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Animals All Around

Some animals live in houses; others live in swamps or rainforests or farms. Some stay at home; others travel far and wide. Many make sounds; all eat food of one sort or another. Read about animals of all types — with and without stripes — in the books suggested here.

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

Can You See Me?

By: Ted Lewin
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Sharp eyes are needed to see most of the well-camouflaged creatures in the Costa Rican rainforest presented in stunning, realistic illustrations. A simple, repeated sentence lets emerging readers know what (e.g., bird, snake) to look for in each double page spread. The animals are specifically identified on the final page.

Cat Says Meow and Other An-i-mal-o-poe-ia

By: Michael Arndt
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The sounds familiar animals make (squeak, meow, oink, etc.) are each presented in a simple sentence. The letters used in the onomatopoeic sound are embedded in a strong graphic image of the animal. Colors of the image and animal sound correspond, placed on an uncluttered white page. Some jump out, others require careful examination; all are clever.

City Cat

By: Kate Banks
Illustrated by: Lauren Castillo
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The travels of an independent black cat parallel that of a family of four. Both start and end in Rome but intersect as they visit landmarks in other European cities. Lyrical text and delicate, detailed illustrations evoke the wonder of travel. The trip concludes with brief information about the places visited; end pages include a rough map of the travel.

E-I-E-I-O: How Old MacDonald Got His Farm

By: Judy Sierra
Illustrated by: Matthew Myers
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When Old MacDonald tires of cutting his large suburban lawn, he gets a goat and then a very smart little red hen. When compost and manure are added — and in spite of neighbors' concerns — MacDonald has a thriving farm to everyone's delight! This lively, rhyming tale with its exaggerated illustrations just may inspire suburban and perhaps urban gardening.

Just One Bite: 11 Animals and Their Bites at Life Size!

By: Lola Schaefer
Illustrated by: Geoff Waring
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A dot of "dirt (and everything in it)" is a meal for the earthworm seen in a stylized, double page illustration. Four pages open with gatefolds to show the giant squid which is the sperm whale's feast. Actual sizes of what animals eat are dramatically presented with additional information on the last spread.

Lulu and the Cat in the Bag

By: Hilary McKay
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Lulu and her cousin, Mellie find a bag on their doorstep with a large marigold-colored cat in it. How will the children and Lulu's grandmother resolve the problem of an abandoned and wary cat? Their dilemma and the story's resolution are recognizable and appealing. Though the latest installment of a series, this reads as a stand-alone.

Stripes of All Types

By: Susan Stockdale
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Stripes are found in nature in a variety of flora and fauna in many habitats. From exotic to domestic, revel in observing stripes in carefully crafted illustrations and lyrical text. Additional information and a playful call to match animal with stripe ends this handsome volume.

Swamp Chomp

By: Lola Schaefer
Illustrated by: Paul Meisel
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

As swamp residents move, water ripples and the creatures munch, gulp, swallow and more. Short, rhythmic sentences and simple but realistic illustrations present a wetlands food chain. A brief endnote describes the environment and "balance of nature." The language in this informational picture book reads well aloud, likely to engage  listeners.

What's Your Favorite Animal?

By: Eric Carle
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When 13 well-known illustrators are asked about their favorite animal, the results are as varied in word and illustration as each artist's style. Eric Carle introduces a cat called Fifi, while Mo Willems' is "an Amazonia Neotropical Lower River Tink-Tink." A clever collection of the exotic and expected is rich and varied; plus it benefits Eric Carle's Picture Book Museum.

When You Wander: A Search-and-Rescue Dog Story

By: Margarita Engle
Illustrated by: Mary Morgan
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A golden retriever with a "smart nose" is doing his job: tracking down a young child lost in the woods. The dog's narration is gentle with the child he's tracking seen in the dog's thought bubbles. Additional "dog nose facts" and advice for teachers and parents are presented after the child and parents are reunited.

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