown gazelles, wants to play with him. His roar is not frightening to the 9 yellow lion cubs he meets, however, and the ROAR of 10 playful lions sends all the animals stampeding away! The rhythmic text with the repeated "roar" encourages participation as children follow the energetic, gently humorous illustrations and explore animal habitats as well as numbers and colors.
The Falling Flowers
Grandmother has a surprise for Mayumie — is it a visit to the zoo, a museum, or the big city? When they finally reach their destination, Mayumie understands what makes visiting a cherry blossom grove so special: the beautiful pink flowers only bloom once a year! Readers will be enchanted by the magic of the story and the illustrations that capture the stunning colors of the cherry blossom trees. An author's note provides historical details, as well as information on the cherry blossom trees in Washington, DC.
The Kiss Box
All mama bears must sometimes be separated from their cubs if only for a while, Little Bear's mother tells him. But her love is constant and whenever a kiss is needed, Mama and her cub can take one out of a special box. Soft, expressive illustrations convey their sharing and love. A storyteller's note may inspire others to make their won Kiss Boxes.
The Leprechaun's Gold
Old Pat is on his way to a contest that will name the finest harpist in all of Ireland. On the way, his ill-spirited companion, Young Tom, begins to scheme for his own victory. But thanks to Old Pat's willingness to come to the aid of a fellow traveler, a mischievous leprechaun intervenes, ensuring that both Pat and Tom are appropriately repaid for their actions.
One warm Wednesday morning, the sun winked through Wombat's window and woke her up. "What a wonderful day to wander the world," she thought. What if Wombat woke one Wednesday with wanderlust? What if she wrangled her wander-worthy companions Weasel and Woodchuck to wend their way through the world with her? What if the world, the woods, and its wicked things wrestled with their wishes for wild adventure? But what if these wily wanderers used their wits to ward off worries and all the world's wild creatures? Why, then it would be a most wonderful day to wander the world.
Three Hens and a Peacock
"Things were quiet on the Tuckers' farm..." but really took off once a peacock came to live with them. The chickens become jealous and so trade places with the peacock with very funny results. Cartoon illustrations add humor and charm to the understated, appealing text.
Nocturnal animals wake up as everyone else goes to sleep. Illustrations show their nighttime activities illuminated by moonlight while the gently rhyming text creates a soothing rhythm. Filled with movement, all of which starts with wake-up kisses, this is a comfortable and comforting story to be shared at bedtime.
Warthogs in the Kitchen: A Sloppy Counting Book
As they make cupcakes, a group of messy warthogs count to ten then eat their work and end with zero. Energetic, cartoon-like illustrations and a lively, rhyming text result in a slapstick comedy that may inspire an attempt to try one of the recipes included.
In this rhyming celebration of doubles, twin animals live on farms, in jungles; they race and play and make noise — sometimes to the comical chagrin of others around them seen in expressive, droll illustrations. Readers may recognize the rhythmic pattern of "Over in the Meadow" with a fresh twist.
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