Wild & Wonderful Wednesday: Three Nature Picture Books

Coral Reefs
written and illustrated by Jason Chin
Roaring Brook Press, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59643-563-6
Grades K-5
Reviewed from personal copy.

BLURB: During an ordinary visit to the library, a girl pulls a not-so-ordinary book from the shelves. As she turns the pages in this book about coral reefs, the city around her slips away and she finds herself surrounded by the coral cities of the sea and the mysterious plants and animals that live, hunt, and hide there.

This book is gorgeous, that pretty much covers it.  The illustrations take the reader on a journey over and around a coral reef.  Even without the words, I could easily follow the story.  I love the idea of a book taking the reader on a journey to somewhere they may never be able to go in real life.  This suits my lifestyle of armchair adventuring.  The text does add a great deal of information, a little too much for a read-a-loud I discovered, especially when the students kept interrupting to share things they knew.  The students definitely found the bright and colorful illustrations appealing, as did I.  It took some of the students a little time to figure out why the coral reef was growing in a building, but once they figured it out they really got into it.  This is a great book for sharing, there is so much to share and talk about. I highly recommend it for those who have any interest in the natural world.  If you haven't read Chin's Redwoods as well, I recommend that one also.

Swirl by Swirl, Spirals in Nature
written by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beth Krommes
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-547-31583-6
Grades K-3
Reviewed from personal copy.

BLURBA Caldecott medalist and a Newbery Honor-winning poet celebrate the beauty and value of spirals.What makes the tiny snail shell so beautiful? Why does that shape occur in nature over and over again—in rushing rivers, in a flower bud, even inside your ear?  With simplicity and grace, Krommes and Sidman not only reveal the many spirals in nature—from fiddleheads to elephant tusks, from crashing waves to spiraling galaxies—but also celebrate the beauty and usefulness of this fascinating shape.

Swirl by Swirl truly is a perfect merger of words and pictures.  The pictures show so clearly what the text describes.  I appreciated the fact that the different animals are labeled.  This is a book I enjoyed sharing with my students.  It was short enough that I didn't get bogged down reading it, but there is enough detail that we had things to talk about.  This book makes a great read-a-loud for a larger group as well as one-on-one.  I highly recommend this book.

Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book of Changing Seasons
written and illustrated by Il Sung Na
Alfred A. Knopf, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-375-86786-6
Grades K-2
Reviewed from personal copy.

BLURB: What do the animals do when the snow falls to the ground and all the trees are bare?  Some fly long distances, while some swim to warmer waters.  Some take a long, warm sleep where they live, while others have a thick, cozy coat and can stay in the snow!  As with Il Sung Na's previous books, Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit is filled with rich illustrations, charming animals, and a simple, lyrical text—all wrapped up in a gorgeous package. It's a gentle introduction to the ideas of adaptation, hibernation, and migration, and an exhuberant celebration of changing seasons.

I enjoyed sharing this book with my kindergarten students.  It provides a straightforward and basic introduction to the seasons.  The unique illustrations are perfect for discussing illustration and some of the different techniques that are used to create them. The students enjoyed this cute book. I recommend it for teaching about seasons or for just plain enjoyment.


Watering Level: 23 of 36 completed



  1. The swirl by swirl looks especially interesting. I hope to find it through our library.


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