a jubilation of Earth’s creatures

Jubilation is what I experience when I learn more about the astounding variety of life sharing Planet Earth with us.

From the ordinary to the exotic, here are creatures to make your heart sing!

the variety of life cover image

The Variety of Life, written by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Lorna Scobie
first published in the UK, 2017; American edition 2018 by Sterling Children’s Books

Biodiversity is a critical component of a healthy planet and this exuberant book brings it to life for children and their grown-ups.

variety of life interior Davies and Scobie

Davies strikes a similar note as Robert Macfarlane in The Lost Words, when she calls us to notice, to know by name, and thus to cherish the multitude of species inhabiting the globe.  These pages are like a vibrant catalogue sampling this diversity — kinds of bears, mushrooms, parrots, sharks, each enticing spread filled with Scobie’s fluid, colorful, personality-rich illustrations and sprinkled with Davies’ snippets of introduction.

variety of life interior2 Davies and Scobie

The earth and everything in it is a precious treasure, a complex, interdependent magnificence that requires nurturing, care-taking, protecting for the flourishing of us all.  Feast on its richness and grow in your understanding of why conservation is of utmost importance with this fascinating book. Highly recommended for ages 5 and up.

the elephant cover image

The Elephant, written and illustrated by Jenni Desmond
published in 2018 by Enchanted Lion Books

I’ve been itching to get my hands on this book ever since I heard it was in the works, because Jenni Desmond’s previous explorations of the blue whale and polar bear are so absolutely fabulous. I am smitten with her work!

the elephant illustration by Jenni Desmond

This double-spread illustration is stunning! (And no, it’s not a photograph!)

Join her now as she eloquently introduces us to the magnificence that is an elephant, its mammoth proportions and delicate sensitivity, its keen intelligence and tender community, its clever ears, feet, trunk, and keystone role in widespread ecosystems.

the elephant interior by Jenni Desmond

Desmond unreels her information clearly, effortlessly lassoing our hearts to these powerful yet gentle creatures, while buoying her pages with the merry inclusion of a spritely fellow-learner. Don’t miss her books, for ages 5 and up.

cute as an axolotol cover image

Cute as an Axolotl:Discovering the World’s Most Adorable Animals, written by Jess Keating, illustrated by David DeGrand
published in 2018 by Alfred A. Knopf

Welcome to the world of ridiculously adorable animals, many of which you have perhaps never heard of before, such as this axolotl with his pink, squatty body, dainty toes, wide fat cheeks, broad smile, and rad fringy hairstyle!

cute as an axoltol interior

Or this preposterously cute Quokka!

cute as an axolotl interior by Keating and DeGrand

Fetching photos are accompanied by interesting tidbits of information plus a side bar with some stats like diet, size, and habitat. Smile-inducing and world-expanding for ages 4 and up.

hello horse cover

Hello, Horse, written by Vivian French, illustrated by Catherine Rayner
published in 2018 by Candlewick

I’m not much of a horse person, but I adore Catherine Rayner’s artwork, so that’s what originally drew me to this title. I was pleasantly surprised by how thoroughly I loved the whole of this lovely book.

hello horse interior by French and Rayner

Rayner’s sunlit, affectionate images, elegant line, and exquisite portraits of plants, trees, and one beloved horse, convey bucolic beauty and warmth on every page. The friendly story of one little boy being introduced to a horse named Shannon and guided beyond his fears of her strikes lovely notes of vulnerability, courage, wonder, and gentleness, even as we learn many interesting facets of horses and their proper care.

hello horse interior2 by French and Rayner

Gorgeous endpapers, elegant typography, creamy, thick paper, all contribute to a superb book, a treat for ages 2 and up.


who eats orange cover image

Who Eats Orange?, written by Dianne White, illustrated by Robin Page
published in 2018 by Beach Lane Books

Spectacularly-colorful pages, clever, engaging questions, and a brilliant mash-up of animals, foods, and colors make this book prime toddler fare.

Arranged in clusters by habitat, we’re asking ourselves what animals eat which colors. Meet four animals who love munching foods of that color…

who eats orange interior by White and Page

and then one answer that gets the gong!

who eats orange interior2 by White and Page

Which leads us to a new color and a new batch of animals.

who eats orange interior3 by White and Page

In the end, we’re treated to a splashy array of gorgeously-colorful fruits and vegetables that we humans also enjoy eating. Cheerful, engaging fare for ages 18 months and up. Additional information in the endpages fills in lots more detail for older siblings, ages 8 and up.