Just like animals, the places one can encounter them come in all shapes and sizes. Animal Encounter Bucket List features some of the most famous places in the world where people can visit and learn about animals. There are sanctuaries that seek to rehabilitate animals. Boon Lott’s Elephant’s Sanctuary in Thailand helps animals harmed by the country’s tourism. Zoos are also another way to encounter animals, the oldest being Vienna Zoo in Austria.The best zoos to visit are ones that are accredited with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Natural Parks like the Everglades and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park are worth visiting to see not only animals but the entire habitat in which they live. For those wanting to stay a bit closer to home, camping, hiking, bird-watching, and water activities give people the chance to see animals up close right in their own backyards.
THOUGHTS: This book is easy to read with bright photographs. Some pages include special features like Perspectives and Further Evidence; however, there are not so many of these features that they distract from the text. The entire series is aligned to Common Core Standards and matched to state standards.
Ludwig, Trudy. Brave Every Day. Alfred A. Knopf, 2022. 978-0-593-30637-6. $24.99. 40 p. Grades PK-2.
Camila worries all the time. When she worries, she likes to hide. Her world is filled with what ifs and can’t. Classmates make fun of Camila. Her teacher doesn’t seem to understand or notice how anxious she is. When a field trip to an aquarium overwhelms Camila, she tries to hide behind a potted plant. She isn’t alone. Kai, who loves everything about the ocean and its inhabitants, is also overwhelmed by the crowd, the noise, and the opportunity to touch a real live stingray. Kai begs Camila to go with him to the Sea Friends Meet & Greet exhibit. Camila is nervous, but realizes helping her friend makes her want to try to overcome her own fear. Camila steps out of her comfort zone and enters the exhibit with Kai. Here she learns about a sea creature who hides to protect itself: the octopus. Camilla returns to school eager to share what she has learned, and encouraged to try to be brave when she has the urge to hide. End notes include questions for discussion, and a recommended reading list.
THOUGHTS: Many children bravely face challenges big and small at school every day. This social-emotional book can provide comfort for children with anxiety, with simple language to use when feeling worried or overwhelmed. The book can also help to educate peers on the difficulties their classmates encounter and the bravery they show every day in many small ways. Beautifully illustrated in cool, layered, aquarium tones by Patrice Barton.
Meloy, Maile. The Octopus Escapes. Putnam, 2021. 978-1-984-81269-8. $17.99. 32 p. Grades K-2.
An octopus is captured from his undersea home and placed in an aquarium to be studied. The octopus soon realizes that he cannot stay in his small glass enclosure and plots his escape.
THOUGHTS: After watching My Octopus Teacher, I have to admit I’m a bit obsessed with octopus! This sweet little story sends a subtle message about conservation and studying animals in their natural habitats.
Picture Book Krista Fitzpatrick, Wissahickon Charter School