Reading aloud to kids is fun, but sometimes they want to find out things on their own. Here are three new books from National Geographic Kids that are written at a level for curious young naturalists. While written for different levels of readers, these books share a couple things in common: gorgeous photos of animals, a table of contents to help young naturalists find the information they seek, and an activity of some sort.
Turtles (level 1) by Laura Marsh
32 pages; ages 4-6
Who doesn’t love turtles! But did you know there are more than 300 kinds of turtles? And what the difference between a turtle and a tortoise is?
This book presents information in a variety of ways, from text on a page to “Turtle Terms” – introducing new words – to photo spreads where information is packaged like labels on a chart. There is an entire section devoted to “Cool Turtle Facts” like this: Giant tortoises can live more than 100 years.
Want to know what turtles eat? There’s a chapter on that. There’s also a chapter on how baby turtles hatch from their eggs and grow up into teenage turtles, plus a page showing different kinds of turtles.
Pollinators are a hot topic, so kids will want to get the buzz about bees. Young readers can see close-up photos of how bees carry pollen, learn to tell the difference between a bee and a wasp, and how to be safe around bees (hint: don’t bother them!).
There are plenty of “Buzz Words” scattered throughout the pages – words you need to know to talk about bees – and there’s a detailed section about honeybees and how their society is structured. While the book is packed with great photos and information, I wish that the author had spent more time showing how solitary bees live – but maybe that’s another book?
This is a book meant to be read by children and an older sibling or a parent. Together. Sharing one book. One side is written for the older reader, with more sophisticated language. The “I Read” side is meant for the beginning reader, with larger text, easier words, and shorter sentences. The cool thing: people of all ages will learn something. For example, I didn’t know baby lemurs were called “pups”.
There are four chapters, each focusing on a particular aspect of animals lives: finding food, moving, making a home, and using tools. At the end of each chapter there’s an activity to do together. What fun!