There are – if not quite billions and billions – at least a LOT of resources for astronomy-lovers.

Also see posts on MARS and ALL ABOUT THE MOON.



 imgres Lynn Wilson’s What’s Out There? (Grosset & Dunlap, 1993) is a simply presented introduction to stars and planets, illustrated with terrific paper-collage pictures. For ages 3-7.
 imgres-1 In Joan Sweeney’s Me and My Place in Space (Dragonfly Books, 1999), the young narrator takes off on a tour of the solar system, making crayon illustrations as she goes. (Pair with crayons!) For ages 3-7.
 imgres-2 By Catherine Hughes, National Geographic Kids First Big Book of Space (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2012) is a beautifully illustrated introduction, filled with basic information and catchy facts. (“If you could drive a car to the sun, it would take you 170 years.”) For ages 4-8.
 imgres-3 Karen Fox’s Older Than the Stars (Charlesbridge, 2011) – in catchy verse – explains how everything that makes up every one of us (and everything else) originated billions of years ago in the Big Bang. Included is a colorful timeline of the universe. For ages 6-10.
 imgres-4 Also see Michael Rubino’s Bang! How We Came to Be (Prometheus Books, 2011) for ages 8-11.
 images The Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series many astronomy-themed picture books for early-elementary-level kids. Titles include Mission to Mars, The International Space Station, What the Moon is Like, and The Planets in Our Solar System. For the complete list, see Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science.
 imgres-5 Joanne C. Letwinch’s Soaring Through the Universe: Astronomy Through Children’s Literature (Libraries Unlimited, 1999) has activities, projects, literature connections, and reproducible worksheets, variously categorized under Moon, Sun, Planets, Stars, and Space Travel. For ages 7-12.
 imgres-6 Philip Harrington’s Astronomy for All Ages (Globe Pequot Press, 2000) is subtitled “Discovering the Universe Through Activities for Children and Adults.” Over fifty activities for all ages, variously covering the moon, planets, stars, constellations, and galaxies. Included are charts of lunar eclipses and meteor showers.
 imgres-7 Robin Kerrod’s Universe (Dorling Kindersley, 2009) in the popular Eyewitness series devotes a gorgeously illustrated double-page spread to each topic, among them “How the universe works,” “Comparing the planets,” “Clusters and nebulae,” “Pulsars and black holes,” and “Quasars and other active galaxies.” For ages 8 and up.
 imgres-8 I love Basher Science! Simon Basher and Dan Green’s 120+-page Astronomy: Out of This World! (Kingfisher, 2009) is clever, funny, and packed with information, much of it delivered in the anthropomorphic first person. The Sun: “I’m a total star – the center of everything, baby! A fearsome fireball burning 600 million tons of hydrogen every second, I provide light and heat for the orbiting scraps of matter called planets.” Terrific for ages 10 and up.
 imgres-9 In Neil de Grasse Tyson’s Merlin’s Tour of the Universe (Main Street Books, 1997), Tyson – in the person of Merlin, an omniscient visitor from the Andromeda Galaxy, answers astronomy questions from kids and adults on topics “from Mars and Quasars to comets, Planets, Blue Moons, and Werewolves.” A great read for ages 10 and up.
 imgres-10 Also see Tyson’s Just Visiting This Planet (Main Street Books, 1998) in which Merlin returns to answer a second round of questions.
 imgres-11 By Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano, A Black Hole is Not a Hole (Charlesbridge, 2012) is a reader-friendly account of gravity, quasars, black holes, and the event horizon, written with both expertise and a sense of humor. (“A black hole is nothing to look at. Literally.”) For ages 11 and up.
 imgres-12 Chet Raymo’s 365 Starry Nights (Simon & Schuster, 1990) has star maps, well-presented scientific information and an astronomical adventure for every night of the year. A great family resource.
Also see the (unrelated) 365 Days of Astronomy which has an informational astronomical podcast for every day of the year.
 imgres-13 Bob Berman’s Secrets of the Night Sky (Harper Paperbacks, 1996): subtitled “The Most Amazing Things in the Universe You Can See with the Naked Eye,” is a fascinating collection of essays on everything from the Big Dipper to the aurora borealis. Though intended for adults, these make for great astronomical family read-alouds. Also included are helpful appendices on selecting binoculars and buying a telescope.
 imgres-14 NASA’s Starchild is a “Learning Center for Young Astronomers.” Visitors learn about the solar system, universe, and outer space with a wide range of activities. For elementary- and middle-school-level kids.
 imgres-15 NASA’s Space Place is a great resource, with many interactive projects, activities, and explorations for kids of all ages, categorized under Space, Sun, Earth, Solar System, and Peiople & Technology.
 imgres-16 NASA’s Imagine the Universe has information, multimedia exhibits, interactive projects and activities (some using real satellite data), and more. Designed for ages 14 and up.
 imgres-18 Astronomy Basics for Children is a nicely organized hyperlinked list, covering What Astronomers Do, How Did the Universe Begin, Home Sweet Home, The Light We Live By, Eight or Nine Planets, and How Far Does the Apple Fall from the Tree? Included are astronomy calculators, a mnemonic for remembering the planets in order, a tutorial on the Milky Way, and more.
 imgres-18 At Kids Astronomy, kids can explore the solar system, deep space, and space travel via creative animations. Also included are an astronomy dictionary, current observation info about tonight’s sky, and free online astronomy classes for either ages 7-11 or 12-18.
 imgres-20 From NASA and Montana State University’s Ceres Project, Educational Activities has a list of very well-organized lesson plans for a range of ages. Sample titles: Sky Paths: Studying the Movement of Celestial Objects, Learning Planet sizes, MarsQuest, and The Expanding Universe.
 imgres-17 Dark Skies, Bright Kids has a instructions for some great astronomy activities: for example, kids made model comets, explore invisible light, make pocket solar systems, and launch bottle rockets.
 imgres-21 See Space Science Teaching for a lesson plan on navigating by the North Star, constellation teaching resources, a map of the northern circumpolar constellations, and more. (Learn how to make a sextant!)
 images-1 From Core Knowledge, Astronomy is an excellent nine-part lesson plan targeted at third-graders. Various sections – all with instructions and materials and resource lists – cover Origins of the Universe; Galaxies; the Solar System; Planetary Motion; Gravity; Asteroids, Meteors, and Comets; Eclipses; Stars, Constellations, and Orienteering; and Exploration of Space.
 imgres-22 At Ology, the American Museum of Natural History’s website for kids, learn all about astronomy, take a virtual tour of the solar system, find out if you’re a likely candidate for a colony on Mars, build the Big Dipper, and more.
 imgres-23 Stardate is the public education and outreach branch of the University of Texas McDonald Observatory. Visit the website for episodes of the informational Stardate radio program, a moon phase calendar, an illustrated “Astro Guide” to the universe, and a downloadable teacher’s lesson plan guide.
 imgres-24 At the University of Illinois Department of Astronomy, click on Resources for a helpful list of demos and animations (topics, for example, include lunar phases, Kepler’s laws, and the Doppler effect), portraits of stars, a complete list of constellations, an astronomy picture of the day, and – for chemists – an “astromolecule” of the month.
 imgres-26 For interested amateur astronomers, Astronomy magazine is filled with news and information about astronomy and sky-viewing. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-25 Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is a 13-part 2014 science documentary hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, an update of Carl Sagan’s original Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, aired on PBS in 1980. A great way to get an astronomy education.
 imgres-27 At the Hubble Site, learn all about the Hubble telescope and its discoveries., and get the scoop on the Webb Space Telescope, the Hubble’s successor. Included at the site are videos, podcasts, a photo gallery, and more.


 imgres-28 Anne Rockwell’s Our Stars (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002) has bright pictures and a short simple text for ages 3-6.
 imgres-29 In the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series, Franklyn Branley’s The Sky Is Full of Stars (HarperCollins, 1983) is a simple introduction to stars and stargazing for ages 4-8.
 images-2 C.E. Thompson’s Glow-in-the-Dark Constellations (Grosset & Dunlap, 1999) is a straightforward introduction to ten major constellations, each given a double-page spread. (And they glow in the dark.) For ages 4-8.
 imgres-30 By Gail Gibbons, The Stargazers (Holiday House, 1999), illustrated with bright attractive drawings, covers stargazers, ancient and modern, stars and constellations, and the operation of telescopes and planetariums. A straightforward introduction for ages 5-8.
 imgres-31 Seymour Simon’s Stars HarperCollins, 2006) and Galaxies (HarperCollins, 1991) are excellent introductions, illustrated with spectacular full-page color photographs. For ages 6-10.
 imgres-32 Looking up, of course, is easy; the trick is to know just what you’re looking up at. A wonderful help here is H.A. Rey’s 72-page Find the Constellations (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2008) – an excellent (and classic) beginner’s guide to the stars for ages 5-11.
 imgres-33 For older kids, check out Rey’s The Stars: A New Way to See Them (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2008), 160 pages of beautifully presented information, diagrams, drawings, and star maps. For ages 12 and up.
 imgres-34 A Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky by Michael Driscoll (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2004), illustrated with photos, diagrams, and colorful cartoon drawings, is divided into two main sections: “What’s Up There?” (including “What We Can See” and “What We Can’t See”) and “Exploring What’s Up There,” which provides guidelines for sky viewing through the four seasons of the year. For ages 8 and up.
 imgres-35 Joan Marie Galat’s Dot to Dot in the Sky:Stories in the Stars (Whitecap Books, 2010) has scientific facts and a mythological story for each of fifteen prominent constellations. A star chart and “dot-to-dot” patterns help beginners locate them in the sky, For ages 8-12.
  Also by Galat in the same Dot to Dot in the Sky series are Stories of the Planets, Stories of the Zodiac, and Stories of the Moon.
 imgres-36 Terence Dickinson’s Exploring the Night Sky (Firefly Books, 1987) is an excellent star-spotting resource, featuring a “Cosmic Voyage” in “40 jumps” from the neighborly Moon to distant galaxies; an overview of the solar system and deep space; and a stargazing guide. For ages 10 and up.
 imgres-37 Fran Lee’s Wishing on a Star: Constellation Stories and Stargazing Activities for Kids (Gibbs Smith, 2001) shows kids how to make a “twinkling thaumatrope” (a Victorian spinning toy), a star-patterned kite, and a star mobile, and includes script and instructions for performing a constellation myth play.
 imgres-38 The barebones stargazer doesn’t need more than a star map, a red-cellophane-covered flashlight for peeking at it (red light won’t interfere with your night vision), and a comfy blanket. A wonderful extra, however, is a green laser pointer. These are much brighter than the red versions, and the green beam dot shows up in midair, which means that it can be used for pointing at stars and constellations  (“skypointing”). (Prices vary from about $25 to $100.)
 imgres-39 Bob Crelin’s picture-book There Once Was a Sky Full of Stars (Sky Publishing, 2007), in simple rhyming text, describes the wonders of the night sky and their loss due to light pollution. For more information, visit the International Dark Sky Association at
 imgres-24 From the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, see the resource guide Dark Night Skies: Dealing with Light Pollution, which includes websites, books, articles online and in print, and activities for students.
 imgres-40 Bruce LaFontaine’s Constellations of the Night Sky (Dover, 2003) is a 48-page informational coloring book from Dover Publications.
 imgres-41 Enchanted Learning has a large collection of printable constellation connect-the-dot puzzles.
 imgres-42 Donna Young’s Pringles Can Viewer and Constellation Slides has printable constellation slides and instructions.
 imgres-43 For the ambitious, see How to Build an LED Plantetarium.
 imgres-44 Make Your Own Tin Can Pinhole Planetarium has illustrated instructions.
  This Shoebox Planetarium Project has complete instructions – suggested as a group project for learning constellations.
 imgres-45 Skymaps offers free printable monthly sky maps (both northern and southern hemispheres) and a monthly sky calendar of best objects to see with binoculars, telescope, or naked eye.
 imgres-24 Amazing Space has a gallery of Hubble images, “Tonight’s Sky,” a guide to currently viewable constellations and other night-sky objects, and a long list of terrific interactive explorations for kids on galaxies, comets, black holes, the solar system, and more.
 imgres-15 From NASA’s Space Place, Make a Star Finder has instructions and printable star-map patterns for each month of the year.
 imgres-46 See these instructions for making origami dream stars.
 imgres-47 From the Van Gogh Gallery, learn about and view Van Gogh’s Starry Night and other starry paintings. (Try painting one of your own.)


 imgres-48 Harriet Peck Taylor’s Coyote Places the Stars (Aladdin, 1997) is a picture-book tale of the irrepressible Coyote who climbs a ladder to the moon and there makes wonderful animal pictures in the sky by shooting arrows at the stars. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-49 Jerrie Oughton’s How the Stars Fell Into the Sky (Sandpiper, 1996) is a Navajo legend about the origin of the stars and constellations. First Woman is making a careful pattern – a “careful mosaic on the blackberry cloth of night” – until impatient Coyote decides to help. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-50 Jacqueline Mitton’s Zoo in the Sky: A Book of Animal Constellations (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2006) pairs animal legends and a bit of scientific information with gorgeous silver-star-studded paintings by Christina Balit. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-51 Also by Jacqueline Mitton and Christina Balit, see Once Upon a Starry Night (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2009) for star stories from Greek myths; and Zodiac: Celestial Circle of the Sun (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2008), for science, history, and legends of the twelve constellations of the Zodiac. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-52 Joseph Bruchac’s The Earth Under Sky Bear’s Feet (Putnam Juvenile, 1998) is a collection of poems based on tribal legends of the Sky Bear (Big Dipper), illustrated with oil paintings. For ages 6-12.
 imgres-53 They Dance in the Sky by Jean Guard Monroe and Ray A. Williamson (Sandpiper, 2007) is a 144-page collection of star myths from a wide range of Indian tribes, among them Navajo, Pawnee, Micmac, Tlingit, and Mohawk. For ages 9 and up.
 41eFej1QIBL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Keepers of the Night by Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac (Fulcrum Publishing, 1994) pairs native American star legends with activities, games, and science and nature experiments.


 imgres-54 In Joanna Cole’s The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System (Scholastic, 1992), the planetarium is closed, so Miss Frizzle launches her class into space on board the magic school bus, where they take a tour of the solar system. Must of the information is delivered via hand-printed student reports. For ages 4-9.
 imgres-55 By Jacqueline Mitton – who has a Ph.D. in astrophysics – The Planet Gods (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2008) combines science with mythology and legends about the planets in our solar system. For ages 6-9.
 imgres-56 Seymour Simon’s Our Solar System (HarperCollins, 2007), illustrated with spectacular full-page color photographs, covers the sun, the planets and their moons, and asteroids, comets, and meteoroids. For ages 6-10.
 imgres-57 Astronomer David Aguilar’s 13 Planets: The Latest View of the Solar System (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2011) brings readers up to date on the solar system, including its latest inhabitants, Ceres and Eris. Illustrated with wonderful photos and diagrams. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-58 Elaine Scott’s When is a Planet Not a Planet? (Clarion Books, 2007) is the story of Pluto, downgraded in 2006 from “planet” to “dwarf planet.” For ages 9-12.
 imgres-59 Also see Elizabeth Rusch’s The Planet Hunter: The Story Behind What Happened to Pluto (Cooper Square Publishing, 2007) for ages 4-8.
 imgres-60 Exploring the Solar System by Mary Kay Carson (Chicago Review Press, 2006) is “A History with 22 Activities” charting space science from its ancient beginnings to the present day. Attractive diagrams demonstrate planetary motion, the inner workings of reflector, refractor, and compound telescopes, and the anatomy of a rocket; colored boxes hold capsule biographies of such famous space scientists as William Herschel, Robert Goddard, Edmond Halley, Edwin Hubble, and Yuri Gagarin.  Projects include building a spectroscope (you’ll need an old CD), making craters in the kitchen, watching for satellites, taking a walk to Pluto, and making a map of the Moon. For ages 9 and up.
  The Thousand-Yard Model is an exercise for visualizing the (enormous) of the solar system. You’ll need peppercorns and pins.


 imgres-61 In Meghan McCarthy’s Astronaut Handbook (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2008), four adorably pop-eyed kids head off for astronaut school. Readers learn what astronaut training is all about. Delightful for ages 4-8.
 imgres-62 Patrick O’Brien’s You Are the First Kid on Mars (Putnam Juvenile, 2009) stars a little boy in an orange space suit traveling to Mars via space elevator, space station, and Nuclear Thermal Rocket (which last travels at a thrilling 75,000 miles per hour), and finally arriving at a Martian colony populated by scientists and engineers. The book is illustrated with wonderful photorealistic paintings, peppered with interesting facts, and written in the second person, which gives the text a feel of you-are-there immediacy. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-63 Carole Stott’s Space Exploration (Dorling Kindersley, 2009), an Eyewitness book, covers each topic in a double-page spread, creatively illustrated with photographs. Topics include “What is space?” “Rocket science,” “Man on the moon,” “Space stations,” and “Landers and discoverers.” For ages 8 and up.
 imgres-64 Tanya Lee Stone’s Almost Astronauts (Candlewick, 2009) is a fascinating (and infuriating) photo-essay about 13 women who almost became astronauts – and by doing so, opened the way to space for women. For ages 10 and up.
 imgres-67 Best, of course, would be to take a trip to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum – but, lacking that, there’s a lot of good stuff online. For example, check out the exhibit of artifacts from the Apollo 11 mission.
 imgres-68 Want to help search for extraterrestrial intelligence? Visit SETI@home and find out how.
 imgres-24 Discovery Education has a large assortment of space-based lesson plans for a range of ages. Among the titles: Space Milestones, Understanding Space Travel, and Life in Space.


 imgres-69 Laura Purdie Salas’s And Then There Were Eight (A+ Books, 2008) combines 15 poems about astronomy and space exploration with gorgeous color photographs. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-70 Douglas Florian’s Comets, Stars, the Moon and Mars (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2007) is an illustrated collection of catchy space poems for ages 5 and up.
 imgres-71 Amy Sklansky’s Out of This World (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2012) is a clever collection of 20 illustrated poems about space travel and astronomy, with general information and cool factoids presented in sidebars. A great pick for ages 5 and up.
 imgres-72 Jack Prelutsky’s The Swamps of Sleethe (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2009) – subtitled “Poems From Beyond the Solar System” – is a fun but creepy collection about aliens that you really don’t want to meet. For kids who like a touch of the scary. For ages 6-9.
 imgres-73 Walt Whitman’s When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer is not a plug for science. Go on. Discuss.
 imgres-24 This collection of Astronomy-Related Poetry includes selections by Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Sara Teasdale, and Edgar Allan Poe.
 imgres-24 Alan Shapiro’s Astronomy Lesson begins with two boys on the front porch, looking up.


From the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Science Fiction Stories with Good Astronomy & Physics is a terrific (and long) categorized list.
 images-3 Jane Yolen’s Commander Toad in Space (Puffin, 1996)  is the first of a series starring the “bold and bright” Commander Toad and his crew on the spaceship Star Warts. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-75 Mark Kelly’s Mousetronaut (Paula Wiseman Books, 2012) (“based on a (partially) true story”) features Meteor, a very small mouse, who saves a mission on the space shuttle Endeavor. Includes a lot of helpful info about daily life on the space shuttle. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-76 In Mary Pope Osborne’s Midnight on the Moon (Random House, 1996), one of the popular Magic Tree House series, Jack and Annie go forward in time and end up at the International Space Station on the moon. For ages 6-9.
 imgres-77 In Eleanor Cameron’s The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet (Little, Brown, 1988), Chuck and David build a homemade space ship and head off in with odd little scientist Mr. Bass to the green planet of Basidium. For ages 8-11.
 imgres-78 In Adam Rex’s funny and delightful The True Meaning of Smekday, aliens known as the Boov have taken over the Earth and forced all humans to relocate to Florida. Eleven-year-old Tip Tucci and a renegade Boov end up on a wild cross-country trip trying to find Tip’s mother and, incidentally, to save the world. A riotous read for ages 8-12.
 imgres-79 In Jill Paton Walsh’s The Green Book (Square Fish, 2012), Pattie and family have left the dying Earth to settle on the new planet of Shine – though on this beautiful crystalline planet it soon becomes clear that they may not be able to survive. (Readers learn on page one that colonists are only allowed to take one book per passenger – which makes for a discussion right there.) For ages 8-12.
 imgres-80 By Stephen Hawking – yes, the Stephen Hawking and his daughter Lucy, in George’s Secret Key to the Universe (Simon & Schuster, 2009), George ends up traveling through space with the scientist next door, his daughter Annie, and a super-computer named Cosmos. There’s a lot of good science here – readers, for example, learn a lot about black holes – but the text can be labored. (“Why, George, science is a wonderful and fascinating subject that helps us understand the world around us.”) For ages 8-12.
 imgres-81 In Borgel (Aladdin, 1992), by the hysterically funny Daniel Pinkwater, young Marvin Spellbound is taken on an intergalactic road trip by his Uncle Borgel in search of the elusive Giant Popsicle. Uncle Borgel – who travels with 32 small black suitcases – turns out to be 111 years old and an experienced time-and-space traveler. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-82 In Mark Haddon’s Boom! (Yearling, 2011) best friends Jimbo and Charlie overhear two of their teachers talking in a strange language and – curious – decide to investigate. It turns out that they’re aliens, kidnapping science-fiction fans to repopulate their dying planet. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-83 In John Christopher’s The White Mountains (Aladdin, 2014), the Tripods – giant alien machines – have taken over the Earth. Young Will Parker – about to turn 13 and due to undergo the Capping ceremony that will put him under the Tripods’ control – instead runs away to the White Mountains, hoping to join the anti-Tripod rebels. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-84 In Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time (Square Fish, 2007), originally published in 1962, Meg Murry, along with her five-year-old genius brother Charles Wallace and friend Calvin, are transported across the universe with the help of the mysterious Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Who (and a tesseract) to find Meg’s lost scientist father. For ages 10 and up.
 imgres-85 Ray Bradbury’s classic The Martian Chronicles (Simon & Schuster, 2012) is a collection of short stories on the colonization of Mars. Titles include “Rocket Summer,” “The Settlers,” “The Old Ones,” “The Silent Towns,” and “The Million-Year Picnic.” A wonderful read for ages 12 and up.
 imgres-86 In Robert Heinlein’s Tunnel in the Sky (Pocket Books, 2005), Rod Walker, who wants to be a professional space colonist guide, is sent to a distant planet with other members of his high-school class for a short survival test. Something, however, goes terribly wrong and the kids are stranded. For ages 12 and up.
 imgres-87 In Ursula LeGuin’s The Word for World is Forest (Tor, 2010), the peaceful forest planet of Athshe has been colonized by yumans – us – who are exploiting the “primitive” green-furred natives. Talk about metaphors. A good discussion book for ages 13 and up.
 imgres-88 In Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game (Tor, 1994), the government is training child geniuses as soldiers to combat a hostile alien race. For ages 13 and up.
 imgres-89 In C.S. Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet (Scribner, 2003), Dr. Ransom is kidnapped by scientists Weston and Devine and taken to Malacandra (Mars), where they plan to turn him over to the sorns – the Malacandran natives – as a sacrifice. Along with the two sequels, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength, these are not only exciting science fiction adventures, but raise issues of theology and ethics. For ages 13 and up.
 imgres-90 In Douglas Adams’s irresistible The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Del Ray, 1995), Arthur Dent is yanked off Earth by his friend Ford Prefect – who is really an alien – seconds before the planet is demolished to make way of an intergalactic freeway. Always remember: (1) a towel is the most useful thing a space traveler can carry and (2) Don’t panic. For ages 13 and up.
 imgres-91 Frank Herbert’s Dune (Ace, 1990) – set on the desert planet of Arrakis – is the story of Paul Atreides who joins the desert-dwelling Fremen and becomes the legendary leader Muad’Dib. The book is a rich combination of politics, environmentalism, and religion, with giant sand worms. For ages 13 and up.



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WOOF! All About Dogs


Literature is full of dogs. There’s Dorothy’s sidekick Toto; Tintin’s buddy Snowy; brave Nana, who did her best to keep Wendy, Michael, and John from flying off to Neverland with Peter Pan; Tock, the watchdog, in The Phantom Tollbooth; Argos in The Odyssey – the only one to recognize his master upon his return; and Cerberus, the three-headed dog who in Greek mythology guards the entrance to the Underworld. And, of course, dozens more, fictional, non-fictional, funny, fierce, or famous.

See below for many great dog books, dog poems, resources for science (and dogs), math (and dogs), astronomy (and dogs), helpful how-tos for young dog owners, and more.

Let’s be fair. Also see CATS.



 imgres In Mercer Mayer’s priceless A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog (Dial, 2003), a boy and his dog discover a frog in a pond and set out to catch it.  They fail, spectacularly, and eventually (frog-less) head home for a bath. The frog, left behind, misses them and by the end of the book, has followed and joined them in the tub. A simple wordless story (with more in the series) for ages 2-7.
See A Boy, A Dog, and a Frog on You Tube for a great real-life version of the story.
 imgres-1 In Norman Bridwell’s Clifford, the Big Red Dog (Cartwheel Books, 2010), Emily Elizabeth has a truly GIANT dog. There are many books in this series for ages 3-6.
 imgres-2 In Greg Gormley’s Dog in Boots (Holiday House, 2011), Dog – inspired by the story of “Puss in Boots” – heads for the shoe store for an impressive pair of boots.  The boots, unfortunately, aren’t much good for digging, so back they go. Next Dog tries a pair of galoshes – which aren’t much good for swimming. Eventually he runs through a long list of footwear, from flippers to skis to high heels, only to decide that his own furry paws are the best. At the end of the book, Dog is reading a story about a girl with a terrific red hood. For ages 3-6.
 images In Jules Feiffer’s delightful Bark, George (HarperCollins, 1999), George does everything but bark. When told by his mother to bark, George meows. “No, George,” said George’s mother. “Cats go meow. Dogs go arf. Now, bark, George.” George went: “Oink.” Funny and adorable for ages 3-7.
 imgres-3 Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s Dog and Bear (Roaring Brook Press, 2007) is a collection of three short stories about irrepressible Dog and his shy, often baffled, best friend Bear. (They’re somewhat reminiscent of Arnold Lobel’s wonderful duo, Frog and Toad.) Dog announces that he’s changing his name. “From now on, call me SPOT.” “But you don’t have any spots,” Bear says. For ages 3-7.
 imgres-4 In Maurice Sendak’s Some Swell Pup; or, Are You Sure You Want a Dog? (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1976) – illustrated panel-cartoon-style – a pair of new puppy owners learn to cope with their obstreperous new charge. For ages 3-7.
 imgres-5 Gene Zion’s Harry the Dirty Dog (HarperCollins, 2006) is the  story of Harry, a dog who “liked everything, except getting a bath.” That is, until one day when Harry has so many grubby adventures that he changes from a white dog with black spots to a black dog with white spots. For ages 3-8.
 imgres-6 In Keiko Kasza’s The Dog Who Cried Wolf (Puffin, 2009), Michelle reads her dog Moka a book about wolves – and Moka immediately decides that he’d like to be a wolf, running around free, hunting wild animals, and staying up late to howl at the moon. (“Look at the way I live,” Moka sighed. “I’m nothing but a house pet.” He felt like a failure, especially when Michelle made him dress up for her tea parties.) So Moka runs away to be a wolf, which isn’t as much fun as he thought it would be. Funny and charming for ages 4-7.
 imgres-7 In Lori Mortensen’s rhyming Cowpoke Clyde and Dirty Dawg (Clarion, 2013), tidy Cowpoke Clyde has scrubbed everything in the house – except Dawg. As Clyde moves in with soap and water, Dawg bolts, and there follows a rambunctious chase involving everything from chickens to pigs, cats, and a kicking mule. For ages 4-7.
  imgres-13 In Susan Meddaugh’s Martha Speaks (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1992), Martha, the family dog, eats a bowl of alphabet soup – and suddenly she can talk. The problem: sometimes Martha talks too much. Many funny sequels, for ages 4-8.
 imgres-9 In Elizabeth Bluemle’s giggle-provoking My Father the Dog (Candlewick, 2008), Dad may look human, but the young narrator makes a convincing case that – behavior-wise – her father is really a dog. For ages 4-8.
 images-1 In Caralyn Buehner’s Dex: The Heart of a Hero (HarperCollins, 2007), Dex is a very small dog, so puny that Cleevis the cat bullies him. Dex, however, is determined to be a superhero. He heads to the library for background reading material, subscribes to an exercise regime, and even orders himself a catchy superhero suit. Soon he’s out doing good deeds – even rescuing Cleevis from a tree. By the end of the book, Dex and Cleevis have teamed up for what looks to be a beautiful and heroic friendship. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-11 In Cynthia Rylant’s Henry and Mudge (Simon Spotlight, 1996), Henry, an only child who lives on a block without any other kids, is lonesome, so he asks for a dog. Enter Mudge, who rapidly goes from being a tiny puppy to a perfectly enormous dog – and Henry’s best friend. A good pick for beginning readers. Many sequels. For ages 5-7.
 imgres-12 By William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray, Walter the Farting Dog (Puffin, 2008) – dedicated to “everyone who’s ever felt misjudged or misunderstood” – is the story of the unfortunate Walter, doomed to be sent to the pound for his continual farting. (This word alone sends children into giggling fits.) Then burglars break in and Walter’s affliction turns him into a hero. Several sequels. It’s not my pick, but look at all those chortling kids. For ages 5-8. Especially the ones who think “poop” is screamingly funny.


 imgres-15 Meindert DeJong’s Newbery Honor book Along Came a Dog (HarperCollins, 1980) is the lovely and heartwarming story of a friendship between a homeless dog and a lonely little red hen. For ages 6-11.
 imgres-16 Eric Knight’s Lassie Come Home (Square Fish, 2007), originally published in 1940 and now available in many editions, has led to movie versions and a television series. The book features Lassie, the prize collie belonging to young Joe Carraclough, who has to be sold when the family falls into hard times. Taken to the north of Scotland by her new owner – the Duke of Rudling – Lassie escapes and makes the long trek home to Joe. For ages 8 and up.
 imgres-17 The 1943 film version of Lassie Come Home stars Roddy MacDowell as young Joe and Elizabeth Taylor as Priscilla, the Duke’s sympathetic daughter. Rated G.
 imgres-18 In Eleanor Estes’s Ginger Pye (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2000), siblings Jerry and Rachel Pye love their dog Ginger, the smartest dog ever. Then – on Thanksgiving Day – Ginger is stolen. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-19 Check your library for Mary Stolz’s A Dog on Barkham Street (HarperCollins, 1960) – it’s out of print, but worth tracking down. Main character Edward Frost wants just two things: to be free of neighborhood bully Martin Hastings and to have a dog. Then his wandering on-the-road Uncle Josh shows up with a dog – Argess – who adopts Edward as his boy. For ages 8-11.
 imgres-20 In Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Newbery winner Shiloh (Atheneum, 1991), 11-year-old Marty Preston, growing up in rural West Virginia, finds an abused beagle puppy.  Knowing that the puppy will be mistreated if returned to its rightful owner – the rotten Judd Travers – Marty struggles with moral values and a determination to protect the dog he has come to love. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-21 Avi’s The Good Dog (Atheneum, 2003) is written from the point of view of a malamute named McKinley, head dog in the community of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. McKinley’s life changes dramatically when he meets the greyhound Duchess, an abused runaway trying to evade her owner, and Lupin, a wolf, trying to recruit dogs to join her pack. He also has to deal with the aggressive setter, Redburn, who wants to take McKinley’s place as head dog.  An exciting story populated with very real dogs. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-22 By Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffey, and Laurie Myers, in Dog Diaries: Secret Writings of the WOOF Society (Henry Holt and Company, 2007), the dog members collect assorted stories from dogs from all places and times. (WOOF stands for “Words of Our Friends.”) For ages 8-12.
 imgres-23 In Dodie Smith’s 101 Dalmatians (Puffin, 1989), originally published in 1956, Pongo and Missis Pongo’s fifteen puppies have been kidnapped by Cruella de Vil and taken to her ancestral home, Hell Hall, where she plans to have them skinned and made into fur coats. Pongo and Missis discover their whereabouts with the help of the dogs’ communication network (“Twilight Barking”) and head off to rescue their brood, along with all the other Dalmatian captives at the Hall. Believe me, much better than the movie. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-24 In Sarah Lean’s A Dog Called Homeless (Katherine Tegen Books, 2014), 11-year-old Cally’s mother has died; her father, grief-stricken himself, is unable to help; and so Cally, convinced that nothing she says matters, has given up talking altogether. Then she starts seeing visions of her mother, accompanied by a large dog, who also shows up in company with a homeless man, Jed, in the park. Then Cally, her father, and older brother Luke, move into an apartment, where Cally befriends Sam – blind and nearly deaf – and his mother. Eventually with the help of friends, family, and a dog, Cally begins to heal. For ages 8-12.
A Dog Called Homeless has discussion questions and activities to accompany the book. For example, kids create memory boxes and communicate using the deaf-blind alphabet.
 imgres-25 By Wilson Rawls, Where the Red Fern Grows is the story of ten-year-old Billy Coleman, growing up in the Ozarks, with his two coonhounds, Old Dan and Little Ann. It’s a powerful and emotional story with a tragic ending – though Billy eventually finds some comfort in the native American legend of the red fern. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-26 In Kate DiCamillo’s Newbery Honor book Because of Winn-Dixie (Candlewick, 2009), ten-year-old Opal and her preacher father have just moved to the little town of Naomi, Florida, when Opal finds a homeless and homely dog at the Winn-Dixie grocery store. She names the dog after the store – and the pair proceed to make friends with guitar-playing, ex-convict, pet store owner Otis; librarian Miss Franny Block, whose great-grandfather invented Litmus Lozenges; and even Gloria Dump, who just might possibly be a witch. A great story about life, people, and dogs, with a wonderful cast of characters. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-27 The film version of Because of Winn-Dixie (2005) is rated PG.
 imgres-28 Sheila Burnford’s now-classic The Incredible Journey (Yearling, 1997) is the story of two dogs – Luath, a young Labrador retriever and Bodger, an elderly bull terrier – and Tao, a Siamese cat, who join forces to survive a harrowing trek across the Canadian wilderness to find their owners. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-29 Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993) is a re-make of the original movie, made in 1963. The new version is set in California. Rated G.
 imgres-30 In Survivors (HarperCollins, 2013), Erin Hunter – author(s) of the Warriors and Seekers animal fantasy series – turns her collective attention to dogs. A series for ages 9 and up.
 imgres-31 Fred Gipson’s Old Yeller (HarperPerennial, 2009) has been breaking hearts since it was first published in 1956. In charge of the family ranch while his father is off on a cattle drive, young Travis adopts a mongrel yellow dog, who proves himself a hero many times over, saving the family from bears, hogs, and – tragically – a rabies-infected wolf, who gives Old Yeller the disease. There’s a positive end (Old Yeller fathered puppies), but it’s still a tearjerker. For ages 10 and up. With tissues.
 imgres-32 The Disney film version of Old Yeller (1957) stars Dorothy McGuire, Fess Parker, and Tommy Kirk.
 imgres-33 In William H. Armstrong’s Newbery winner Sounder (HarperCollins, 2002), Sounder is the loyal hound belonging to a family of black sharecroppers in the Depression-era South. When the father of the family is arrested for stealing, Sounder is shot and disappears, and the oldest son of the family – who desperately wants to learn to read – is left to support the family as best he can. Ultimately father and dog come home, and – though the ending is sad – the family finds healing. For ages 10 and up.
 imgres-34 The film version of Sounder (1972) is rated G and stars Cicely Tyson, Paul Winfield, and Kevin Hooks.
 imgres-35 I have to sympathize with Wallace Wallace, star of Gordon Korman’s No More Dead Dogs (Disney-Hyperion, 2002). Hyper-honest eighth-grade football player Wallace has had it with books in which the dog dies, and so refuses to write a favorable book report about the current class read, Old Shep, My Pal. As punishment, Wallace is forced to attend rehearsals of the Drama Club’s production of Old Shep – and finds that he has a lot of suggestions. Snappy, funny, and the dog – in Wallace’s hands -makes it. For ages 11-14.
 imgres-36 Clifford Simak’s City (Ace, 1952) is a collection of eight stories set in the distant future in which human beings have left Earth, leaving behind only robots and a population of now highly evolved and articulate dogs. Check your library. For ages 13 and up.
 imgres-37 Paul Auster’s Timbuktu (Picador, 2009) is the story of a schizophrenic homeless man, Willy Christmas, and his dog, Mr. Bones. Willy is dying, and so sets off on a trek from Brooklyn to Baltimore to find his former high-school English teacher, hoping to find both a home for his dog – and for the collection of manuscripts that he has written and stashed at the Greyhound bus terminal. The story is told from the point of view of Mr. Bones. For older teenagers and adults.


 imgres-38 In John Erickson’s Hank the Cowdog Series, beginning with The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog (Maverick Books, 2011), the ever-suspicious Hank is the head of security on a Texas ranch where – with the help of his assistant, Drover (whose old leg wound acts up at the least hint of danger) – he solves giggle-provoking mysteries involving Night-Stalking Bone Monsters, Swirling Killer Tornadoes, Kidnapped Collies, and Vampire Cats. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-39 In Play Dead (Scholastic, 2013), the first of the A Dog and His Girl mystery series by Jane B. Mason and Sarah Hines-Stephens, readers are introduced to Dodge, a police dog, retired from the force after an accident leaves him deaf in one ear, and his new owner Cassie, a 12-year-old with a nose for mysteries (helped along by her mother, a police chief, and her dad, a coroner). For ages 8-12.
 imgres-40 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, originally published in 1902, is available in many editions. Set on Dartmoor in Devon, this is the story of the attempted murder (via family curse) of the Baskerville heir, based on the legend of a terrible supernatural hound. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, of course, solve the case.
  At Project Gutenberg, read The Hound of the Baskervilles online.
 imgres-41 Film versions include the 1939 Hound of the Baskervilles with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce and the 1959 Hound of the Baskervilles with Peter Cushing and Andre Morell.
  For many more books and resources for mystery lovers, see Sherlock and Company: A Multitude of Mysteries.


 imgres-42 I love James Thurber’s awful Airedale Muggs – star of “The Dog That Bit People,” which short story appears in Thurber’s hilarious biographical My Life and Hard Times (Harper Perennial, 1999). (Each Christmas the Thurber family doled out boxes of candy to all the people Muggs had bitten.)
Read The Dog That Bit People online.
 imgres-43 Farley Mowat’s The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be (Bantam, 1984) is the story of the author’s boyhood on the Canadian prairies in company with his wonderful dog Mutt (purchased as a puppy for four cents). A great read-aloud for all ages.
 imgres-44 From the Editors of The Bark, Dog is My Co-Pilot (Crown, 2004) is a collection of short stories, essays, and reflections on dogs by a wide range of well-known writers, among them Alice Walker, Ann Patchett, and Maxine Kumin. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-45 In John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley (Penguin Books, 1980), Steinbeck, aged 58, sets off in a pick-up truck (Rocinante) on a cross-country trip with his poodle, Charley, in search of America. A great memoir/travel book (with dog) for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-46 John Grogan’s best-seller Marley and Me (William Morrow, 2008) is the story of family life with Marley, a badly behaved but lovable golden Lab. (Grogan calls him “the world’s worst dog.”) For teenagers and adults.
 images-2 J.R. Ackerley’s My Dog Tulip (New York Review of Books Classics, 2010) is the story of a curmudgeonly British writer’s unexpectedly close sixteen-year-long relationship with Tulip, his German shepherd. For teenagers and adults.
The animated film version of My Dog Tulip (2009) is voiced by Christopher Plummer, Lynn Redgrave, and Isabella Rossellini,


 images-3 The Sled Dog Relay That Inspired the Iditarod is the story of the “Great Race of Mercy,” involving 20 drivers and 150 dogs, who collaborated to bring diphtheria antitoxin from Anchorage to the beleaguered town of Nome, 1000 miles away.
From the Iditarod Education Portal, see these lists of non-fiction and fiction books for kids. The website also has a long list of interdisciplinary activities and lesson plans.
 imgres-47 In Robert Blake’s Akiak: A Tale from the Iditarod (Puffin, 2004), Akiak – lead husky on her Iditarod team – injures her paw and has to be left behind. Feisty Akiak, however, sets off to catch up with her owner. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-48 Natalie Standiford’s The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto (Random House, 1989) is the story of Balto, the sled dog who led his team through the Alaskan wilderness to deliver diphtheria antitoxin to sick children in Nome. Based on a true occurrence in 1925. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-49 Debbie Miller’s The Great Serum Race (Walker Children’s Books, 2006) is the story of the 1925 serum run, in which twenty teams of sled dogs – among them Togo and Balto – brought diphtheria antitoxin to the town of Nome, Alaska. It’s this heroic race that is commemorated annually by the Iditarod. For ages 7-12.
 imgres-50 Also see Elizabeth Cody Kimmel’s Balto and the Great Race (Random House, 2009), a more detailed account of the story for ages 8-11.
 imgres-51 In 1985, Libby Riddles became the first woman to win the 1000+-mile Iditarod race. She tells her story in Storm Run (Sasquatch Books, 2002). For ages 6-10.
 imgres-52 Joe Funk’s Mush! The Sled Dogs of the Iditarod (Scholastic, 2013) is a short chapter book covering sled dogs, the Iditarod (sometimes called the “Last Great Race on Earth”), the tools and techniques of dogsled racing, and famous racing dogs. Illustrated with maps and color photographs. For ages 7-11.
 imgres-53 In John Reynolds Gardiner’s Stone Fox (HarperCollins, 2010) Little Willy is determined to win a dog sled race in order to use the prize money to save his grandfather’s farm. The problem is that Willy and his dog Searchlight are up against Stone Fox, a massive and silent native American who has never lost a race. The wonderful ending always makes me cry. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-54 Jack London’s Call of the Wild (Kingfisher Classics, 2002), originally published in 1903, is set during the Klondike Gold Rush. Buck, the main character, is stolen from his home in California and taken to the Yukon, where he must survive as a sled dog. For ages 12 and up.
 imgres-55 In Gary Paulsen’s Newbery Honor book Dogsong (Simon Pulse, 2007), young Russel Susskit takes the village shaman Oogruk’s dog team and heads off on a voyage of self-discovery across the Alaskan wilderness. For ages 12 and up.


 imgres-56 In Glenna Lang’s picture-book Looking Out for Sarah (Charlesbridge, 2003), Perry, a guide dog, helps Sarah, who is blind, as she goes through the day. For ages 4-7.
At How Guide Dogs Work, find out all about guide dogs for the blind, including what they do and how they are trained.
 imgres-57 In Mary Pope Osborne’s 46th Magic Tree House book, Dogs in the Dead of Night (Random House, 2013), Jack and Annie – searching for a rare flower needed to break a magic spell – end up at a monastery in the Swiss Alps, where they meet up with Barry, a St. Bernard dog, trained to save avalanche victims. For ages 6-9.
 imgres-58 In the Magic Tree House Fact Tracker series, see the non-fiction companion book Dog Heroes (Random House, 2011) for lots of information about St. Bernard rescue dogs, war dog heroes, and service dogs. For ages 8-9.
 imgres-59 Dorothy Hinshaw Patent’s The Right Dog for the Job (Walker Children’s Books, 2004) is a photo-essay about Ira, a golden retriever, being trained as a service dog to help the disabled. For ages 7-12.


 imgres-60 Emily Gravett’s delightfully illustrated Dogs (Simon & Schuster, 2010) introduces readers to a wide range of dogs – from Chihuahua to Great Dane – with a clever rhyming text (and a bit of a surprise ending). For ages 2-6.
 imgres-61 Lisa Rosenthal’s A Dog’s Best Friend (Chicago Review Press, 1999) is an activity book for kids and their dogs, filled with basic information, pet care tips, recipes, and games and activities. For ages 6-12.
 imgres-62 Elizabeth Carney’s Cats vs. Dogs (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2011), illustrated with great color photographs and crammed with helpful “Pet Words” and “Weird But True” fact boxes, compares the two. Who has the scariest relatives, for example? For each short section, there’s a declared winner. For ages 6-9.
 imgres-63 Michael Rosen’s My Dog! (Workman Publishing, 2011) – subtitled “A Kids’ Guide to Keeping a Happy & Healthy Pet” – is a cleverly designed manual for young dog owners, with basic information about dogs, dog care and training tips, and a dog identification guide. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-64 What is it really like to be a dog? By cognitive scientist Alexandra Horowitz, Inside of a Dog: What Dogs, See, Smell, and Know (Scribner, 2010) explains the world from the point of view of a dog. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-65 Malcolm Gladwell’s “What the Dog Saw” is an essay in his book of the same name (What the Dog Saw, Little, Brown and Company, 2009) about Cesar Millan, dog psychologist, and his remarkable insights into the behavior of dogs. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-66 By John Homans, What’s a Dog For?: The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man’s Best Friend (Penguin Press, 2012) is a fascinating overview of all things dog. For teenagers and adults.
 images-5 Looking to adopt a dog? Petfinder has a dog adoption checklist, and info on dog breeds, training, care, health, and nutrition.
 images-5 The Humane Society’s Lesson Plans for Teachers are categorized by grade (PreK-2, 3-6, and 7 and up). Topics include responsible pet ownership, pet care, pet care professions, and animal abuse. Included are suggestions for raising money to support your local animal shelter and a five-part unit on dogfighting for grades 6-12.
 imgres-67 From the American Kennel Club, Elementary School Lesson Plans covers “Dogs in the Community,” “Basic Care for Canines,” “Safety Around Dogs,” “Dog Shows,” and more.


 imgres-68 Mark Derr’s How the Dog Became the Dog (Overlook, 2013) discusses the various theories about the evolution of the domesticated dog from the wolf. Derr’s best guess: people and wolves co-evolved, teaming up in a relationship that was mutually beneficial. For teenagers and adults.
From The Scientist, Origin of Domestic Dogs presents evidence that suggests that dogs evolved from European wolves that hung out with human hunter-gatherers.
 imgres-75 From PBS, Evolution of the Dog has a short hyperlinked explanation.
 imgres-76 By Emma Townshend, Darwin’s Dogs (Frances Lincoln Books, 2009) is the story of how Darwin’s pet dogs – and dogs in general – helped him develop his famous theory of evolution. For teenagers and adults.
National Geographic’s How to Build a Dog is a short explanation of the science behind why dogs come in such a remarkable variety of shapes and sizes.
 imgres-70 At the website for the NOVA program Dogs and More Dogs, find background information on the history and science of dogs, a slide show on working dogs, a matching quiz on dogs around the world, a program transcript, and teacher’s guide.
From Scitable, find out about the Genetics of Dog Breeding.
 images-6 A Recipe for Traits is a genetics lesson in which kids create a “DNA recipe” for a dog and then decode the recipe to discover what their dog looks like. Downloadable instructions.
 imgres-71 From Wolf to Dog is a lesson plan with activities and video clips based on the Nature series Dogs That Changed the World.
 imgres-72 Pavlov’s Dog is a game based on the work of Nobel laureate Ivan Pavlov on conditioned resources. Train your dog to drool on demand.
 imgres-73 Pavlov’s Dogs is an explanation of the work of Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov. Readers learn the about classical conditioning. Included is original film footage of Pavlov’s experiments.
 imgres-74 By Rom Harré, Pavlov’s Dogs and Schroedinger’s Cat (Oxford University Press, 2009) is an exploration of the use of animals (including people) in scientific research – among them Darwin’s finches, Dolly the famous cloned sheep, and, of course, Pavlov’s dogs. For teenagers and adults.


 imgres-77 For dog-loving astronomers, Sirius – our sky’s brightest star (after the Sun) – is also known as the Dog Star. See Sirius for history, mythology, science, and viewing how-tos.
 imgres-79 Check out Orion the Hunter and Sirius the Dog Star.
 imgres-78 Sun dogs – also called parahelia or mock suns – are caused by the refraction of light from ice crystals in the upper atmosphere.
 images-8 At Canine Constellations, learn all about Canis Major, Canis Minor, and the Hunting Dogs.


 imgres-80 The Index of Famous Dogs is a long list of dogs throughout history, both real and fictional. A section on “Famous People’s Dogs” includes Jules Verne’s Satellite, FDR’s Fala, and Calvin Coolidge’s Calamity Jane.
 images-9 Also check out 30 of the Greatest Movie Dogs, an illustrated list that includes Beethoven, Benji, and Lady and the Tramp, and Dog Stories From History.
 imgres-81 Frank Murphy’s George Washington and the General’s Dog (Random House, 2002) is the story of a little-known incident from the Revolutionary War in which Washington finds and returns British General Howe’s lost dog. (Included is the actual letter Washington wrote to Howe.) For ages 5-8.
 imgres-82 Roland Smith’s The Captain’s Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008) is the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition as told by Seaman, Lewis’s Newfoundland dog. For ages 10 and up.
 imgres-83 Ann Bausum’s Stubby the War Dog (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2014) is the story of a little stump-tailed terrier, smuggled by his owner to the Western Front during WWI, who became a war hero. (Today, Stubby, now stuffed, is in the Smithsonian.) For ages 10 and up.
 imgres-84 Susan Orlean’s Rin Tin Tin (Simon & Schuster, 2012) is the story of the German shepherd puppy who was rescued from a World War I battlefield and went on to become a Hollywood star. A fascinating read for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-85 Virginia Woolf’s Flush (Mariner Books, 1976), originally published in 1933, is the biography of poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel, Flush. It’s based both on poems Elizabeth wrote about her dog and correspondence between her and her husband, poet Robert Browning. For teenagers and adults.


 imgres-86 Give a Dog a Bone is an interactive online game in which players try to find bones hidden on a 100-square.  (Find the bone and there’s a lot of excited barking.)
The Dog Years Calculator answers the question “If your dog was a person, how old would he be?”
 imgres-87 At the Math Forum, tackle the maddening logic problem of Wilbert the Wonder Dog.
From MakingLearningFun, Math Ideas for a Pet Theme has many activities involving dogs for preschoolers and early-elementary-level kids, variously involving counting, money, and graphing.


 imgres-88 Amy Schmidt’s Loose Leashes (Random House, 2009) pairs 16 short poems with great (and funny) color photos of cheerful dogs (by Ron Schmidt) – wearing glasses, perched in toy cars, rowing boats, and more. Also, in the same vein, see Amy and Ron’s Dog-Gone School (Random House, 2013). For ages 5-8.
 imgres-89 Dave Crawley’s Dog Poems (Wordsong, 2007) is a catchy cartoon-illustrated collection including such verses as “Oodles of Poodles,” “Wolf Dog,” and “Almost Human.” For ages 6-12.
 imgres-90 In Sharon Creech’s Love That Dog  (Perfection Learning, 2003), Jack – a student of the incomparable Ms. Stretchberry in Room 105 – is, in spite of himself, learning to love poetry.  The book – entirely written in free verse – begins with Jack’s objections to all things poetic (“I don’t want to/because boys/don’t write poetry./Girls do.”), continues through his strictures on famous poets (“I think Mr. Robert Frost/has a little/too/much/time/on his/hands”), to his discovery of a poem by Walter Dean Myers (“Love That Boy”) that strikes a chord – and helps him deal with the heartbreaking loss of his yellow dog, Sky. For ages 8 and up.
See all the Poems From Love That Dog.
 imgres-91 Mary Oliver’s pen-and-ink-illustrated Dog Songs (Penguin Press, 2013) is a lovely collection of 35 dog-themed poems (and one essay).  For all ages.
 imgres-92 By Francesco Marciuliano, I Could Chew On This: And Other Poems by Dogs (Chronicle Books, 2013) is a wonderful collection divided into four parts (Inside, Outside, By Your Side, and Heavy Thinking). “Inside” is introduced with the “Dog Dictum:” “We were wolves once/Wild and wary/Then we noticed you have sofas.” Delightful for a range of ages.
From the Poetry Foundation, Dog Poems is a long list, including selections by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Pablo Neruda, Delmore Schwartz, and many more. Check out Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Dog.
I love Judith Viorst’s Mother Doesn’t Want a Dog. (“Mother doesn’t want a dog/She’s making a mistake/Because, more than a dog, I think/She will not want this snake.”)


 imgres-93 Dog Crafts from Enchanted learning has instructions for making a dog greeting card, bookmark, mask, puppet, and more.
 draft_lens19190928module169399565photo_ef721021b925e523d7225 From Squidoo, Dog Craft Ideas include dog ornaments, a dog gift box, dog puppets, a sock dog, a tin can dog robot, a great dog scarf, and more.
 NEWPooches From Deep Space Sparkle, Royal Pooches in an art lesson in which kids draw three types of dogs, paint them, and then add spectacular crowns and jewelry.
 imgres-94 What Color Is Your Dog? is an art project based on artist George Rodrigue’s famous blue dog. See the website for a great video on Rodrigue and his work.
 aa02 Colorful Dogs is an art lesson for preschoolers and early-elementary-level kids in which kids make dog collages using colorful shapes.
 imgres-95 By Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne, Knit Your Own Dog (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2011) has patterns for knitting 25 different woolly canines. For both new and advanced knitters.


 imgres-96 Make your own dog biscuits! (And lots more.) Lisa Fortunato’s The Everything Cooking for Dogs Book (Adams Media, 2007) has 150 recipes of yummy foods for dogs. There’s even a dog version of Green Eggs and Ham.
 images-10 Helpful accessories: Dog Bone Cookie Cutters.
 imgres-97 5 Dog Treat Recipes That Kids Can Make include banana bites, buckwheat bone biscuits, and a beefy birthday cake.
Also see Cookies for Canines (9 recipes) and King Arthur Flour’s Best of Breed Dog Biscuits, which recipe, they say, has been “vetted by a vet.”


 imgres-98 Hans Wilhelm’s I’ll Always Love You (Dragonfly Books, 1988) is the story of Elfie, “the best dog in the whole world,” narrated by her young owner. The two grow up together – but then, one day, Elfie doesn’t wake up. It’s hard to lose a beloved pet, but this gentle book does help. For ages 3-7.
 imgres-99 By Jon Katz – author of many books about dogs – Going Home (Random House, 2012) is a comforting book on coping with the death of a dog. For teenagers and adults.




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Henry David Thoreau



 imgres In D.B. Johnson’s Henry Hikes to Fitchburg (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006), inspired by Walden, Henry and a friend – both bears – prepare to go to Fitchburg, 30 miles away. The friend decides to work and save enough money to take the train; Henry, however, decides to walk, enjoying nature along the way. Sequels include Henry Builds a Cabin, Henry Climbs a Mountain, Henry Works, and Henry’s Night. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-1 Thomas Locker’s Walking with Henry (Fulcrum Publishing, 2011), illustrated with Locker’s beautiful paintings, follows Thoreau as he hikes through the wilderness.  (“When he awoke, the grass was covered/with morning dew. It looked like a mirror/broken into a thousand fragments/wildly reflecting the full blaze of the rising sun.”) Included is a timeline of Thoreau’s life. For ages 4-9.
 imgres-2 In Robert Burleigh’s If You Spent a Day with Thoreau at Walden Pond (Henry Holt and Company, 2012) – illustrated with gorgeous paintings by Wendell Minor – a small boy in blue jeans knocks on the door of a little house in the woods and then proceeds to spend a gentle, magical day with the owner: Henry David Thoreau. (“If you spent a day with Henry David Thoreau, you would need to get there early because Henry wakes with the sun.”) Appendices include background information on Thoreau and a list of Thoreau quotes. A lovely read for ages 5-10.
 imgres-3 In Julie Dunlap and Marybeth Lorbiecki’s Louisa May and Mr. Thoreau’s Flute (Dial, 2002), seven-year-old Louisa May Alcott is fascinated by independent-minded Henry David Thoreau, who carries a flute in his pocket, tucks a pencil behind his ear for jotting down notes in his journal, and takes the children on nature walks. Louisa – nicknamed Louy – has some independent thoughts of her own, and Mr. Thoreau’s example eventually helps her find her own way to writing. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-4 Stephen Schnur’s Henry David’s House (Charlesbridge, 2007) is a picture-book adaptation of Walden with quotations from the original for ages 5-9.
 images Robert Burleigh’s A Man Named Thoreau (Atheneum, 1985) is out of print, but well worth tracking down – a simple story of how, though his life may have looked odd and pointless to some, Thoreau was thinking, observing, and having ideas that have become important to us all. Illustrated with lovely charcoal drawings. For ages 6-10.
 imgres-5 Michael McCurdy’s Walden Then and Now: An Alphabetical Tour of Henry Thoreau’s Pond (Charlesbridge, 2010) is an overview of Walden, past and present, illustrated with great woodblock prints. It’s designed like a child’s alphabet book: a short alphabetical phrase describes something Thoreau himself experienced or saw – A is for the angry ants whose battles Henry described in Walden; B for the bean field he planted – while a following paragraph provides information about the changes that have taken place in modern times. “J is for the joy he felt at being alone,” for example, is paired with a text explaining that Walden Pond now is visited by 600,000 people a year. For ages 8 and up.
 imgres-6 By Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, the play The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail (Hill and Wang, 2001) is a brilliant account of Thoreau’s life and philosophy, centered around the night he spent in jail for refusing to pay taxes to support the Mexican-American War – a war fought without Congressional approval and a blatant example of imperialism. A wonderful, witty, and discussion-provoking read for teenagers and adults.
The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail is a teacher’s guide to accompany the play with background information and discussion questions.
 imgres-8 Michael Sims’s The Adventures of Henry Thoreau (Bloomsbury USA, 2014) traces Thoreau’s life from his boyhood (he liked to ice skate, sing, and walk in the woods) through his education at Harvard, his friendship with Ralph Waldo Emerson, his famous cabin at Walden Pond, and his transformation into world-famous author and environmentalist. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-9 Robert Sullivan’s biography The Thoreau You Don’t Know (Harper Perennial, 2011) points out that Thoreau – rather than just an oddball loner who disliked new suits of clothes – was friendly, chatty, and lived most of his life in town. An interesting and informative read for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-13 Ecologist David R. Foster’s Thoreau’s Country (Harvard University Press, 2002) describes how – equipped with Thoreau’s journals – the author built his own cabin in the woods, and then set out to explore how the New England landscape has changed since Thoreau took to the woods in the 19th century. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-11 The Thoreau Society provides education about Thoreau’s life, works, philosophy, and place in the world, and hosts many events for all ages. The website has a Thoreau biography and family tree, maps of Thoreau’s travels, synopses of Thoreau’s works, and more.
 imgres-12 From PBS’s “I Hear America Singing,” Henry David Thoreau is a short illustrated biography.
 imgres-7 The Transcendentalists website has background material on the philosophical movement called Transcendentalism, subscribed to by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, along with background information on prominent Transcendentalists.
 imgres-7 Henry David Thoreau is a collection of interesting and varied articles on Thoreau from the New York Times. For example, in A Man For All Seasons, find out how Thoreau’s writings are helping modern scientists analyze climate change.
 imgres-14 From Philosophy Slam, Henry David Thoreau has an overview of Thoreau’s philosophy with a list of discussion questions and associated links.
 imgres-7 Teaching Thoreau has lists of resources for educators categorized by grade (elementary grades, middle school, high school). Included are book suggestions, activities, projects, links, and more.
 imgres-7 Teaching Thoreau has resources for teachers on Thoreau and his works. Check out “Life With Principle,” a DVD on Thoreau from the Thoreau Society. Also see Thoreau’s works with hypertext annotations that explain Thoreau’s many (and sometimes obscure) references.
 imgres-15 Thoreau wasn’t an only child. In fact, he was one of four. Read about Helen Thoreau: Henry’s Big Sister.


 imgres-16 Jim Murphy’s Into the Deep Forest with Henry Thoreau (Clarion Books, 1995), peppered with excerpts from Thoreau’s own journals, traces Thoreau’s trips through Maine, on foot and by canoe. For ages 7-11.
 images-1 Michael Johnathon’s play Walden: The Ballad of Thoreau is a four-character play featuring a conversation between Thoreau and Emerson as Thoreau prepares to leave his cabin on Walden Pond. Download the script and accompanying lesson plans at the website above.
 imgres-17 Michael Johnathon’s Walden: The Ballad of Thoreau is a collection of 11 acoustic songs based on Thoreau’s stay at Walden Pond. Included are extensive educational notes. Song titles include “In the Woods,” “The Cabin,” and “Simple Life.”
 imgres-18 Back to Thoreau! Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods (Algonquin Books, 2008) discusses the demise of unstructured outdoor play – that is, going outside and running around in the woods – and points out how our alienation from nature (he calls it “nature-deficit disorder”) is damaging.
 images-2 The Walden Woods Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the land, literature, and legacy of Henry David Thoreau. The website has information on the Walden Woods ecosystem, activity and curriculum guides, background information on Thoreau’s life and work, and photo galleries.
 imgres-19 Build a Card Model of Henry’s Cabin is a downloadable color printout for assembling a Walden Pond house of your own.
 imgres-7 In May 1862, shortly after his death, the Atlantic magazine published Thoreau’s famous essay, Walking. Pair it with a hike.


 imgres-19 Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, first published in 1854, is a reflection on the simple life, a celebration of self-reliance and introspection, and an account of a year spent in a hand-built cabin on the shores of Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Now available in many editions, it’s an American classic.
Walden: An Annotated Edition has the full text of the book online along with comments, reviews, photographs, maps, and selected quotations.
 imgres-20 “If the law is of such nature that it requires you to be an agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law.” In his essay Civil Disobedience, originally published in 1849, Thoreau argues that the individual conscience should not be overruled by government. His beliefs have since influenced such prominent public figures as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Everyone should read it.
The annotated Civil Disobedience online has the complete text in both English and Spanish along with comments and reviews.
 imgres-7 The Writings of Henry David Thoreau has information on Thoreau’s books, journals, and correspondence, samples of Thoreau’s (terrible) handwriting, online journal transcripts, and more.


imgres-24 In Rebecca Rupp’s Octavia Boone’s Big Questions About Life, the Universe, and Everything (Candlewick, 2010), Octavia is struggling to come to terms with belief after her mother leaves the family to join the fundamentalist Redeemers. With the help of her best friend Andrew (whose big questions are about everything from time travel to alien jellyfish), Octavia finally comes to terms with her relationships, concluding – with Henry David Thoreau – that “The universe is bigger than our views of it.” For ages 10-14.
 imgres-21 In Robin Vaupel’s My Contract with Henry (Holiday House, 2003), four eighth-grade English students, as part of a class project, build a cabin in the local woods and set out to emulate Henry David Thoreau. In the process, they learn a lot about themselves and their values, and eventually galvanize the community into action when the woods is sold to developers. For ages 11-14.
 imgres-22 In Cal Armistead’s Being Henry David (Albert Whitman & Company, 2013), a  teenaged boy wakes up in Penn Station with no memory, ten dollars, and a copy of Thoreau’s Walden. He names himself Henry David and heads for Concord, Massachusetts, hoping to discover his past at Walden Pond – though it’s clear that something in his past is frightening. For ages 13 and up.
 imgres-23 Henry David Thoreau: detective? In B.B. Oak’s Thoreau at Devil’s Perch (Kensington, 2013), Thoreau – in company with Dr. Adam Walker and Walker’s feisty and intelligent cousin, Julia Bell – investigates the murder of a young black man whose body has been found at the foot of a cliff called Devil’s Perch. The first of a series. For teenagers and adults.






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Color in wonderful stuff! See below for dozens of books, color science and math, color poetry, color projects, and more. Take the Stroop Test, learn about a lot of cross crayons, and find out why pink wasn’t always for girls.

Color for Beginners

ROY G BIV is the kicky little mnemonic that helps us remember, in order, the colors of the visible spectrum: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. According to most public-school curricula, kids should be able to name and identify the colors by the time they get out of kindergarten (both primary and secondary colors, plus brown, black, white, and gray) and there are hundreds – literally, hundreds – of books do help them do so.

 imgres By Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver, Babylit’s Alice in Wonderland (Gibbs Smith, 2014) is a “colors primer” with a Wonderland theme, featuring a white rabbit, a blue caterpillar, a yellow teapot, and a lot of red hearts. For ages 1-4.
 imgres-1 Lois Ehlert’s visually appealing Color Farm (HarperCollins, 1990) and Color Zoo (HarperCollins, 1989) pack a triple whammy, combining animals, colors, and geometric shapes. Kids discover lions, tigers, monkeys, pigs, cows, and chickens, variously pieced together from blue circles, orange squares, red triangles, and the like. For ages 2-6.
 imgres-2 Bill Martin’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (Henry Holt, 1992) – a wonderful rhyming classic – is a picture-book tour of brilliantly colored paper-collage animals, including, along with the title’s brown bear, a blue horse, green frog, purple cat, and bright-yellow duck. For ages 2-6.
 imgres-3 Tana Hoban, known for her award-winning wordless picture books illustrated with full-page photographs, has published several with color themes, among them Of Colors and Things (Greenwillow, 1996), Is It Red? Is It Yellow? Is It Blue?: An Adventure in Color (William Morrow, 1987), and Colors Everywhere (Greenwillow, 1995). This last – a collection of glowing scenes of striped umbrellas, flower gardens, autumn leaves, and birds – includes bar graphs on each page showing the proportions of the different colors present in the photographs. For ages 2-6.
 imgres-4 Bruce McMillan’s Growing Colors (Mulberry Books, 1994) is set in the garden, where readers find colors in luscious photographs of green peas, yellow corn, purple beans, and red raspberries. For ages 2-6.
For many more resources on this topic, see GARDENING.
 imgres-5 In Patricia Hubbard’s My Crayons Talk (Henry Holt, 1999), a little girl discovers colors through a very vocal box of talking crayons (Brown shouts “Play! Mudpie day!”). For ages 3-7.
 imgres-6 Anita Lobel’s One Lighthouse, One Moon (Greenwillow, 2002) is an enchanting multifaceted introduction to colors, numbers (1-10), the days of the week, the seasons, and the months of the year. Colors are paired with the days of the week, as a little girl dons different-colored footgear for each day’s activity: green gardening clogs, red cowboy boots, yellow beach sandals, pink ballet slippers. For ages 4-7.
 imgres-7 In Peter Reynolds’s Sky Color (Candlewick, 2013), art-loving Marisol is thrilled to be making a mural for the library – but there’s no blue paint. How to make a sky with no blue paint? Then she realizes that there’s far more to the sky than blue: there are all the colors of sunrises, sunsets, and swirling stars. For ages 4-8.
 image In Drew Daywalt’s hilarious The Day the Crayons Quit (Philomel Books, 2013), when Duncan opens his box of crayons he finds nothing but disgruntled letters. Beige feels underappreciated (everybody likes Brown better); Black is sick of being used for nothing but outlining; Blue is exhausted from constantly coloring huge expanses of sky and sea. Orange and Yellow are fighting over the color of the sun; and Peach, whose wrapper has been torn off, is naked and in hiding. Duncan comes up with an artistic solution that makes everybody happy. For ages 4-8.
 image-1 The Day the Crayons Quit is a color-illustrated Reading Is Fundamental guide for parents and educators with extension suggestions, multidisciplinary activities, a vocabulary list, and technology links.
 imgres-8 From Perfectly Preschool, Colors has a long list of color-based activities and book suggestions for young kids. For example, try making coffee-filter butterflies, shaving-cream colors, and paper rainbows.

More About Color

 imgres-9 Joann Eckstut’s The Secret Language of Color (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2013) is a lushly illustrated history and science of color. Readers learn – among much else – why grass is green and flamingos are pink, where yellow journalism comes from, and why doctors wear green scrubs. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-10 Victoria Finlay’s Color: A Natural History of the Palette (Random House, 2007) is a fascinating exploration of pigments worldwide, filled with intriguing info. Learn all about logwood, saffron, indigo, and lapis lazuli. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-11 Alexander Theroux’s The Primary Colors and The Secondary Colors (Henry Holt, 1996) are two essay collections, both fascinating compilations of everything (everything!) having to do with red, blue, yellow, orange, purple, or green. For teenagers and adults.
 imgres-12 From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, see Color for philosophers. Color is a lot more complicated than you might think.
 imgres-13 Color Matters is a website devoted to all aspects of color, including color symbolism, color psychology, color vision, and the science of color, plus lists of color resources. For younger visitors, there’s a kids’ page and fun color facts.
 imgres-14 From the Tech Museum, Make a Splash with Color covers a wide range of color topics, including color science, color vision, hue, brightness, and saturation, and more.
 imgres-15 Color Theory for Art and Design covers Color as Symbol, Color as Light, Color as Emotion, and Color Terms, and ends up with a Color Quiz.

 Color and History

 imgres-16 Think you know the stories behind the most iconic colors around the world? Tackle the Colors of History Quiz. Five categories: Landmarks, Geography, Science, Pop Culture, and Sports.
 imgres-17 Pigments Through the Ages has illustrated histories of purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, white, brown, and black. Under Red, for example, readers learn that in China, the Phoenix was called the Vermilion Bird, that Neolithic hunters buried their dead with red ochre, and that the red rose is dedicated to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.
 imgres-18 From Pantone, check out this 50 Years of Color History infographic (and see a list of award-winning Colors of the Year). (2013: Emerald.)
 imgres-19 A Graphic History of the Color Pink claims that no other color in modern history has had such an impact on masculinity, femininity, and politics.
 imgres-19 Pink is for girls? Really? Read all about it at When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink? from Smithsonian magazine.
 images-4 From Filmaker IQ, see The History and Science of Color Film from Isaac Newton to the Coen Brothers. Lots of illustrations and video clips.

 Color Mixing to Color Theory

 imgres-21 In Alan Baker’s White Rabbit’s Color Book (Kingfisher, 1999), White Rabbit plunges into pots of primary-colored paint. Readers learn about colors, color-mixing, shapes, letters, and numbers. For ages 2-5.
 images-1 Color mixing – in a messy but artistic sense – is the theme of Ellen Stoll Walsh’s Mouse Paint (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1995), in which a trio of plump white mice come upon three jars of paint (red, blue, and yellow) and discover – with a lot of splashing about – how to combine them to make green, orange, and purple. For ages 3-6.
 imgres-23 Ann Jonas’s Color Dance (Mulberry Books, 1999) explains color-mixing through dance, as three children in leotards twirl and whirl with billowing red, blue, and yellow scarves. For ages 3-7.
 images While the best introduction to color-mixing is almost certainly to plop down some protective newspaper and a few pots of paint and let the kids experiment (“Look, Mom! I made brown!”), there are many resources available for expanding upon this activity.
 littlegreen2 The KinderArt website has a large selection of great art lesson plans for kids in preschool through grade 12, many with color themes. For example, see “Blotter Bugs” (a color-mixing activity) and “Neutral Colors” (learn all about black, brown, gray, and white).
 imgres-24 Color Changing Milk is a simple (and fun) experiment in which kids explore color-mixing with food coloring, milk, and soap.
 imgres-25 From the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Learn About Color online by mixing red, yellow, and blue to change the color of William, the museum’s famous little hippopotamus.
green From the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, learn all about and experiment with Color Mixing.
 imgres-26 For older kids and teens, the online art school WetCanvas offers (free) detailed lessons on a wide range of art topics and techniques. Included is a 16-lesson series on Color Theory and Mixing. (To start, you’ll need paper and a box of colored pencils.) Sample lesson titles include “A Wheel of Color,” “The History of Color,” and “Color Perspective.”
 imgres-27 Learn color theory with The Interactive Color Wheel.
 imgres-28 Learn all about the history of The Wonderful Color Wheel with terrific period illustrations.

Color and Art

 41JD1KJ2XWL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ The Art of Colors: For Children and Adults (Margaret Steele; Fotofolio, 1999) combines color and art history: kids are introduced to color through twelve different modern art works – for example, purple in an Andy Warhol silkscreen, black in a Louise Nevelson sculpture, red in an oil by Mark Rothko. The book also has a multicultural flair: names of the colors are given in English, Spanish, French, German, and Japanese. For ages 4 and up.
 imgres-29 Philip Ball’s Bright Earth (University of Chicago Press, 2003) is a detailed history and science of colors in painting. For older teenagers and adults.
 2012-10-11 01.24.01 This Primary Colors Lesson Plan for preschoolers and early-elementary kids is a colorful art project based on the work of artist Piet Mondrian.
 color-scramble From Dick Blick, Color Scramble is a project in which kids made geometric color pictures based on the work of Frank Stella, using colored masking tape.
 P.-Signac,-Woman-with-an-Um Color Vision & Art covers how color is used by artists, with detailed background information and many illustrations and examples of artworks.

Seeing in Color

 images-2 From Neuroscience for Kids, Color Vision has background information, illustrations, resources, and experiment suggestions for a range of ages.
 images-3 From Webvision, Color Vision is a detailed scientific explanation of how color vision works. Pair this one with high-school biology class.
 imgres-20 The Joy of Visual Perception is an online book on the eye, with many sections related to color and color vision. For example, check out the pages on Newton’s prism, color mixing, color blindness, and rainbows.
 imgres-30 From How Stuff Works, How Vision Works includes illustrated information on color vision and color blindness.
 imgres-32 Color Match is an online version of the Stroop Test, in which players match color meanings with differently colored words. A simple but surprising test on how the brain processes color. Try it!
Read more about the Stroop Test here and try an interactive online experiment.
 imgres-30 Do you think you might be colorblind? Take the Ishihara Color Vision test online.

Color and Feelings

 imgres-33 Dr. Seuss’s My Many Colored Days (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1998) is a rhyming association of colors with feelings: on a yellow day, the narrator is “a busy, buzzy bee,” on a green day, a “cool and quiet fish,” on a black day, a howling wolf. For ages 3-7.
From the Book Nook, My Many Colored Days has discussion questions and activities to accompany the book. For example, kids make color spinners and color puppets, go on a color hunt, and make color-dyed hardboiled eggs with emotional facial expressions.
 images-5 Arnold Lobel’s The Great Blueness and Other Predicaments (HarperCollins, 1994) is a wonderful picture book on the emotional impact of color, as a wizard, inventing colors, turns a little town blue (which makes everybody sad), yellow (which gives everyone headaches), and red (which makes everyone angry), until finally coming up with the best solution: to use all the colors at once. It’s out of print, but worth tracking down. Check your library. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-34 Leo Lionni’s A Color of His Own (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2006) is a story about learning to know and value oneself, told from the point of view of a chubby little chameleon who doesn’t want to change color. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-35 Also by Lionni, Little Blue and Little Yellow (HarperCollins, 1995) is a story about friendship (the colors ultimately blend to form a beautiful green). For ages 4-8.
 imgres-36 In Drew Daywait’s The Day the Crayons Quit (Philomel, 2013), the colors have had it: Red is sick of coloring Santa Clauses and Valentine hearts; Blue is tired of oceans; White is just plain depressed, not being used for anything; and Yellow and Orange both claim to be the rightful color of the sun. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-27 From The Great Courses, How Colors Affect You: What Science Reveals is a six-lecture course on the meaning and psychology of color by Professor William Lidwell of the University of Houston. Officially the course costs about $100 (downloadable or on DVD), but watch the website – periodic sales offer the courses at a fraction of the listed costs.

Color and Poetry

 There are many entrancing color poems – everything from Walter de la Mare’s magical Silver to Gelett Burgess’s foolish The Purple Cow. Check out some of these:

 imgres-37 Mary O’Neill’s Hailstones and Halibut Bones (Doubleday, 1990) is a great resource for potential color-poets: a wonderful illustrated collection of poems about every color of the rainbow (and then some). (“The purple feeling/Is rather put-out./The purple look is a/Definite pout./But the purple sound/Is the loveliest thing./It’s a violet opening/In the spring.”) For ages 4-8.
 imgres-38 Joyce Sidman’s Red Sings From Treetops (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009) is an enchantingly illustrated collection of color poems throughout the seasons. (“Yellow slips goldfinches/their spring jackets.”) For ages 4-8.
For many more resources on the seasons, see WHAT HAPPENS WHEN: STUDYING THE SEASONS.
 imgres-39 Malathi Michelle Iyengar’s Tan to Tamarind: Poems About the Color Brown (Children’s Book Press, 2009) is a collection of fifteen poems about the many shades of brown, from tan and beige to honey, cinnamon, and topaz. Illustrations show kids in a wide variety of skin colors. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-40 Sheila Hamanaka’s All the Colors of the Earth (Mulberry Books, 1999) is a celebration of all the different colors of children everywhere: the brown of “roaring bears,” the “tinkling pinks of tiny seashells,” “amber and ivory and ginger.” For ages 4-8.
 imgres-41 Jane Yolen’s Color Me a Rhyme (Wordsong, 2003) is a photo-illustrated collection of nature poems for kids. Each page includes a long list of synonyms for the featured color, printed in color, and a color quotation. For ages 8-12.
 images-6 Christina Rosetti’s poem Color begins “What is pink? A rose is pink/By a fountain’s brink” – and ends “What is orange? Why, an orange/Just an orange!”
 imgres-42 Marge Piercy’s Color Passing Through Us is a wonderful collection of color images: “Purple as tulips in May,” “Yellow as a goat’s wise and wicked eyes,” “Green as mint jelly.”
 imgres-43 Color from Emily Dickinson: Nature rarer uses yellow.
 imgres-44 What color are vowels? See Vowels by French poet Arthur Rimbaud.
 color poems Susan Gaylord’s Color Poems has suggestions for making color poetry books using torn tissue paper or collage materials.
For many more poetry resources for all ages, see POETRY I and POETRY II.

Color and Science

 images-8 Nature’s Paintbrush by Susan Stockdale (Simon & Schuster, 1999) is an appealing picture-book explanation of color and pattern in nature. Kids discover the reasons for the tiger’s orange and black stripes, the toucan’s gaudy beak, and poison-dart frog’s brilliant spots.  For ages 3-8.
 imgres-49 Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty’s The Color of Nature (Chronicle Books, 1996) expands upon this theme for older readers: the book is a 150-page assemblage of fascinating information about color, illustrated with photographs. Readers learn why flamingos are pink, why grass is green, why wildflowers are brightly colored, and how to tell the age of a desert from the color of its sand. For ages 10 and up.
 imgres-47 From National Geographic, Life in Color is a series of photo galleries devoted to color in nature. Wonderful pictures, categorized by featured color.
 imgres-48 Gary Gibson’s Light and Color (Copper Beech Books, 1995) includes an assortment of color-related hands-on projects and experiments – among them mixing colors and splitting white light into the colors of the spectrum. For ages 7 and up.
 imgres-27 The San Francisco Exploratorium’s Colorfest has background information on the science of color, along with many colorful videos, demonstrations, projects, and interactive activities.
 images-7 Learn about Color and Dye Chemistry while making a tie-dyed T-shirt. (You’ll need to buy materials and T-shirt.)
See this Jacquard Tie Dye Kit, which has enough materials for making up to fifteen tie-dyed shirts. (About $20 from Amazon.)
 dye_225.jpg__225x1000_q85 In Color Burst, kids use paper chromatography to separate dyes into their individual components. (Find out what’s in green.)
 images-4 From Vimeo, The History and Science of Color Temperature is a series of short videos (plus a quiz). Learn about color and temperature using examples of everything from Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” to the Coen Brothers’ “Fargo.”
 images-9 From Science Buddies, kids using the Rainbow Fire kit can explore flame photometry and learn how astronomers, using color, determine the atomic composition of distant stars. This is incredibly cool, but involves chemicals and matches and requires adult supervision.
 imgres-50 From Annenberg Learner, The Science of Light has background information, simulations, and activities about “Light in Color” and “The Laws of Light.” For example, kids explore colored shadows and stellar spectra, and find out how illustrations are often made from colored dots.
 imgres-51 From the Sciences Education Foundation, Chromatics: The Science of Color is a downloadable 100+-page unit covering such topics as “Surfing the Electromagnetic Spectrum,” “Fireworks and Flame Photometry,” “Why Plants are Green,” and “Chemiluminescence.”
See many more great chemistry resources at CHEMISTRY.


 imgres-52 Ul de Rico’s gorgeously illustrated The Rainbow Goblins (Thames & Hudson, 1978) is the wonderful tale of seven goblins (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet) who spend their time lassoing rainbows and eating all the colors. There’s a happy ending for the rainbow, but the story explains why now the rainbow never touches the earth. For ages 5 and up.
 imgres-53 E.C. Krupp’s The Rainbow and You (HarperCollins, 2000) – narrated by Roy G. Biv himself, wearing spiffy rainbow-striped socks – explains the science, history, and lore of the rainbow, plus shows kids how to make a rainbow of their own with the garden hose. For ages 6-12.
 images-10 From NASA, What Causes a Rainbow? is an illustrated explanation targeted at kids.
 images-10 From PBS, The Science of Rainbows is a friendly account on YouTube.
 images-10 Learn about How Rainbows Work from How Stuff Works, and view a rainbow image gallery.
 images-10 Science of Rainbows for Kids covers the colors of the rainbow, why rainbows are arc-shaped, primary and secondary rainbows, and more, with photos and animations.
 imgres-54 Make Your Own Rainbow with a glass of water. (And a sunny day.)
 imgres-55 How to Make a Rainbow in a Glass is a gorgeous experiment in which kids learn about density. Also see Steve Spangler’s impressive Seven Layer Density Column.

Color Math

 imgres-3 Tana Hoban’s Colors Everywhere (Greenwillow, 1995) – a collection of glowing color photos of everything from striped umbrellas to gaudy birds – includes bar graphs on each page showing the proportions of the different colors present. For ages 2-6.
 imgres-56 Barbara Barbieri McGrath’s Teddy Bear Counting (Charlesbridge, 2010) and Teddy Bear Patterns (Charlesbridge, 2013) both use brightly colored teddy bears to teach colors, counting, shapes, sequencing, skip counting, and more. For ages 3-7.
 images-11 Pair these with hands-on counting bears. A collection of 50 in five different colors costs about $8 from Amazon.
 imgres-57 In The Crayon Counting Book by Pam Munoz Ryan and Jerry Pallotta (Charlesbridge, 1996), kids not only learn to count to 24 by 2’s, but discover a whole new world of bizarre colors, among them iguana, purple hairstreak, and emerald boa. (Go on. Invent color names of your own.) For ages 3-8.
 imgres-58 Color-minded mathematicians might enjoy investigating the famous “Four-Color Map Problem,” a mathematical mind-boggler that states that four colors – just four – are enough to color any map such that no two regions with a common border will be colored with the same color. (Don’t believe it? Get a ready-to-be-colored outline map and try it.)
Kids can explore the map problem at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s This is Mega-Mathematics! Click on The Most Colorful Math of All for an illustrated explanation of the four-color theorem, plus related activities and projects.
 new_york From Mappa Mundi, The Four-Color Map Problem is a short illustrated history.
 images-12 From Coolmath, see this list of online Shape and Color Games.
 imgres-59 Hexadecimal numbers are used on web pages to set colors. Experiment with Hexadecimal Colors (there are 16 million of them) here.




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See below for all things egg, including surprising eggs, scientific eggs, magical eggs, alien eggs, and jeweled eggs. Try the incredible egg drop experiment, make egg geodes, and find out the real answer to the troubling question of which came first: the chicken or the egg?



 imgres-9 Laura Vaccarro Seeger’s First the Egg (Roaring Brook Press, 2007), a Caldecott Honor Book, is a cleverly designed explanation of what comes first: First the egg, then the chicken; First the tadpole, then the frog; First the caterpillar, then the butterfly; First the paint, then the picture…and all ties up neatly at the end. For ages 2-5.
 imgres-1 Tillie, of Terry Golson’s Tillie Lays an Egg (Scholastic, 2009) lives with six other hens in the henhouse in the backyard of Little Pond Farm. The other hens cooperatively lay their eggs in nesting boxes, but Tillie prefers the garden, the porch, the kitchen, the laundry basket, and the pickup truck. Color photographs follow the unpredictable Tillie around the farm. Think hide-and-seek, with a chicken and some eggs. For ages 3-7.
 imgres-2 Ruth Heller’s gorgeous picture book Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones (Puffin, 1999) is an irresistible rhyming account of egg-laying animals and their eggs – among them seahorses, snakes, spiders, and octopuses. You’ll never forget the meaning of “oviparous.” For ages 4-8.
 imgres-3 Mia Posada’s Guess What’s Growing Inside This Egg (Millbrook Press, 2006) is a fun interactive read. For each of the featured eggs, there’s a riddle-like verse providing clues; then readers turn the page to find out what’s inside the egg, along with a short informational paragraph about the animal. Attractive collage illustrations. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-4 By Priscilla Belz Collins, A Nest Full of Eggs (HarperCollins, 1995) in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series follows a robin family through the year, beginning with nest building, then the eggs are laid and hatched, baby birds are cared for, and learn to fly. Nicely presented information in story form for ages 4-8.
Looking for more bird resources? See BIRDS for stories, poems, projects, math and science, arts and crafts, and more.
 imgres-5 Also in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series, see Amy E. Sklansky’s Where Do Chicks Come From? (HarperCollins, 2005).
 imgres-7 By Nicola Davies, One Tiny Turtle (Candlewick, 2005) is the gentle story of a loggerhead turtle who lives in the ocean – until one summer night she arrives on the very beach where she was born to lay her own eggs. Notes provide additional information. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-6 Martin Jenkins’s The Emperor’s Egg (Candlewick, 2002) is the story of how the male emperor penguin – largest of all penguins – spends two months without food, standing with an egg on his feet. For ages 4-9.
From The Teacher’s Guide, The Emperor’s Egg Printouts are a collection of word games and puzzles to accompany the book.
For many more penguin resources, see PENGUINS.
 imgres-8 Gail Gibbons’s Chicks and Chickens (Holiday House, 2005) is an attractively illustrated picture-book introduction to chicken biology and behavior, variously covering egg-laying, embryo development and hatching, the characteristics of chicks, hens, and roosters, and a survey of chicken breeds. For ages 5-8.
 imgres By Dianna Hutts Aston, An Egg is Quiet (Chronicle Books, 2014) is an exquisitely illustrated introduction to the vast variety of eggs, discussing shapes, sizes, patterns, functions, and the many places in which eggs are found. A wonderful introduction for ages 5-8.
 imgres-10 By Dawn Cusick and Joanne O’Sullivan, Animal Eggs (Early Light, 2012) is a 48-page account of eggs, illustrated with creative color photographs. Covered is an amazing array of eggs, from those of skinks and spiders to frogs, turtles, birds, and more. Readers learn about egg shapes, sizes, and colors; the many ways in which animals protect their eggs; which animals steal eggs; and more. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-11 People have eggs too. Robie H. Haris’s 88-page It’s So Amazing! (Candlewick, 2004) – subtitled “A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families” – is a gentle, cheerful, and straightforward explanation of sex, birth, puberty, and different kinds of families (helped along with some banter between a talkative bird and bee). Very well done for ages 7-10.
 imgres-12 By photographer Rosamond Purcell, Egg & Nest (Belknap Press, 2008) is a gorgeous collection of color photographs of eggs and nests, accompanied by a helpful text on the history of egg collecting and the biology of birds. For teenagers and adults, but all ages will love the pictures.
 imgres-13 From the Food Timeline, Eggs has a lot of information about the history of eggs, egg symbolism, egg sizes and preservation, and egg cookery, with quotations and resources.
 imgres-13 A Day in the Life of an Egg Farmer includes a video on the journey of an egg from farm to table.
 imgres-13 All About Eggs from A to Z is an online encyclopedia of all things egg from Air Sac, Albumen, and Angel Food Cake to Yolk, Zeaxantin, and Zabaglione.
 imgres-13 From History for Kids, Eggs is a brief history of egg-eating from ancient times on, with project suggestions, recipes, and a book list.


 images From First School, Eggs Theme is a multifaceted preschool lesson plan with printable worksheets (E is for Egg, N is for Nest) and coloring pages, online puzzles and games, and activity suggestions.
 images-1 Egg-Laying Animals is a lesson plan for grades 2-6 in which kids make papier-maché eggs and build appropriate habitats for them.
 imgres-14 From Egg to Chick is a lesson plan to accompany a chick-hatching project, with a long list of associated experiments and arts and crafts. For elementary-level students. (See EGG SCIENCE, below.)
 imgres-14 The Incredible Egg is a downloadable 72-page 4-H curriculum guide targeted at grades 4-5. It covers the parts of an egg, chick embryology, and egg nutrition and the food pyramid. Many illustrated worksheets.
 imgres-15 Education World’s multidisciplinary Five Lesson Plans for Easter: Just Add Eggs are really appropriate for any time of the year. For example, kids make and read maps leading to hidden eggs; make egg-based paints; experiment with eggs in saltwater; do math exercises with jelly eggs; and do art projects with egg cartons. Each lesson plan has extension activities. (There’s a lot here.) Appropriate for a wide range of ages.
 imgres-16 From the Utah Education Network, Food and Nutrition I is a six-day unit on eggs. Included are background info for parents and teachers, recipes, and printable worksheets. (Also see EATING EGGS, below.)
 imgres-13 The American Egg Board’s For Educators page has a great collection of lesson plans, categorized by age group (grades K-3, 4-6, 7-8, and 9-12). Also from the AEB, order a free copy of the 185-page Egg Science & Technology Lesson Plan.
 imgres-13 Conscious Consumerism: Egg Production is a lesson plan targeted at ages 9-13 in which kids investigate and discuss commercial egg production and design an ideal chicken coop.


 imgres-17 Barney Saltzberg’s Good Egg (Workman, 2009) is a delightful interactive book (with Egg). Flaps and tabs operate the egg as it’s told to sit, roll over, lie down, catch, and finally “Speak!” – at which point a bright-eyed chick hatches. For ages 2-5.
 imgres-18 In Andy Cutbill’s The Cow That Laid an Egg (HarperCollins, 2008), Marjorie is depressed because she’s just an ordinary cow, and can’t ride a bicycle or do handstands like the other cows. Then – after some clever chickens get to work with a paintbrush – Marjorie wakes to discover that she’s (apparently) laid a black-and-white Holstein-cow-spotted egg. The other cows refuse to believe in Marjorie’s egg and accuse the chickens, who refuse to tell. (“Prove it!”) Eventually Marjorie’s egg hatches a chick – whose first word out of the shell is “Moo!” With hilarious illustrations by Russell Ayto. Pair this one with Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hatches the Egg. For ages 2-6.
For more cow resources, see MOO! ALL ABOUT COWS.
 imgres-19 By Tad Hills, Duck & Goose (Schwartz & Wade, 2006) features a delightful pair who occasionally have trouble getting along. When they find an enormous spotted egg, both claim it (“I saw it first.” “I touched it first.”). They unite, however, in the process of caring for the egg – and aren’t at all dismayed when they discover that the “egg” is actually a polka-dot ball. One of a series. For ages 3-7.
 imgres-20 In Leo Lionni’s An Extraordinary Egg (Dragonfly Books, 1998), Jessica, an adventurous frog, finds and rolls home an egg – promptly pronounced by her know-it-all friend Marilyn to be a chicken egg. When the egg hatches an alligator, the frogs persist in calling it a chicken and all become friends – though it’s surprising how well the “chicken” can swim. When the baby is finally returned to its mother, the frogs all get a chuckle out of how she refers to the chicken as “My sweet alligator.” For ages 3-7.
 imgres-21 In Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hatches the Egg (Random House, 2004), Horton – surely the most lovable elephant in literature – faithfully cares for ditsy bird Maysie’s egg, despite trials, tribulations, and teasing. (“I said what I meant and I meant what I said/An elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent!”) Finally Horton’s much-cared-for egg hatches out an elephant bird. For ages 4-8.
For many more resources on elephants, see APPRECIATING ELEPHANTS.
Learn about real elephant birds at David Attenborough and the mystery of the elephant bird.
From Fun Trivia, see this interesting list of questions and answers about The Great Elephant Bird.
 imgres-22 I – well – just love Emily Gravett. In Gravett’s The Odd Egg (Simon & Schuster, 2009), all the birds had laid an egg – except Duck. Instead he finds an enormous green-spotted egg and, though all the other birds make fun of it, he persists in waiting for it to hatch (knitting all the time). Finally Duck’s egg produces an enormous baby alligator. The pictures are priceless. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-23 In Bill Peet’s rhyming The Pinkish, Purplish, Bluish Egg (Sandpiper Books, 1984), Myrtle, a turtle dove, adopts an enormous and peculiar egg, which hatches out a little griffin. Despite horrified responses from the other birds (“Just look! The thing is half lion, half eagle./I’m sure that it must be unsafe or illegal.”), Myrtle loves the griffin and names him Zeke – and Zeke, grown bigger, heroically saves the birds from a pack of foxes. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-24 Robert D. San Souci’s The Talking Eggs (Dial, 1989) is the adaptation of a Creole folktale featuring two sisters, Blanche (“sweet and kind and sharp as forty crickets”) and Rose (selfish and mean). Kind Blanche helps a strange old lady who gives her some talking eggs that provide her with wonderful things. Rose then sets off to get some eggs of her own, but – since she ignores the old lady’s instructions – ends up with eggs that release only snakes and wasps. With illustrations by Jerry Pinkney. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-25 In Patricia Polacco’s Just Plain Fancy (Dragonfly Books, 1994), Naomi, an Amish girl, complains that everything about her life – clothes, houses, and chickens – is just too plain. Then she and her sister Ruth find an unusual egg that hatches out a very peculiar chicken. They name it Fancy and try to keep it a secret for fear that the elders won’t approve – until one day. at a working bee, Fancy breaks out of the henhouse and shows himself to be a glorious peacock. (The elders think he’s just fine.) For ages 4-8.
 imgres-26 In Jan Brett’s Hedgie’s Surprise (Putnam Juvenile Books, 2000), a Tomten – a Scandinavian gnome – is pinching Henny’s eggs, but the problem is solved with some help from a little hedgehog. Wonderful illustrations with Scandinavian needlepoint borders. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-27 In The Crows of Pearblossom (Harry N. Abrams, 2011) – Aldous Huxley’s one and only children’s book – the crows who live in Pearblossom’s cottonwood tree are bedeviled by a rattlesnake, who keeps eating their eggs. Finally, with the help of an owl, they manage to trick the snake with a pair of fake eggs – and then live happily ever after, hatching out four families of seventeen children each. The illustrations are great fun – the crows’ nest, for example, includes a grandfather clock and a bassinet for the egg. A witty read for ages 4-8.
 imgres-28 In Alex T. Smith’s Foxy and Egg (Holiday House, 2011), Egg shows up on Foxy’s doorstep, and Foxy – who has a cunning plan concerning tomorrow’s breakfast – invites Egg in. She plies Egg with desserts (she wants a large egg), amuses Egg with games (she wants a fit egg), and finally tucks Egg into bed. In the morning, however, Foxy finds that Egg, overnight, has become simply enormous – and then, with a CRACK, Egg hatches out a large green alligator. The pictures add to the humor – for example, Foxy’s house is entirely decorated with chickens. For ages 5-7.
 imgres-29 In M.P. Robertson’s The Egg (Puffin, 2004), George discovers a truly gigantic golden egg in the family henhouse. He transports it (by wheelbarrow) to his bedroom, settles it on his bed, and reads it stories – and shortly the egg hatches, producing a baby dragon. George now sets about teaching the dragon the essentials of dragonly ways: flying, breathing fire, battling knights, and distressing damsels. The two can’t talk to each other, but they understand each other – as is revealed at the touching and grateful end. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-30 In Martha Freeman’s The Case of the Missing Dinosaur Egg (Holiday House, 2013), First Kids Cammie and Tessa – daughters of the first female president – are at the opening of a new dinosaur exhibit at the National Museum of National History, when a supposedly 70-million-year-old egg hatches and – an ostrich chick emerges. Off the kids go to find out what happened to the real egg. One of the First Kids Mystery series for ages 7-10.
 imgres-31 In William Joyce’s E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs (Atheneum, 2012), E. Aster Bunnymund – of the brotherhood of the Pookas, philosophical warrior rabbits of great intelligence and size – and his mechanical Warrior Eggs are off to battle Pitch, the Nightmare King. One of The Guardians of Childhood series for ages 7-11.
 imgres-32 In E. Nesbit’s The Phoenix and the Carpet (Puffin, 2012) – originally published in 1904 – five children discover a wonderful egg rolled up in the new carpet that has been purchased for the nursery. The egg falls into the fire and hatches out a fabulous (talking) Phoenix. In company with the Phoenix and the carpet (which turns out to be magic), the kids set out on a series of adventures. (A sequel to Five Children and It.) For ages 8-11.
 imgres-33 In Sarah L. Thomson’s Dragon’s Egg (Greenwillow Books, 2007), dragons are small farm animals – and Mella, who has a talent for dragons, is in charge of caring for her family’s herd. Then a knight arrives, following signs of mythical dragons – the fire-breathing monsters of legend – after which Mella finds a true dragon’s egg in the forest, guarded by a terrifying and enormous dragon. In company with the knight’s squire, Roger, Mella sets off to take the egg safely to the dragon Hatching Grounds. For ages 8-12.
Want more dragon books? See DRAGONS.
 imgres-34 In Oliver Butterworth’s The Enormous Egg (Little, Brown, 1993), one of the hens in the Twitchell family henhouse lays an enormous egg – which hatches out an infant Triceratops. Twelve-year-old Nate names the dinosaur Uncle Beazley and decides to raise it himself, but a growing dinosaur proves challenging, so Nate – with the help of a friendly paleontologist – decides to find Uncle Beazley a home. He doesn’t expect the resulting political furor. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-35 In Bruce Coville’s Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007), 12-year-old Jeremy stumbles upon a mysterious magic shop and ends up with a dragon’s egg. Eventually the egg hatches and produces Tiamat, a dragon that only Jeremy and his friend Mary Lou can see. It’s not easy, however, raising an invisible dragon. One of the Magic Shop series for ages 9-12.
 imgres-36 By Diana Wynne Jones, The Pinhoe Egg (Harper Collins, 2006) is one of the Chronicles of Chrestomanci series, set in a parallel British universe featuring castles and magic. In this volume, enchanter Cat Chant and young witch Marianne Pinhoe find an incredible egg – hidden for years in an attic – that hatches out a baby griffin. A good bet for fans of Harry Potter. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-38 In Kathy Mackel’s Eggs in One Basket (HarperCollins, 2006), football star Scott Schreiber – right in the middle of an important game – is blindsided by a horrible screeching noise that nobody but he and Stacia Caraviello (a Weird Band Girl) can hear. It turns out that Scott’s science project – a nest of odd eggs that he found in the woods – really come from outer space. Scott and friends are soon entangled in an intergalactic battle between the peaceful, but powerful, birdlike aliens, the Lyra, and the evil Shards. And there’s a space security cop who looks like a dog. For ages 11-13.


 images-3 Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham (Random House, 1960) is the rollicking story of Sam-I-Am, who is doing his best to convince a friend to eat green eggs and ham. His friend DOES NOT LIKE green eggs and ham. For ages 3-7.
It’s also funny in French, as Les Oeufs Verts au Jambon (Ulysses Press, 2009).
See if YOU like green eggs and ham. From, check out these recipes. (Hint: you’ll need green food coloring.)
 imgres-39 Also see Dr. Seuss’s Scrambled Eggs Super (Random House, 1953) in which Peter T. Hooper sets out to find a fabulous collections of eggs for the most incredible breakfast ever. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-40 In Alison Jackson’s Eggs Over Evie (Henry Holt and Company, 2010), 12-year-old Evie – a budding chef – has problems: her celebrity-chef father’s new wife is expecting twins; her mother is starting to date; and Evie is feeling lost. Cooking turns out to be a way for Evie to find herself. Each chapter begins with a cooking quote and features a recipe (many with eggs). Try Evie’s Mount Vesuvius Omelet Souffle. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-41 By Roald Dahl (with great illustrations by Quentin Blake), see Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes (Puffin, 1997) for an irresistible recipe for Stink Bug Eggs.
 images-4 A recipe for perfectly cooked soft-boiled eggs (with science): from Scientific American, see Egg-cellently Cooked Eggs for instructions and explanations.
 imgres-42 Your scrambled eggs are wrong! Find out why here, with an explanation from America’s Test Kitchen.
The Science Behind Eggs has a brief explanation and a slide show of favorite foods made possible by eggs (say, angel food cake and custard).


 imgres-43 Steve Spangler’s Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes (Greenleaf, 2010) is a collection of great science experiments, among them at least four with eggs. Cool for everybody; recommended for ages 9 and up.
Steve Spangler Science online has a great list of egg experiments, among them the Egg Drop, the Impossible Egg Crush, and the Incredible Egg Geode. Try them all!
 imgres-13 From the San Francisco Exploratorium’s Science of Cooking series, Eggs has illustrated information on egg science, recipes and activities, science experiments, and a (virtual) trip to an organic egg farm.
 imgres-44 From National Geographic Kids, Eggs-Periments lists several cool egg-based experiments, including an unusual way of getting a hard-boiled egg into a bottle.
Science Sparks has a list of ten interesting egg experiments, with instructions and explanations. For example, make a bouncing egg and a floating egg, and find out how strong an eggshell really is. (Very.)
 imgres-45 Chemistry and calcium! See Translucent Egg for an experiment involving calcium carbonate, acetic acid, and an egg.
Incubation and Embryology from the University of Illinois Extension has an excellent collection of detailed resources on chickens, chick embryology, and eggs. Included are instructions for building a simple cardboard-box incubator and a coffee-can egg candler.
 imgres-46 Also from the University of Illinois Extension, activities for younger students include a series of downloadable worksheets in which kids can label and identify the parts of an egg and a chicken, determine which egg is fertile, size and grade eggs, measure incubation temperatures, and more.
 images-6 Chickscope has a detailed account of the 21-day chick developmental process. Included for each day are diagrams, photographs, explanations, and related math and science projects.
 images-5 Sources for incubators, eggs, and chick supplies include My Pet ChickenStromberg’s Chicks and Game Birds, and the Carolina Biological Supply Company.
 imgres-47 Which came first: the chicken or the egg? See what science says with this great animated explanation from Gizmodo.
Chicken or Egg? Science Decides! is a great evolutionary explanation on YouTube.
 imgres-48 Egg Science: Dissolution and Osmosis has instructions for two simple experiments, illustrated with photos and diagrams.
 imgres-49 Microwave Egg Explosion. It’s an online video. Try to convince  the kids to be satisfied with that.
From the San Francisco Exploratorium, Egg Science: An Ova-view of Eggs is a fascinating 30-minute webcast on the biology of eggs.
 imgres-50 Try this online game of Guess the Egg. (Guess, then click on an egg photo to see the answer.)
 imgres-51 From AAAS, The Big Egg Mystery is: how can a bird sit on its eggs without breaking them? Included are discussion questions, a link to the PBS Kids video “An Egg is Quiet,” and printable student worksheets.
 images-7 Is it really hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk? Wait for a hot day and try this experiment.
From Science Friday, see this video on Cracking the Egg Sprinkler Mystery. (If you spin a hardboiled egg in a puddle of milk, the milk will wick up the sides of the egg and spray off at the egg’s equator. WHY?)
From the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, see these illustrated instructions for making an exciting Egg Bungee.
 imgres-52 These great short videos explain the Chemistry of Easter Egg Dyeing.
The early Earth smelled like rotten eggs. Really! Read about it here.


 imgres-53 In Mini Grey’s Egg Drop (Alfred A. Knopf, 2009), the star character is an egg who wants to fly. Now. Without waiting to hatch. (“The Egg was young./It didn’t listen./If only it had waited.”) So, in the teeth of all advice, the egg climbs to the top of a tower and jumps. When the inevitable happens, and the broken egg can’t be fixed (not even with nails, tomato soup, or band-aids), it ends up on a breakfast plate, sunny-side-up. It’s hilarious, but some kids may not think so. For ages 5-8.
 fd26bf4b9e7d7c081fb29c395011e2e7d2c08101 The Egg Drop – a great experiment that illustrates the concept of inertia – is simple and thrilling. (A standard event here every Thanksgiving.) You’ll need a glass of water, a cardboard tube, a pie pan, and an egg.
 images-8 Can you save an egg from death? Try building a device that will keep your egg intact when it’s dropped from a height of ten feet. For ideas, see How can you keep a falling egg from breaking? from Science on the Brain, Egg Drop Experiment from Weird Science Kids, and Egg Drop from PBSKids.


 imgres-55 In Tom Ross’s Eggbert (Puffin, 1997), an artistic egg who sports a red beret is evicted from the refrigerator because he is slightly cracked. Eggbert, at first dismayed, soon finds out that that the world is full of cracks, in everything from clouds to volcanoes to the Liberty Bell. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-56 In Patricia Polacco’s Rechenka’s Eggs (Philomel, 1988), Babushka lives alone in a little house – dacha – in the Russian countryside, where she spends her winters painting beautiful eggs for the Easter festival. Then she rescues a wounded goose and names her Rechenka – who, once healed, accidentally breaks all of Babushka’s eggs. Babushka is devastated, until Rechenka miraculously lays a set of wonderful eggs to replace the ones that were lost. For ages 4-9.
 Sue-Pysanky-S From the Incredible @rt Department, the Pysanky Ukrainian Eggs lesson plan has a history of pysanky eggs, book and resource lists, a printable handout for designing your own eggs, a gallery of painted eggs, and more.  Adaptable for a range of ages.
Learn Pysanky is a detailed tutorial for making Babushka-style Ukrainian Easter eggs.
 tvs2818_l Ukrainian Easter Eggs is a project with instructions from Martha Stewart.
 P1160712_edited-1 From That Artist Woman, Easy Easter Egg Art Project has instructions for making beautiful paper pastel-resist pysanky eggs.
 imgres-57 In Katherine Milhous’s The Egg Tree (Aladdin, 1992) – the Caldecott winner in 1951 – Katy (who can’t find any eggs on the traditional family Easter egg hunt) finds a collection of painted eggs in her grandmother’s attic. She and her cousins then learn about the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition of the Egg Tree, a tree decorated with colorful eggs. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-58 Chuck Abrams’s Intricate Eggs (Running Press, 2008) is a coloring book of intricately patterned eggs to color. A gorgeous project for lovers of colored pencils. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-59 Keep your eggs warm! Egg Cozies (Guild of Master Craftsman Publications, 2010) has instructions for many creative egg cozies – those little English-style hats used to keep teatime boiled eggs warm. Fun for beginning knitters on up.
 blue egg From the Happy Scientist, Egg Geodes is a great illustrated account of how to make crystal-filled egg shells.
 6134_041311_egg_geodes_hd Also see Martha Stewart’s impressively gorgeous Crystal Egg Geodes.
From Scientific American, Silky Science: Tie-Dyeing Eggs has instructions for dyeing eggs with a silk necktie.
 images-9 Eggshell People has instructions for making “eggshell people” from empty eggshells, potting soil, and grass seed (for hair).  Accompanying activities include charting the rate of growth of the grass hair, keeping eggshell people diaries, and writing eggshell people stories.
 imgres-60 Make gorgeous String Eggs with balloons, string, and glue.
 DSC_0037-600x398 From Tinkerlab, 60 Egg Activities for Kids is a great collection of arts and crafts projects, among them collage eggs, vegetable-dyed eggs, ice eggs, egg candles, egg shell sculptures, and more.
 imgres-61 From Crayola, Let Me Out! Dino Eggs has instructions for making a painted dinosaur egg and emerging model dinosaur.
For more resources on dinosaurs – lots of them – see DINOSAURS.
From DLTK’s Crafts for Kids, Egg Carton Crafts has a long list of projects: make ants, bats, chicks, snakes, dragons and more, all from cardboard egg cartons.
 imgres-62 From Scholastic, Recycled Egg Carton Flowers has instructions and a video demonstration.
Not enough egg cartons for your projects? They’re available from Nasco in packages of 70 ($14.50).
History of Egg Art briefly covers the high points, among them the Faberge eggs, Ukrainian and Persian egg-decorating traditions, and the art of ostrich eggs.
 imgres-63 Chinese artist Wen Fuliang makes spectacularly detailed egg shell sculptures.


 imgres-64 By Toby Faber, Fabergé’s Eggs (Random House, 2008) is the story of the fabulous jeweled eggs made for Russia’s czars by renowned jeweler Carl Fabergé. A fascinating historical read for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-65 Using Marty Noble’s Artful Eggs From Around the World Stained Glass Coloring Book (Dover Publications, 2011), colorers can make 16 “stained-glass” pictures of pysanky, washi, and Fabergé eggs.
 imgres-66 Faberge Eggs: Mementos of a Doomed Dynasty is a creative lesson plan for middle- and high-school-level students, designed to accompany PBS’s Treasures of the World series.
 images-10 From the Poetry Foundation, see Elizabeth Spires’s poem Fabergé’s Egg.


 imgres-67 By Janet Halfmann, Eggs 1,2,3: Who Will the Babies Be? (Blue Apple Books, 2012) is an interactive counting book in which readers lift a flap to discover what’s inside the egg: for example, a penguin chick, a pair of platypuses, or nine frog tadpoles. For ages 2-5.
 imgres-68 Michael Dahl’s Eggs and Legs (Nonfiction Picture Books, 2005) is a clever exercise in learning to count by twos, as a hen watches pairs of legs emerge from hatching eggs. For ages 4-7.
Math resources! See MATH I.
 imgres-13 Incredible Edible Eggs is a downloadable math activity book for preschoolers and early-elementary kids, illustrated with drawings and color photographs. Matching games, counting, and simple addition.
 smallMain_0_20 Math Eggs is a great game that lets kids practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division while helping a bright-eyed hen collect hatching eggs. Available as an app for iPod or iPhone. For ages 4-10.
 imgres-69 Try a game of Scrambled Egg Math. You’ll need a plastic egg carton, markers, and a couple of lima beans. Targeted at early-elementary kids, the game reinforces number recognition and sequencing skills.
 imgres-70 Fun with Buttons: Egg Math is a counting game in which kids pair numbers of buttons to big bright number-labeled foam eggs.
 imgres-71 Mancala may be the oldest game in the world. Egg Carton Mancala Game has instructions for making a mancala board from a plastic egg carton, with links to a You Tube video that teaches you how to play. A great fun way to encourage strategic thinking.
 imgres-72 Birds’ Eggs is a math project in which kids use a scatter graph to investigate the relationship between the length and width of birds’ eggs.
 imgres-73 From Chickscope, Egg Math has information and mathematical exercises involving egg shape (symmetry and cross-sections, ellipses and ovals), the white-yolk theorem, spherical geometry, and embryo calculus. For older students.
By Yutaka Nishiyama, The Mathematics of Egg Shape is an interesting illustrated essay for older students. (Did you know that eggs stop rolling on slopes? Check it out.)


 imgres-74 By Russell Hoban’s creative little badger, Frances, Egg Thoughts are a collection of Frances’s poems on eggs. Frances’s “Soft-Boiled,” for example: “I do not like the way you slide/I do not like your soft inside/I do not like you many ways/And I could do for many days/Without a soft-boiled egg.” (From Russell Hoban’s Egg Thoughts and Other Frances Songs; Harper & Row, 1972.)
From Nursery Rhymes and Traditional Poems, this is a riddle-poem about (spoiler!) an egg. Pass it on to somebody else and don’t tell.
 imgres-76 Riddle Poems and How to Make Them has many examples of this very old tradition and helpful instructions for inventing some of your own.
 158B-Version-2 An Egg Poem – in which E is for Eating, not Egg – once appeared on late 19th-century cigarette cards. See images (and poem).
 imgres-75 Ezra Pound’s Poetic Eggs compared poetry writing to laying eggs.
 images-11 By Naomi Shihab Nye, see Boy and Egg, about finding fresh eggs in the chicken house.
 images-4 Featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, Baron Wormser’s A Quiet Life begins “What a person desires in life/Is a properly boiled egg./This isn’t as easy as it seems.” (Find out why.)
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Trees are wonderful, life-giving, magical, legendary, spooky, and just plain interesting. Think of the Ents from The Lord of the Ring, the dryads of Narnia, Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest, Harry Potter’s Whomping Willow, and Bilbo Baggins’s Party Tree.

See below for the science of trees, tree stories, tree poems, tree art projects, mathematical trees, tree houses, and more.


 images National Arbor Day usually falls on the last Friday in April – but some states base Arbor Day on their best tree-planting times. See When is Arbor Day in your state?
 images Visit the Arbor Day Foundation website for affordable trees, an informational tree guide, resources for connecting kids with nature, forest replanting programs, a history of the holiday, and more.
 imgres In Kathryn Galbraith’s Arbor Day Square (Peachtree Publishers, 2010), a small Nebraska prairie town has houses and barns, a store, a church, and a school with desks for seventeen children – but no trees. The townspeople, among them Katie and her father, raise money to order 15 saplings from back East and plant them in the town square. Time passes and the trees grow bigger and taller; Katie grows up, marries, and has a little daughter – who helps her grandfather plant new trees. An appendix explains the origin of Arbor Day, first celebrated in Nebraska in 1872. For ages 4-8.
 images As of 2013, the United Nations declared March 21 to be the International Day of Forests. From the Huffington Post, see background information and a photo-illustrated list of 21 Reasons to Celebrate the Value of Trees.


 imgres-1 Jerry Palotta’s Who Will Plant a Tree? (Sleeping Bear Press, 2010) is a picture-book account of a lot of surprising tree-planters, among them squirrels, bears, geese, ants, and dolphins. For ages 3-8.
 imgres-2 In Mary Ann Rodman’s A Tree for Emmy (Peachtree Publishers, 2009), Emmy wants her own pink-flowered mimosa tree like the one that grows in her grandmother’s yard – and that Gramma claims is a lot like Emmy herself, “stubborn and strong and a little bit wild.” To her dismay, no garden store sells mimosa trees – but finally she finds the solution: a little sapling to transplant and nurture on her own. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-3 By Jeanette Winter, Wangari’s Trees of Peace (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008) is a picture-book biography of Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her tree-planting program. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-4 By H. Joseph Hopkins, The Tree Lady (Beach Lane Books, 2013) is the picture-book story of tree-loving activist Kate Sessions, who grew up in California in the 1860s, went to college to study science, and finally moved to the desert town of San Diego, where she established a nursery and populated the town and surrounding area with trees. A great story about a little-known heroine for ages 5-8.
 imgres-5 Jean Giono’s The Man Who Planted Trees (Chelsea Green, 2007) is the story of Elzeard Bouffier who spent his life planting one hundred acorns a day – through both World Wars I and II – in a desolate stretch of southern France, eventually transforming the region into a green woodland. A hopeful account of one person making a great difference for ages 12 and up.
  Read The Man Who Planted Trees online.
 imgres-6 Project Plant It is elementary-school tree planting program. Included at the site are detailed lesson plans, a tree reading list, varied activities for kids, interactive games, and more. You can also request a free tree through the program, though these aren’t always available.


 imgres-7 Christie Matheson’s Tap the Magic Tree (Greenwillow, 2013) is a fun interactive read in which kids are first told to tap a picture of a  bare brown tree and turn the page – and a green leaf appears. Readers tap, pat, rub, “blow a whooshing breeze,” shake, and close their eyes and count to ten and, as they do, the tree moves through the seasons, hosting a bird nest, sprouting flowers and ripening apples, until apples and leaves fall, and the bare tree is covered in snow. For ages 3-6.
 imgres-8 Janice May Urdry’s Caldecott-winning A Tree is Nice (HarperCollins, 1987) is a gentle picture-book account of all the wonderful things about trees – they fill up the sky, provide shade from the sun, houses for birds, and escape routes for cats. Kids can rake their leaves, climb them, swing from their branches, picnic at their feet. A charmer for ages 3-8.
 imgres-9 Joseph Anthony’s In a Nutshell (Dawn Publications, 1999) follows the life cycle of an oak tree, beginning with the fall of one plump little acorn, who lands on the forest floor and begins its struggle to get back to the sun. For ages 3-8.
 imgres-10 By Clyde Robert Bulla, A Tree Is a Plant (HarperCollins, 2001) in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series is a simple introduction to trees (“the biggest plant that grows”) for ages 4-7.
 imgres-11 In Zoe Hall’s The Apple Pie Tree (Blue Sky Press, 1996) two little girls watch their backyard apple tree through the seasons of the year, from leafless winter to the buds and blossoms of spring when robins arrive to build a nest, to ripening fruit in summer – and finally, in fall, harvest and an apple pie. For ages 4-7.
 imgres-12 In Gail Gibbons’s The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree (Sandpiper, 1998), the apple tree is Arnold’s special secret place. He builds a snow fort around it and hangs strings of popcorn on its branches for the birds in winter; in spring, he builds a swing; in summer, a treehouse; and in the fall he rakes leaves and picks apples. Included is a recipe for apple pie and an explanation of cider-making. For ages 4-7.
 imgres-13 The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree is a color-illustrated multidisciplinary lesson plan for elementary-level kids. Activities include determining the number of seeds in an apple, sprouting apple seeds, making “Apple Tree I.D.” pictures and apple sun catchers, and playing apple games. Included are printable worksheets.
 imgres-13 For many more resources on apples – including pie apples, Newton’s apple, and Johnny Appleseed – see APPLES ALL YEAR ROUND.
 imgres-14 Carol Reed-Jones’s The Tree in the Ancient Forest (Dawn Publications, 1995) is a cumulative environmental rhyme in the style of “This is the House That Jack Built,” that draws in all plants, animals, and features of the ancient forest. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-15 Lois Ehlert’s Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1991) is the simple story of a sugar maple from seed to sapling to tree, illustrated with colorful collages that incorporate real maples leaves and seeds. Included are instructions for planting a tree and making bird treats. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-16 Gail Gibbon’s Tell Me, Tree is a brightly illustrated introduction to trees covering the parts of trees, types of trees, tree shapes, seeds, bark, and fruit, and uses of trees. Included are attractive labeled diagrams, lots of tree facts, and helpful suggestions for making a personal tree identification book. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-17 In Barbara Brenner’s One Small Place in a Tree (HarperCollins, 2004), the “small place” is a hole in a tree, first scratched out by a bear, then hollowed by timber beetles. As the hole grows larger, it hosts animal after animal – salamanders, white-footed mice, bluebirds, squirrels, and snakes. For ages 4-8, who will then want to go look for holes in trees.
 imgres-18 Pam Marshall’s From Tree to Paper (Lerner Classroom, 2013), one of the extensive Start to Finish series, describes the process of papermaking in simple large print, illustrated with color photographs. For ages 4-8.
Paper Making Science Project has detailed instructions for making your own recycled paper. (That is, you start with paper scraps, not a tree.)
Also see Make Recycled Paper from the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.
 imgres-19 Chiara Chevalier’s 48-page The Secret Life of Trees (Dorling Kindersley, 1999) is an informative read for beginners, illustrated with terrific color photographs and interesting facts in boxes. Did you know that when you look at a tree, you only see half of it? (The rest is underground.) For ages 5-7.
 imgres-20 Debbie Miller’s Are Trees Alive? (Walker Children’s Books, 2003) – inspired by a question asked by her young daughter – explains how trees are remarkably like people: they breathe, eat, and drink; the veins in their leaves are much like those in people’s hands; and their bark is the equivalent of skin. The book also takes readers on a tour of unusual trees around the world, among them the baobab, banyan, cocoa tree, weeping willow, paper birch, and sugar maple. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-21 Patricia Lauber’s Be a Friend to Trees (HarperCollins, 1994) in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series explains why trees are important, providing food (fruit, nuts, chocolate), shelter, homes for animals, and – by way of photosynthesis – oxygen, which we all need to breathe. Associated activities include planting a tree and recycling paper. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-6 In Susan Coolidge’s The Stories Trees Tell (Banjo Dog Press, 2008), five animal pals (Bear, Raccoon, Possum, Snake, and Woodpecker) come up with imaginative explanations for why trees are the way they are. “Meet my friend Chestnut Tree. Look at how her trunk splits and grows sideways. What could have happened to her?” While the five friends come up with their own imaginative explanations, multiple margin notes and photographs tell the actual facts about trees. Included are 15 pages of creative tree-based activities. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-22 In Betsy Maestro’s Why Do Leaves Change Color? (HarperCollins, 1994) in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series, readers learn about the many different shapes of leaves (How many can you find?) and the process of fall color change, starting with chlorophyll and a cross-sectional diagram of a leaf. Included are instructions for making leaf rubbings and a pressed leaf collection. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-23 Diane Burns’s Trees, Leaves, and Bark (Cooper Square Publishing, 1995) is one of the “Take Along Guides” for young naturalists. The book introduces kids to 16 different trees and suggests a handful of activities: make a pinecone “snackbar” for birds and a bark rubbing, for example. For ages 5-10.
 imgres-24 Barbara Bash’s Tree Tales series (Sierra Club Books for Children) includes Ancient Ones: The World of the Old-Growth Douglas Fir, Tree of Life: The World of the African Baobab, and In the Heart of the Village: The World of the Indian Banyan Tree. In each, a combination of evocative prose and gorgeous watercolor paintings combine to tell the story of the tree and its surroundings. Readers learn, for example, that the Douglas fir is one of the largest living things on earth, taller than a twenty-story building, and that some live to be a thousand years old. For ages 6-10.
 imgres-25 Gina Ingoglia’s The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grownups (Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 2013) first covers trees in general – why trees are important, why leaves change color, the process of photosynthesis – and then describes 33 different trees, each in a double-page spread. For each, readers learn about the tree’s anatomy and features, such as leaves, flowers, seeds, fruit, and bark, as well as assorted cool facts. (Ground-up horse chestnuts make great library paste.) For all ages.
 imgres-26 Nancy Ross Hugo’s 200+-page Seeing Trees (Timber Press, 2011) is a guide to viewing – that is, really looking at – trees, concentrating on ten common varieties. Lavishly illustrated with fascinating color photographs showing a wealth of unexpected close-up details. Intended for adults, but the pictures are so intriguing that the book can be enjoyed by all ages.
 images-1 From Cornell, Know Your Trees is a free downloadable tree identification key.
 images-2 From the New York Times, Olivia Judson’s Tree-mendous is a great essay on the meaning and importance of trees.
At Forestry Focus, learn about Sacred and Magical Trees.
 imgres-27 Find out How Trees Affect the Weather with clear explanations, colorful diagrams, and a tree image gallery. Also included are lists of related links and sources.
Gold in Trees May Hint at Buried Treasure. Really! Read all about it.
How do trees respond to drought? They call for help. Literally. From National Geographic, read about it here.
 images-2 Real Trees 4 Kids has a lot of information on trees and tree farming, categorized by grade level (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12). Readers learn about tree anatomy, life cycles, and classification.
 imgres-28 What’s in the Amazon rain forest? 400 billion trees belonging to 16,000 different species, according to a new estimate. Read about it here.
 imgres-29 The Oldest Trees on the Planet is an annotated photo gallery – among them the incredible 4765-year-old California Methuselah tree.
 images-2 From SciStarter, Citizen Science Does Grow on Trees has a short list of citizen science projects for tree fans of all ages. Also see the New York Botanical Garden’s citizen science program, Listening to the Trees.


 images-2 Talk About Trees is a collection of nine downloadable lesson plans (with printable worksheets) on such topics as the forest food web, photosynthesis, the water cycle, the carbon cycle, and forest natural disasters. Included are activities, games, and lists of additional resources. Targeted at elementary-level kids.
 images-2 From Penn State, Forestry/Natural Resources Lesson Plans is an extensive collection, variously for grades K-5. Titles include Forest Stewardship, The History of Maple Syrup, Seasons of Trees, Trees and Their Parts, Tree Growth, Trees to Paper, Leaf Identification, and Build a Forest.
 images-2 Lesson Plans for Forest-Minded Teachers has a long detailed list, variously for grades K-12.
 images-2 From the Society of American Foresters, Tool for Teachers has comprehensive lesson plans and science fair projects for elementary-, middle-, and high-school-level students.
 images-2 From Education World, Trees Sprout Classroom Lessons Throughout the Year is a collection of five detailed lessons about trees. How Does Your Tree Measure Up?, for example, is a math-based lesson for grades 3-12 in which kids calculate the height of a tree, the area of its leaf cover, the number of leaves on the tree, the average size of a leaf, and more.
 imgres-28 The Rain Forest Alliance Curriculum has detailed lesson plans for grades K-8 with many downloadable resources. Topics covered include rainforest trees and animals, coffee and chocolate, biodiversity, deforestation, and more.
 imgres-30 For elementary students, the Inside a Tree Lesson Plan explains the layers of a tree trunk and their functions and has an activity in which kids make “tree cookies” from play dough or clay.


 imgres-31 By Dorothea Warren Fox, Miss Twiggley’s Tree (Purple House Press, 2002) – originally published in 1966 – is a perfect delight. Told in bouncy rhyme, it’s the story of the shy and unconventional Miss Twiggley who lives in a tree with her dog and some supportive bears. (“Funny Miss Twiggley/Lived in a tree/With a dog named Puss/And a color TV./She did what she liked and she liked what she did/But when company came/Miss Twiggley hid.”) When the town is flooded, however, Miss Twiggley (and bears) come to the rescue. For ages 3 and up (and up).
 imgres-32 In Leo Lionni’s The Alphabet Tree (Alfred A. Knopf, 1990), each letter has a favorite leaf on the alphabet tree – until a gale-force wind swoops in and blows them all over the place. The solution is cooperation, as the letters band together to form words. For ages 3-7.
  The Alphabet Tree has multidisciplinary extension activities to accompany the book, among them learning about seasons, creating story sequence cards, making a word tree poster, and studying tree growth and planting seeds.
  For more alphabet resources, see ABC: The Alphabet (and Beyond).
 imgres-33 In Oliver Jeffers’s Stuck (Philomel, 2011), when Floyd’s kite becomes stuck in a tree, he hurls things after it, which all become stuck in turn – shoes, the kitchen sink, a boat, a rhinoceros, a lighthouse, a whale. Hilarious for ages 3-7.
  Listen to Stuck read by Oliver Jeffers on YouTube.
  Teaching Ideas: Stuck has resources and activities to accompany the book, variously categorized under Literacy, Math, Science, Technology, Art, Geography, Physical Education, and Foreign Languages.
 imgres-34 In Julia Rawlinson’s Fletcher and the Falling Leaves (Greenwillow, 2008), Fletcher – an adorable little fox – is convinced that his favorite tree is sick: its leaves are turning brown. His mother assures him that this is normal in autumn, but frantic Fletcher isn’t convinced, and as the leaves inevitably fall, he does his best to stick them back on the tree. Finally, despite his best efforts, the last leaf falls – but when Fletcher next visits his tree, he finds it covered with glittering (with real sparkle) icicles that laugh happily when Fletcher asks the tree if it is all right. For ages 4-7.
 imgres-35 Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax (Random House, 1971) – which features the Lorax, who speaks for the trees – may be everyone’s all-time favorite environmental picture book. For ages 4-8.
  The 2012 movie version of The Lorax is rated PG. It’s not as good as the book.
 imgres-36 In Alan Zweibel’s Our Tree Named Steve (Puffin, 2007), Steve, the tree, is felled by lightning and the family recalls all that Steve has meant to them over the years, providing everything from a swing to a camp site to a hammock stand for fat Uncle Chester to a meeting place for young lovers. At the end, Steve’s wood becomes a playhouse. Love and loss, with gentle humor, for ages 4-8.
 imgres-37 Lynne Cherry’s The Great Kapok Tree (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2000) is the story of a man who has come to the rain forest to chop down the great kapok tree, but instead falls asleep at its foot. As he sleeps, animal after animal arrives to plead for the life of the tree – snakes, monkeys, birds, frogs, butterflies, and a jaguar all join in – and when the man awakes, now knowing the importance of the tree to so many creatures, he shoulders his ax and walks away. A beautiful and thought-provoking picture book for ages 4-8.
 imgres-38 In Patricia Polacco’s The Bee Tree (Puffin, 1998), Mary Ellen is tired of reading and wants to go outdoors – so her grandfather decides that it’s the perfect time to hunt for a bee tree. Soon they’ve gathered a crowd of people and animals following behind them, all out to find some honey. (There’s also a nice little moral at the end about the joys of reading.) For ages 4-8.
 imgres-39 Lori Mortensen’s In the Trees, Honey Bees! (Dawn Publications, 2009) is a simple rhyming account of the life of a wild bee colony living in a bee tree; fact boxes provide more information for older children. For ages 4-7.
 imgres-40 For many more resources on bees and honey, see THE BUZZ ON BEES.
 imgres-41 In Bill Peet’s Farewell to Shady Glade (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1981), a host of forest animals, led by a raccoon, are about to lose their home to land developers with bulldozers. They set out by train to find a new home. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-42 In Ted Kooser’s House Held Up by Trees (Candlewick, 2012), a man struggles to keep his yard free of tree seedlings, while his children play in the woods adjoining his property. Finally the children grow up, the man leaves the house, and the property is abandoned – at which point the trees take over and slowly, inexorably, surround the house, hold it together, and lift it off the ground. A story of the power of the wild for ages 4-9.
 imgres-43 Leo Buscaglia’s The Fall of Freddie the Leaf (Slack, Inc., 1982) is a gentle explanation of the nature of death, through the tale of Freddie, a leaf whose time has come to fall. For ages 4 and up.
 imgres-45 Jane Ray’s Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2005) is a beautifully illustrated version of the Christian creation story, featuring a famously forbidden tree. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-44 In Arthur Levine’s Pearl Moscowitz’s Last Stand (Houghton Mifflin, 2000), feisty Pearl goes into action when the city threatens to cut down the last lone gingko tree on her multicultural urban block. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-46 The star of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree (Harper & Row, 2014) is a kind and generous tree who loves a little boy. At first, he plays with her leaves and climbs on her branches; then as he grows older, he demands more and more from the tree: her apples to bring him money; her branches to build a house; her trunk to build a boat. Finally, the man is old and the tree has nothing more to give him – except her stump, which provides a place to sit. There he sits, “and the tree was happy.” A discussion-promoter for ages 5 and up.
  See The Giving Tree on YouTube narrated by Shel Silverstein.
  From the Teaching Children Philosophy website, The Giving Tree page has a summary, background guidelines for philosophical discussion, and a list of questions for readers.
 imgres-47 In Roald Dahl’s The Minpins (Puffin, 2009), Little Billy – despite awful warnings from his mother – goes into the Forest of Sin where, living in the tops of the trees, he discovers the Minpins, an entire village of miniature people who scamper around in the branches wearing little green boots equipped with suction cups. They are terrified by a monster, the Red-Hot Smoke-Belching Gruncher, and when Billy manages to dispatch it, he ends up with a liberating reward (magical nightly rides on the back of a swan). For ages 5-9.
 images-3 By Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire, D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths (New York Review Children’s Collection, 2005) is a marvelously illustrated collection of tales of Norse gods, goddesses, and giants, including the story of Yggdrasil, the World Tree. For ages 5 and up.
 imgres-48 In Florence Parry Heide’s Treehorn’s Treasure (Pomegranate, 2011), Treehorn stashes his allowance in a hole in a tree and discovers that the tree is now sprouting dollar bills. His parents, however, refuse to believe him. Heide’s Treehorn stories are gems, starring the commonsensical Treehorn, who deals calmly with fantastic situations, and his oblivious parents. With great illustrations by Edward Gorey. For ages 7 and up.
 imgres-49 Linda Lowery’s The Chocolate Tree (Millbrook Press, 2009) is a retelling of a Mayan folktale about how the god Kukulkan brought the gift of chocolate to the people – in spite of the protests of the other gods, notably Kukulkan’s brother, Night Jaguar. For ages 7-10.
  For more on chocolate and the chocolate tree, see Robert Burleigh’s nonfiction Chocolate: Riches from the Rainforest (Harry N. Abrams, 2002). For ages 8-11.
  For many more resources on this topic, see CHOCOLATE. (It’s not just for Valentine’s Day.)
 imgres-50 The main character of Carolyn Sherwin Bailey’s Miss Hickory (Puffin, 1977), which won the Newbery Award in 1947, is a doll – a notably cross and cantankerous doll – whose body is made from an apple-wood twig and head from a hickory nut. Left behind when her owners move to Boston, Miss Hickory must fend for herself during the cold New Hampshire winter. She does so, with the help of assorted animals, and even eventually begins to amend her not-always-admirable ways. At the end, however – SPOILER – a squirrel eats Miss Hickory’s head, at which point she has an epiphany about the meaning of her life; her headless twig body then wanders off and is grafted onto an apple tree, where it begins to grow. Many people love this book; I have mixed feelings about it, having been horrified when I was eight by Miss Hickory’s sudden end. A discussion-promoter for ages 7-12.
 imgres-51 In Mildred D. Taylor’s Song of the Trees (Puffin, 2003), the Logan family of Mississippi – in a prequel to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry – struggles with poverty, racism, the Depression, and the absence of Papa, who has gone to Louisiana to make money working for the railroad. Cassie, however, finds comfort from the great trees that surround their house, that seem to her to sing a special song (though others say it’s just the wind). Then Mr. Andersen, a local white businessman, tries to force Cassie’s Big Ma to sell the beloved trees for lumber. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-52 In T.A. Barron’s Tree Girl (Philomel, 2001), all nine-year-old Anna knows of her past is that crochety Master Mellwyn found her as a baby, lying in the roots of a willow tree. Now he warns her to stay away from the forest, which he claims is full of threatening tree ghouls – but Anna is drawn to the forest, believing it holds the secret of her mother. A short chapter fantasy for ages 8-12.
 imgres-53 In Kate Klise’s Regarding the Trees (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007), the principal of Geyser Creek Middle School wants to trim trees on the school property, and so enlists the help of Ms. Florence Waters (first encountered in Klise’s Regarding the Fountain). Many misunderstandings ensue. The story is told through a creative mix of letters, announcements, newspaper clippings, and the like, with a lot of intercalated info about real trees, family trees, and Italian. For ages 8-12.
 imgres-54 In S. Terrell French’s Operation Redwood (Amulet, 2011), 12-year-old Julian discovers by means of an intercepted email (calling his uncle a world-class jerk) that his uncle’s company plans to cut down a grove of old-growth California redwood trees. In company with new homeschooled friend Robin – who lives near the grove – Julian and friends embark on a campaign to save the trees. A great eco-adventure for ages 9-12.
 imgres-55 The star of Rumer Godden’s The Doll’s House (Puffin, 1976) is Tottie Plantagenet, a little wooden doll, who in times of trouble remembers the tree from which she was made, standing tall against the storm. (“A little of that tree is in me,” thought Tottie.) Tottie needs all her tree’s bravery and determination when she and her family run up against the elegant, but evil, Marchpane. For ages 9 and up.
 imgres-56 In Natalie Standiford’s The Secret Tree (Scholastic, 2014), ten-year-old Minty discovers the Secret Tree – a strange hollow tree filled with slips of paper holding people’s secrets. (“I put a curse on my enemy. And it’s working.”) Minty sets out to solve the mystery of the secrets, struggles to understand the strange goings-on around town (what about the weird inhabitant of the Witch House?), befriends a parentless boy named Raymond, and deals with the ups and downs of friends and family. A coming-of-age story for ages 9-12.
 imgres-57 In Jean Craighead George’s My Side of the Mountain (Puffin, 2004), young Sam Gribley – miserable in the crowded city – runs away to the Catskill Mountains where he sets up house in a hollow tree. He copes with difficulties and dangers, makes unexpected friends – including a young falcon and a lost-in-the-woods English professor (who calls Sam “Thoreau”). A wonderful story of adventure and independence for ages 9-12. (The first of a trilogy.)
 imgres-58 Toby Alone by Timothée de Fombelle (Candlewick Press, 2009) features a world of extremely small – no more than two millimeters tall – people who live in a vast oak known simply as the Tree. The tree is in political and social turmoil: thirteen-year-old Toby’s scientist parents have been captured and imprisoned, and he is alone and on the run. The root of the problem is politician/industrialist Joe Mitch, who is bent on exploiting the sap of the Tree for business purposes – a project that will inevitably kill it. Despite its minuscule characters, the book has more in common with 1984 than The Borrowers. This is a complex and sometimes violent story about the uses and abuses of power, and the consequences of environmental destruction. A thought-provoking read for ages 12 and up. The sequel – you’ll want it, since Toby Alone ends with a cliffhanger – is Toby and the Secrets of the Tree.
  For more resources on tiny (or at least little) people, see VERY LITTLE PEOPLE: BORROWERS, LILLIPUTIANS, AND TOM THUMB.
 imgres-59 Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (HarperPerennial, 2006) – originally published in 1943 – is the wonderful coming-of-age story of young Francie Nolan, growing up in the slums of turn-of-the-century New York City. A recurring metaphor is that of the Tree of Heaven – the ailanthus – a tree so tough and determined that it manages to sprout and thrive in the unwelcoming cement of city streets. For ages 12 and up.
 imgres-60 In Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Word for World is Forest (Tor Books, 2010), humans have taken over the tree-covered planet of Athshe, whose small furry green inhabitants pursue a peaceful lifestyle that involves a state of lucid dreaming – “dream-time” – and ritual singing. Enslaved by the invaders, the Athsheans finally revolt. There are analogies to the treatment of native Americans by the Europeans and to the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. A powerful book for teenagers and adults.
 imgres-61 There are similar themes in James Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar, in which humans are exploiting the planet Pandora for a rare mineral (unobtanium) and in the process are destroying the native inhabitants, the Na’vi, tall blue-skinned humanoids who live in harmony with nature and worship the Hometree. Rated PG-13.


 imgres-62 By Bill Martin, Jr., and John Archambault, The Ghost-Eye Tree (Square Fish, 1988) is a story-poem about a little boy and his older sister, sent out at night to fetch a bucket of milk, which involves passing the the truly creepy Ghost-Eye tree (“feared by all/the great and small”). The little boy wears his special hat, which makes him feel safer, even though his sister tells him it makes him look stupid. An owl panics them; he loses the hat; and his sister bravely goes back to retrieve it. A wonderfully illustrated account of being scared of the dark by a very spooky tree. For ages 4-8.
For more spooky resources, see GHOSTS!
 imgres-63 Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree (Yearling, 1999) is the eerie tale of eight boys on Halloween night, headed for a haunted house – where they meet the skeletal Mr. Moundshroud and encounter the Halloween tree, hung with grinning jack-o-lanterns. The book traces the history of Halloween customs from the ancient Egyptians to the Mexican Day of the Dead. Eerie and wonderful for ages 9-12.
Madagascar’s Legendary Man-eating Tree is a hoax, dating to 1881. But it’s still an interesting story.


 imgres-64 By author/musician Dana Lyons, The Tree (Illumination Arts, 2002) is told in the voice of an ancient Douglas fir: “For eight hundred years I have lived here/Through the wind, the fire, and the snow.” An inspiration for young environmentalists, illustrated with wonderful pictures of awesome trees. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-65 Karen Gray Ruelle’s The Tree (Holiday House, 2008) is a journey through time with the oldest elm tree in New York City, which sprouted 250 years ago on land that is now part of Madison Square Park. For ages 7-10.
 imgres-66 Holling C. Holling’s Tree in the Trail (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1990) – originally published in 1942 – is a 200+-year history of the Santa Fe Trail as experienced by a cottonwood tree, from the buffalo and Kansa Indians to the Spanish conquistadors, French trappers, and Conestoga wagon trains. Heavily illustrated with colorful paintings, sketches, maps, and diagrams. For ages 9-12.
 imgres-67 In Rudyard Kipling’s classic Puck of Pook’s Hill – available in many editions – Dan and Una are performing a version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream when Puck himself appears. Puck – who swears by the ancient English trees, oak and ash and thorn – magically conjures up people and stories from old English history for the children: Normans and Saxons, Roman soldiers and Picts, Vikings, explorers, and pirates, the signing of the Magna Carta. Included are wonderful poems, among them ”A Tree Song,” “A Smuggler’s Song,” and “The Bee-Boy’s Song.” For ages 9 and up.
  Read Puck of Pook’s Hill online here at Project Gutenberg.


 imgres-68 Thom Wiley’s The Leaves on the Trees (Cartwheel Books, 2011) can be sung to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus” – “The leaves on the tree are falling down/falling down/falling down/Autumn is here!” For ages 3-5.
 imgres-69 By Kristine O’Connell George, Old Elm Speaks (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007) is an illustrated collection of short poems celebrating trees. “Oak’s Introduction,” for example, speaks directly to the reader: “I’ve been wondering/when you’d notice/me standing here. I’ve been waiting/watching you/grow taller. I have grown too/My branches/are strong. Step closer./Let’s see/how high/you can/climb.” For ages 4-9.
 imgres-70 Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s Forest Has a Song (Clarion Books, 2013) is a collection of 26 short poems about the forest and its inhabitants, from chickadees and frogs to moss and trees. Illustrated with lovely stylized watercolor paintings. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-71 Selected by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston, The Tree That Time Built (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2009) is an illustrated collection of over 100 poems about the natural world by such poets as Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Eve Merriam, and Ogden Nash. See the “Think Like a Tree” section for many poems about trees. For ages 7-12.
 imgres-72 See Joyce Kilmer’s Trees, which begins “I think that I shall never see/A poem lovely as a tree.”
 imgres-73 Pair it with Ogden Nash’s Song of the Open Road. You’ll see why.
 imgres-74 I’ve always loved Philip Larkin’s The Trees. (“Last year is dead, they seem to say/Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.”)


 imgres-75 At the Math Playground, experiment with Factor Trees.
 trees1 From the American Mathematical Society, learn all about the many different kinds of mathematical trees at Trees: A Mathematical Tool for All Seasons. For older students.
 imgres-76 From Khan Academy’s (delightful) Doodling in Math with mathemusician Vi Hart, learn about Binary Trees.
 imgres-77 Counting Trees is an excellent math lesson on estimation based on a tree farm. Included are printable worksheets, data sheets, and questionnaires.


 imgres-78 Barbara Reid’s Picture a Tree (Albert Whitman & Company, 2013) points out that “There is more than one way to picture a tree” – as a “sun umbrella” or a high-rise apartment for birds and animals; as a baby, a teenager, or a grandfather; as a “wild good-bye party” as its brilliantly colored leaves blow away in the wind in fall. Wonderful creative illustrations modeled in Plasticine. For ages 4-7.
Creating Picture a Tree is a YouTube video showing how Reid’s Plasticine illustrations are put together.
 imgres-79 By Morteza E. Sohi, Look What I Did with a Leaf! (Walker Children’s Books, 1995) has great suggestions for making collage animals – butterflies, fish, peacocks, cows – with leaves. Included are instructions, a simple identification guide, and an account of the life cycle of a leaf. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-80 Thomas Locker and Candace Christiansen’s Sky Tree: Seeing Science Through Art (HarperCollins, 2001) traces a single tree through the seasons of the year, pairing Locker’s gorgeous oil paintings with a brief descriptive text. For ages 5-8.
 imgres-81 From Steve Spangler Science, find out How To Make a Newspaper Tree. You’ll need newspaper, scissors, tape, and a cardboard tube.
 imgres-82 See Kirigami: The Ancient Art of Paper Cutting for a lesson in how to make a stylized kirigami tree.
 tree2 From the Incredible @rt Department, Emily Carr Trees is an art project in which participants make watercolor paintings based on the tree landscapes of Canadian artist Emily Carr. The website has instructions, examples of tree pictures, and a Power Point presentation on Carr.
 tree1 For images of ten famous trees in art, see Relevant Trees in Art History.
Trees in Nature and Art is an interactive online lesson plan in which kids (in grades 5-8) explore the use of trees in the arts, learn about the science of forestry, collect leaves, create leaf-based art, and write tree poems.
On Pinterest, see this particularly gorgeous collection of Tree Art Lesson Ideas.
 AutumnTreeCollage9RS6k From Busy Bee, Tree Crafts for Kids include an Autumn Tree Collage, a flip-book-style seasonal Changing Tree, a Falling Leaves project (the leaves really fall), a Japanese Cherry Tree picture, Tie-Dyed Leaves, and more.
 palmtree-step4 From First Palette, Making Plants and Trees for a Diorama has step-by-step instructions for making great plants, flowers, and trees from paper, crepe paper, and craft foam.
 6a00d8341cc08553ef0133f0776978970b-800wi The Crafty Crow’s Trees! has an assortment of great tree crafts, including 3-D paper trees and a mod podged hand tree.
 Spring-Cherry-Tree-11 Tree Activities for Kids is a long list including science explorations, craft projects, paintings, and learning and book-related activities.
 imgres-83 From DLTK’s Crafts, Famous Art Work: Tree Themes has images of works by famous artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Gustav Klimt,  and coloring pages and art projects based on their trees.
 arborday1small Make Recycled Paper Trees.
 fall-tree-3-dimensional-project-fall-crafts-for-kids1-300x225 These Fall Tree Crafts for Kids include a Fingerprint Fall Tree, Marshmallow Stamped Apple Trees, and Button Branches.


 imgres-84 Andrew Larsen’s In the Tree House (Kids Can Press, 2013) is a story of two brothers, a tree house, and growing up. Narrated by the younger boy, the book describes how the family moved to a new house with a very tall tree, made plans for a spectacular tree house, and finally built one – and there the kids had great times. Then the older brother stopped visiting the tree house, preferring to hang out with new friends – until one night there’s a power outage. Together again, the boys have one more happy night in the tree house. A sweet and nostalgic story for ages 5-8.
 imgres-85 In Doris Burn’s Andrew Henry’s Meadow (Philomel, 2012), originally published in 1965, Andrew Henry’s inventions wreak so much havoc at home that, feeling unwanted and unloved, he sets off in search of a place of his own. He finds a sequestered meadow where he builds himself a wonderful little house. Soon other kids show up and he builds houses for them too, all peculiarly suited to their hobbies – Alice, a bird-lover, for example, gets a fabulous tree house surrounded by birdbaths and feeders, with a balcony just for bird-watching. Eventually the kids’ parents miss them and come to find them – and finally Andrew Henry, now appreciated, is given his own basement workshop at home. For ages 5-9.
 imgres-86 In Gertrude Chandler Warner’s Tree House Mystery (Albert Whitman & Company, 1990), 14th in the Boxcar Children series, the four children acquire a tree house and a spyglass, and discover a mysterious secret room in the house next door. For ages 7-10.
 imgres-87 In Andy Griffiths’s The 13-Story Treehouse (Feiwel and Friends, 2013), Andy and Terry live in the world’s most spectacular tree house – 13 stories of it, complete with bowling alley, shark tank, theatre, secret underground laboratory, and marshmallow machine. Zany adventures, lots of humor, and cartoon illustrations. There’s a sequel: The 26-Story Treehouse. For ages 7-10.
 imgres-88 David Stiles’s How to Build Treehouses, Huts and Forts (Lyons Press, 2003) provides detailed instructions for building an exciting range of kid-friendly structures, among them a lookout tower and (got snow?) an igloo.






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