Green Kids Books, Books for Earth Day, Books About the Environment
By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: April 17, 2012
By Michael Catchpool; Illustrated by Alison Jay
The Cloud Spinner is, as its title suggests, about a boy who makes fine clothes spun from clouds “just as his mother had taught him.” When the greedy King learns of the boy’s talents he demands many outfits be made. Using repetitive and cautionary words, the boy explains over-and-over: “It would not be wise … Your Majesty does not need them.” The clouds eventually disappear and action must be taken. Alison Jay’s signature paintings with the crackle varnish lend themselves well to this clever and fantastical, “green” fairy tale told by Michael Catchpool—the crackling provides an aged feeling of wisdom, while her bright pallet and fanciful placement of animals add a level of freshness that draws young readers in easily. When it comes to delivering a message of conserving resources for our future, a story driven by a child protagonist is the perfect antidote—as gentle as a floating cloud overhead, Catchpool’s tale gives power to the young people!
Ages 5-8 | Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers | March 13, 2012
By Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld; Illustrated by Priscilla Lamont
Sometimes, there is no better way of learning something new than by beginning with your own backyard. The secret of every garden is the amazing food chain that exists within it. A lovely narrative by a young girl named Alice introduces the basics of growing plants and their role in the greater food chain. A pair of kooky chickens liven things up in sidebars on each page, adding humor to the informational experience. Zoehfeld and Lamont have collectively created a gardener’s delight that elementary grade kids will eagerly devour—and I literally mean devour when they start growing their own veggies, which I’m sure they will be inspired to do. This is a must for all budding naturalists.
Ages 5-9 | Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers | February 28, 2012
By David McPhail
Reminiscent of Shel Silvertein’s The Giving Tree and Virginia Lee Burton’s The Little House, McPhail renders his own little slice of thoughtfulness with The Family Tree. This poignant story about a young boy, who takes a stand to protect one tree from the perils of a new highway ready to be built, reminds all of us that our trees have been here for a very long time, they have seen many things, and they need our protection. The text is direct and the illustrations, which were created using watercolor and ink on illustration board, are sophisticated—both offer the last word in urbanity … a quality fit for this environmental tale.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Henry Holt for Young Readers | March 27, 2012
This is a concept book about the color green in representation of all creation, by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (First the Egg—a Caldecott Honor Book and a Geisel Honor Book; One Boy—a Geisel Honor Book; and Dog and Bear: Two Friends, Three Stories—winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book award). The simple rhyming text begs to be read aloud and invites young listeners to sit and ponder or participate through conversation. Every brush stroke and slap of acrylic paint provides purposeful texture and definition to this wonderful exploration of the many shades of green: forest green, pea green, jungle green, and even no green. The die-cut pages add more brilliant texture to each double-page spread and evoke a deeper sense of curiosity—the eyes of a tiger in jungle green show through as the green peas on the page before. How clever Seeger is to teach nature through art—or is it art through nature—or nature through language? You decide!
Ages 2-6 | Publisher: Roaring Book Press/ A Neal Porter Book | March 27, 2012
By Allison Wortche; Illustrated by Patrice Barton
Allison Wortche’s story provides a lesson in gardening and an even greater lesson in empathy. Kermit the Frog once said that it is not easy being green—Rosie Sprout struggles between her “green thumb” and being “green with envy.” Rosie is the shy kid in her class, but this shy kid has some get-up-and-go in her. When Rosie’s class is set the task of planting and growing pea plants, she channels her inner competitiveness and does everything she can to be sure her plant grows taller and sprouts before Violet’s does—Violet is usually the best at everything. When Violet becomes ill and is unable to be at school to take care of her plant, Rosie squelches her competitive streak and takes care of Violet’s, too. Wortche has created a convincing energy with her short yet descriptive sentences that truly resemble a child’s thought pattern. From the rosy-cheeked children to the healthy green leaves of the pea plants, Barton’s emotive pencil sketches, which have been painted digitally, are delightful and energetic. Every child likes to be noticed—even the shy ones—this is a great classroom read or perfect for a one-on-one story time with the shy kid in your life.
Ages 5-8 | Publisher: Random House Children’s Books | December 13, 2011
More “green” books to check out:
The Little Gardener by Gerardi (Ages 0-4, Random House Children’s Books, 2012)
Good night, Laila tov by Laurel Snyder and Jui Ishida (illustrator) (Ages 3-6, Random House Children’s Books, 2012)
And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano and Erin Stead (illustrator) (Ages 4-7, Roaring Book Press, 2012)
Ready Freddy! Save the Earth! by Abby Klein (Ages 4-8, Scholastic, 2012)
Life in the Ocean by Claire A. Nivola (Ages 4-8; Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2012)
The Plant Hunters by Anita Silvey (Ages 8-10; Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2012)