I brought home two picture books about the marvels of nature from the library because they were beautiful to look at. I took some photos for you to take a peek inside. These books appeal to lovers of nature and art. They will also make a wonderful addition to your homeschool science curriculum.
Wonders of Nature: Explorations In the World Of Birds, Insects and Fish by Florence Guiraud is a big, beautiful book, jumbo-size 11 by 14 ½ inches, which truly explores the beauty of nature in art. Instead of presenting each species separately on a page, the author/illustrator populates the huge spreads of her book with the glorious variety of each genus. The bird section includes two-page paintings titled Beautiful Plumage, Useful Beaks, Long Necks, Claws and More, Night Owls, etc.. Each section is preceded by a one-page introduction to the genus. The author marvels at the characters and special abilities of the different species of birds and weaves language and art into her observations: “I counted more than one hundred verbs used to describe birdsong.” ( the book is translated from French!) Each section concludes with a “Random Directory” with some truly random but always fascinating facts about each species. For example:”The Egg: During the first years of its life, a chicken lays an average of 300 eggs a year. And contrary to what is believed, the shell’s coloration does not depend on what the bird eats, but on its breed.”
This not an organized scientific textbook. It is very much like a visit to a museum in book form – quite wonderful. Recommended for grades K to 4.
A note for parents: This is a secular book mentioning evolution without giving credit to God, the Creator of all this wonderful variety of species. Just point this out to your kids. Here is a link to Catholic Answers concerning Evolution. The linked post is from the 1902 version of the Catholic Encyclopedia and quite fascinating to read. The site also has more up-to-date information.
Whose Egg? A Lift-the-Flap Book by Lynette Evans, illustrated by Guy Troughton, presents another opportunity to marvel at the beauty of nature. This book concentrates on eggs. Not as large as the Wonders of Nature book, this is still a good-sized picture book, 10 ½ inches square. Each spread introduces a different egg or nest of eggs covered by large flaps which small children will love to open to discover the hatchling. There are a representatives of all imaginable species hatching from eggs, from emu to platypus. Each hatchling introduces itself in a riddle verse on the left side of each spread. Kids can test their knowledge by guessing the animal before opening the flap – the patient ones among them... I took this book home from the library because the beautiful water color illustrations caught my attention. The variety of color, texture and shape of the eggs Our Lord created is a marvel to behold.
Recommended for pre-schoolers and beginning readers.
These two books make great birthday, Easter or Christmas gifts!
Glory to God in All Things (St. John Chrysostom)!