– Good Kids’ Books About Animals

Elephant Journey: The True Story of Three Zoo Elephants and Their Rescue from Captivity

Rob Laidlaw, illustrations by Brian Deines
Pajama Press, 2015, 40 pages, ISBN: 9781927485774, ages 5+

A heartwarming nature adventure for children, Elephant Journey: The True Story of Three Zoo Elephants and their Rescue from Captivity chronicles the steps in relocating the last three surviving elephants at the Toronto Zoo to their more appropriate home at the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary in California.

Rob Laidlaw, author and founder of Zoocheck, has written an entertaining account of this journey for young children where he shows how the less than an acre enclosure, with Canadian winters, was nothing like the native African home the animals should be enjoying.

After considerable work and effort by many people, the three elephants – Toka, Thika and Iringa – were transported to a much more suitable and healthier place. The PAWS sanctuary boasts “eighty acres of natural land” where the animals can explore “hills, trees, streams, and grasslands” compared to the “barely one acre of mostly barren ground” in Toronto the animals were forced to endure for years.

At the end of the inspirational story the author has included information about elephants and the dramatic events that resulted in their rescue and better life at the PAWS sanctuary.

Complemented with excellent illustrations by Brian Deines and photographs, Elephant Journey is an important book, with an important message, that parents, teachers and other educators would be wise to share with their children.

Bird Watching for Kids: Bite-Sized Learning & Backyard Projects

George H. Harrison

Willow Creek Press, 2015, 80 pages, ISBN: 9781623438500, ages 8+

It is important to get children involved in nature and bird watching can be a fun and educational activity. In “A Message to Adults” at the beginning of the book the author states, “By involving children in efforts to make their backyards more attractive to wild birds, adults open a door of opportunity for their children to a greater understanding of our environment and a deeper love of nature – its beauty, drama, and wonder.”

The first chapter, “Birds Are Cool”, looks at what amazing animals birds are and how you can invite them to your backyard. Chapter two looks at various “backyard birds” including the Northern Cardinal, Dark-eyed Junco, Black-capped Chickadee, Song Sparrow, Mourning Dove and many others.

The third chapter, “Planting for Birds”, shows how you can make a backyard habitat for birds beginning with drawing a plan. Food trees for birds and a list of their “favourite plants” is also included.

Other information found in the book includes setting up, and stocking, various kinds of feeders. There is also a good list of 22 birds and their favourite foods. There is even a chapter on building houses for various birds. Watering, photographing and solving bird problems is also addressed.

Bird Watching for Kids is an informative book for learning about our feathered neighbours and how we can give them a helping hand.

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