Books to Celebrate World Animal Day!


Disclosure: I was sent copy of these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Did you know today (October 4th) is World Animal Day? It is celebrate annually on October 4th which is also the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals. I know our church always has a blessing of the pets day around October 4th to honor St. Francis. The idea behind World Animal Day is to work for increasing the status of animals and helping keep them from becoming endangered and/or extinct. (Source and more information on World Animal Day.) Hazel is a big animal lover and especially loved learning about animals when she was younger. She was a huge Wild Kratts fan. Over the years we have shared many animal themed crafts, books and activities. Today we are going to share two more animal-themed books in celebration of World Animal Day. The first is a book I wish was around when Hazel was younger. It is Howl Like a Wolf! by Kathleen Yale and illustrated by Kaley McKean. 

From the Publisher:

  • 2018 INDIES Winner Gold, Juvenile Nonfiction (Children's)
  • Gold Mom's Choice Award Winner
  • 2019 National Parenting Product Awards Winner
  • Creative Child Magazine Book of the Year Award Winner
  • Honor Book for the 2018 Montana Book Awards
  • Nautilus Book Awards Gold Winner

What does it feel like to “see” with your ears like a bat or go through a full body transformation like a frog? Can you wriggle in and out of tight places like an octopus, camouflage yourself like a leopard, or do a waggle dance like a honeybee? This creative and beautifully illustrated interactive guide makes learning about animals fun for children ages 6 and up. Fifteen animals explain their amazing feats and invite kids to enter their world by mimicking their behavior — an imaginative approach to learning that fosters curiosity, empathy, and dramatic play.

From Me:

This book is fun and beautiful. It starts by sharing information about the animal and then it goes into activities for the kids to try to act like the animal. Finally in the back of the book are pop-out pieces to create a mask of each animal. This book educates and then gives them dramatic play time to truly learn about the animals. In many ways it relates to the Wild Kratts with how they study the animal and then become the animal to learn more with their special power suits. Although the kids will not become the animal they will learn behaviors and be able to mimic the animals. 

I envision a class acting like wolves as a pack. The activities include marking territory, following a leader, communicating like wolves, and howling. 

Now the book shares about other animals besides wolves. It offers the kids to slide like a penguin, keep cool like an elephant, see like a bat, squeeze like an octopus, rattle like a rattlesnake, build like a bowerbird, sneak like a leopard, sing like a humpback whale, dance like a honeybee, joke like a raven, spray like a skunk, and leap like a frog. As you can see each animal has actions and more for the kids to learn about and mimic. In the back of the book there are parts to make eleven masks. There are not masks for the octopus or humpback whale. However there is a link in the book that provides downloadable animal masks of the eleven provided and a deer and a beaver. Some of the animal masks just need elastic string put through the holes and others need to be pieced together, like this bat mask.

All of the masks have eye holes that are not necessarily the eyes of the animal. The ones that need to be pieced together have slits to slide the pieces in. You can see the bat pieces are color coded with the small dots so the ears will be going the correct way. The masks in the book are more of a cardstock weight and are just adorable! 

I love that this book provides great information about the animal and activities (as well as the masks) for kids to act like the animal. Hazel would have loved this when she was younger. The book is recommended for ages 6+ but I would say you could read it to younger kids and have them try out the different actions! This is a great book for Halloween as well as just studying animals or for fun!

Our second book is from National Geographic Kids. Therefore it is full of photographs and fun animal facts! It is The Ultimate Book of African Animals by Dereck Joubert and Beverly Joubert with Suzanne Zimbler. It is recommended for ages 8 to 12.

From the Publisher:

Join this amazing team to learn all about Africa's unique wildlife, including lions, elephants, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, hippos, gorillas, rhinos, and so many more!

With so many species showcased, this book leaves no grain of sand unturned and no jungle unexplored! Inside you'll find animals of all behaviors, shapes and sizes, from the tiny bombardier beetle to the sneaky desert viper to mischievous monkeys and elusive Ethiopian wolves.

Brimming with breathtaking and iconic National Geographic photographs on every page and loads of fascinating animal facts, readers discover how these animals live and eat, the challenges they face, and how to help protect them.

From Me: 

It is from National Geographic Kids so it is fun, full of information and lots of photographs. I love how Beverly and Dereck share their own experiences with the animals throughout the book. The book has eight chapters: Spotted on Safari, Built to Survive, Unlikely Allies and Bitter Enemies, Animal Mysteries, Animal Myths Busted!, Animal Ancestors, Super Creatures and Saving Species. The first chapter covers elephants, zebras, rhinos, hippos, antelope, buffalo, giraffes, lions, leopards, cheetahs and gorillas with a few others mixed in. The second chapter goes into more about Africa and the eco-systems there and how the animals are built to survive in them.

The third chapter shares how some animals help one another and how others are bitter enemies. The fourth chapter goes into more of the why and how of some of the animals special parts like why the giraffe's necks are so long and why zebras have stripes. 

The book is full of information and stories. The fifth chapter goes into some of the incorrect or wrong reputations animals have and tells us more about their behavior. It includes information about sizes as well and gives kids something from their everyday life to compare the animal size to. Chapter six goes into the prehistoric animals and compares them to today's animals. 

The seventh chapter is the award chapter. It tells us things like the most massive animal and the gutsiest animal as well as the runner ups. It is packed full with fun information and photographs. The final chapter is really what World Animal Day is all about. It is about what is being done and what we can do to save the animals on our planet. 

This book is perfect for any animal lover and especially for those middle grade readers. It is fun and informative. It is also a great addition to studies of Africa and animals. I hope you will check both books out!