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Favorite Preschool-Aged Books about Nature --Matt? Anyone?  RSS feed

 
Nicole Alderman
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My little guy will soon be two, and I was wondering what your favorite books to share with your preschool age children that teach about nature, seasons, permaculture, gardening, etc? I'd like books that are more accurate than not. That's not to say they need to be non-fiction, just that they have accurate depictions of animals (for example, it drove me nuts that the Hungry Caterpillar eats a bunch of things that caterpillars don't eat).

To start off with, "Planting the Rainbow" by Lois Ehlert is one book that I remember from my teaching days that I really liked. It's not permaculture, necessarily, but I really liked how it gave colorful depictions of various actual flowers. One could easily research which of these are medicinal and edible and help your child plant their own rainbow garden!



I'll keep racking my brain to remember good books from my preschool teaching days, and I'd love to hear your own favorite books!
 
Roberta Wilkinson
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I had this book as a child, and now my son enjoys it too. I like the detailed, realistic illustrations.



There's a "look inside" option on the Amazon listing: http://www.amazon.com/All-About-Seeds-Now-Know/dp/089375658X
 
David Livingston
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The Very Hungry catapiller
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Very_Hungry_Caterpillar

A winner

David
 
Michael Cooley
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The Willy Whitefeather series are fantastic.
 
Meghan Andrus
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The Story of the Root Children by Sibylle Von Olfers is timeless, gentle, beautiful. It reads with a rhythm of seasons. A few art projects have sprung from this book in my home (beeswax form of root children, making "Root Children Dresses". My Nine year old still tunes in when I am reading it too my five year old, so you can also get some mileage out of this one. I believe I found it through searching Waldorf books for young children, so there's another avenue for you! Enjoy!
images-1.jpeg
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http://www.google.com/url?q=http://50watts.com/When-the-root-children-wake-up&sa=U&ved=0CCQQwW4wAWoVChMI5dyMzNWcyAIVRyqICh3jGQHt&sig2=lvu3TBeZMUr5sz3DzfuAYg&usg=AFQjCNELL-DHsTxymiIEDctsF83ftTGdpQ
 
Matt Powers
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Love all the suggestions!

I felt that there were not really any ecologically sound books in my collection growing up and we've been seeking them for a few years. I cannot recall any; that's why I started writing them.

I wrote the Magic Beans to be a pre-school age level book:
https://www.facebook.com/themagicbeansbook

My wife's sister painted it in only fruit & vegetable juices which I thought was brilliant!

SideNote: I used the Lorax's flaws to teach critical thinking & essay writing & even made the lesson public (it's near 30,000 views):
http://www.slideshare.net/mattpowersenglish/an-essay-example-the-lorax

Another sidenote: I never liked the Hungry Caterpillar because the white backdrop. I always preferred detail.

I also have another book we are doing based on a real food forest that geoff lawton found in Morocco called The Forgotten Food Forest:
https://www.facebook.com/theforgottenfoodforest

 
Burra Maluca
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The Adventures of Pip by Enid Blyton was awesome, but probably only applicable in the UK.

I'm pretty sure I still have a copy somewhere but I can't seem to find it. I'll do a write up when I find it.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Meghan Andrus wrote:
The Story of the Root Children by Sibylle Von Olfers is timeless, gentle, beautiful. It reads with a rhythm of seasons. A few art projects have sprung from this book in my home (beeswax form of root children, making "Root Children Dresses". My Nine year old still tunes in when I am reading it too my five year old, so you can also get some mileage out of this one. I believe I found it through searching Waldorf books for young children, so there's another avenue for you! Enjoy!


Ooooh, these books are beautiful. They remind me of the Grnomes book by Wil Huygen (not really for preschoolers at all, but I loved reading it as an elementary aged kid).

Thinking of beautiful books in nature, I remembered reading when I taught preschool Blueberries for Sal. It's a lovely book in which a mother and daughter go picking blackberries, at the same time that a mamma bear and her cub are picking blackberries. Not so much a book about gardening as one about wild crafting, preserving the harvest, and harmony with nature.



Love everyone's ideas! Keep 'um coming!
 
Nicole Alderman
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Burra Maluca wrote:The Adventures of Pip by Enid Blyton was awesome, but probably only applicable in the UK.

I'm pretty sure I still have a copy somewhere but I can't seem to find it. I'll do a write up when I find it.


Oooooh, reading the descriptions online, this seems like one fantastic book to feed the imagination. I see a lot of different editions out there, and it looks like I can even get some of them here. I do wonder, though, which editions have the best illustrations--or do they all have the same illustrations but different covers? "Looking Inside" via amazon shows it to be a more text-heavy book, better for older preschoolers. Definetly a book to put on my wish list for when my son gets older!
 
Burra Maluca
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Nicole Alderman wrote: I see a lot of different editions out there, and it looks like I can even get some of them here. I do wonder, though, which editions have the best illustrations--or do they all have the same illustrations but different covers?


I still can't find the book (I have a lot in storage, so it could be anywhere), but I would think that they all have the same illustrations. It's a book to fire the imagination with words, not pictures. I dug out the school records and it seems that I used this book when Alan was six as his reading book. Each story was three pages, with one illustration, if memory serves me right.

Oooh - I've just seen there's a kindle version and you can read the first few stories in the 'look inside' feature. They are shorter than I remember - there must have been fewer words on each page than I thought!

I'd recommend going and reading the first one, where Pip breaks Aunt Twinkle's sugar basin and goes out to scrape glue off the buds of the chestnut tree to stick it back together. Which is why I grew up squeezing chestnuts buds, just to check if they really were sticky. They are! And look where it led me... The second story Pip paints black bibs onto the cock sparrows so they don't get mixed up on valentines day - he only had matt black so he couldn't do the glossy coats like the cock blackbird, or the pink for the cock chaffinch.

 
Burra Maluca
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Found it (well, Alan did...) - I've made a thread about it and will review it later. I'd love to hear from other parents who have used it with their kids - The Adventures of Pip

 
Emilie Thomas-Anderson
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I really like When the Wind Stops, by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Stefano Vitale. Sweet little story about the cyclical nature of life and energy and matter, and the illustrations are gorgeous!
 
Meghan Andrus
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Blueberries for Sale is a fun one. Do the berries "plip" or "plop" into the bucket? Whatever it was its was a great time for the young young ones!
 
William Bronson
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Never too early for Spiders and Their Kin. I still love that golden guide!
 
J Argyle
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1. Miss Maple's Seeds By: Eliza Wheeler
2. Seasons by: Blexbolex
3. National Geographic- book of mammals
4. Rainbow Stew By: Cathryn Falwell ( garden book)
5. The Little Island: By Margaret Wise Brown
6. Oak Tree Grows BY: G Brian Karas
7. The raft By:Jim lemarche
8. On Meadowview street By:
Henry Cole
9. Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons By: Jon J Muth (This by far is my favorite one. You should also check other books by John J Muth. He illustrated city dog and country frog.)
10. City Dog and country Frog by: Mo Willems

 
Nicole Alderman
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Loving all the suggestions! Looking up these books on amazon also opens my eyes to the other books these authors have written.

For instance, I didn't know that there's a sequel to "Blueberries for Sal," called "One Morning in Main" where a older Sal goes clamming along the seashore, and loses her tooth. I haven't read it yet, but I've added it to my book list!



I also looked up "When the Wind Stops," by Charlotte Zolotow and saw that she has written many other books. One of them, "Over and Over" follows a girl as she realizes her memories of plants and holidays correlate with the seasons and what order they occur. I also haven't read it yet, but I want to!



Now I need to go take a peek at J Argyle's books!
 
Nicole Alderman
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Burra Maluca wrote:Found it (well, Alan did...) - I've made a thread about it and will review it later. I'd love to hear from other parents who have used it with their kids - The Adventures of Pip



Thank you, Burra, for the info and review about Pip! I loved reading the snippet you posted in your review (though my poor husband did not approve of my attempts at a British accent for Pip and those he encounters). I love the descriptions, the fantasy and the wonder in the book. Now to attain a copy...and improve my British accent!
 
Nicole Alderman
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I just remembered another book that should be on this list: "The Giving Tree"!



This book always brings my husband and I to tears. It so beautifully illustrates all that nature can give: Apple to eat, branches to climb, leaves to play with, shade rest in, and all the joy that can be had by appreciating those things...as well as how easily we can distort those gifts and destroy that joy.

My son is not yet two, and he loves to read the book. He doesn't understand why Mamma and Dadda are sad when we read it--he loves watching the little boy "get bigger" and is fascinated by all the fun things the boy can do in the apple tree.

This is truly a book that grows with you, and continues to make it's mark even as we grow older.
 
Erica Wisner
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I second the recommendation for "Blueberries for Sal" - a classic book that doesn't preach nature connection, just lives it. A great kids' story with sound-effects, based on an ordinary day foraging berries.
(Although a somewhat terrifying one for both of the mothers involved.)

The illustrations are realistic line art, beautiful book.
I remember particularly enjoying it as a kid, which speaks well too.

I think the Lorax, Hungry Caterpillar, etc. use "nature" as a cartoon category of objects and symbols. One is preachy, the other is cute and funny but has no particular accuracy (except the numbers come in order). I think it's fine to enjoy both, but I don't thing either does much for a pre-schooler's sense of connection to nature.

At this pre-school age, you're learning really basic stuff about nature.
Like, that things are alive. That they can be hurt, or die. That some are good to eat, some are not, and some are very bad to eat or to touch.
You are learning your body, including how to pee and avoid peeing yourself, eating on command instead of on demand, getting your shoes on the right feet, walking, running, picking things up, discovering friends and feelings and words.
Or just lying in someone's arms, or in a stroller, staring up at the light through the leaves if you're lucky.

One of the big goals in introducing a love of nature at this point is to encourage opportunities to fall in love. Gaze. Taste. Develop secret friendships.
If you introduce difficult moral issues about nature preservation, and the Original Sin of human despoilation of nature, it's kinda like teaching a pre-schooler all about sexual abuse before they know anything of love.
Basic lessons are necessary (if anyone talks or touches you in a way that makes you feel bad, tell a grown-up). But outside of that, we work to build trust, intimacy, and a strong sense of identity, rather than live in terror of the worst possible outcome. To teach a toddler to fear hugs instead of pedophiles can create lifelong difficulties in not just affection, but basic bodily and mental functions.

The corollary for nature might be: This is not the right age to preach about extinction or industrial pollution, especially to a kid who doesn't even have an allowance to spend and is powerless to make its own choices about whether to drive or bike, whether to buy leather or plastic, etc.
It's a very reasonable age to begin learning that things can die; I sometimes point out that I don't like to kill things unless I'm going to eat them, or they are going to eat me. So we try not to step on or squoosh anything that's just minding its own business.
If you get too deep into difficult, complex problems without a good solution, you can create nature aversion, where kids just feel anxious and guilty about everything whenever they venture off the beaten path outside, and end up playing little nature-based video games (or just indulging in urban hobbies) because it's more comfortable. This is the opposite of solid nature connection.

So as an educator: I look for books that
- instill love and fascination, with emotional relatability, beauty, and a little humor or drama
- that kids love to read (funny sounds, good word choices, surprises),
- that encourage kids and their families to spend time together honing those habits of observation and open-mindedness.

You're also learning basic human symbols and language, including numbers and starting to read words, to prepare for deeper studies in school or home-schooling.

For counting and observation, I'd suggest "Anno's Counting Book" which has no words - you just look at each page and look for new things in the picture, which usually come in sets of the number you're learning on that page. Goes through all the seasons, in a northern/New England sort of climate.
http://www.amazon.com/Annos-Counting-Book-ANNOS-COUNTING/dp/B001T3MTEW

One of the funniest and most realistic books about animals I encountered as a child was "Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm." It may be out of print, but worth grabbing if you can find it.
Instead of telling you what animals "say," it goes into real farm tips like "Cows LEAN. They lean down fences. They lean down trees...." There are goats and cats with distinct personalities, flocks of mean geese, etc.
It is a farmer's book about farm animals, while still being very animal-friendly and city-kid-friendly (they don't go into butchering or gore, but don't pretend animals live forever either).
http://www.amazon.com/Animal-Friends-Maple-Hill-Farm/dp/0689844999

I also loved the Laura Engalls Wilder books, including "Farmer Boy;" the stories are good enough to read chapter by chapter to younger kids, and the language is well designed for older kids to read for themselves. Lots of older farm technology is described, lots of tiny house styles, lots of North American climates and farming and pioneer work from New York to the Dakotas. The attitude toward animals (and Indians) is not always PC, but accurate and well-meaning for the era the books describe. (The main characters are generally not bigots, but they do encounter bigots among their neighbors, and they do have some scary encounters with a few strangers but things generally end well.)

Folk tales:
There are some wonderfully illustrated folk tale and fairy tale books, with detailed observations of nature, and with regional native art styles that are equally interesting to me.
I think folk tales are a huge cultural resource, conveying allegorically and through their patterns a deep sense of how cultures work, values and humor, the wide range of human motivations and personalities. I like the older ones that don't shrink from bad things happening to good people, but that usually end with worse things happening to the bad ones. And while I'm sometimes puzzled by them, I love reading tales from other cultures where the moral lessons are not always the ones I'd expect.

I would suggest looking for two things in particular for suitable nature-connection stories for raising particular children:
1) Folk and historic adventure tales from your own ancestors, that fit with your family's culture and values, and
2) Folk tales from the ancestral peoples who lived in your region, neighboring regions, and in similar climates worldwide.

For my inland Northwest climate, for example, my attention would perk up to see the Okanogan-Colville tribes mentioned in any collection of folk tales, or more broadly the Northwest tribes both inland and coastal.
Comparing my climate to others worldwide, I would be delighted to find folk tales from inland climates like Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Poland and Russia, where adventures might feel exotic yet teach lessons relevant to our long-term sustainability here. (Snow, cold, drought, navigating forests, shrub-steppe, and rocky terrain, issues between valley farmers and hill people).

And I will maintain ties with American pioneer stories, Canadian legends, English and Scottish and Irish and French and German and Dutch fairy tales, that speak to my family's path through the world and the lessons that have helped us survive and become who we are.

Finally:
One of the most fun nature books for kids can be made by and with the kids.
Get some brown paper or whatever. (Ordinary white office paper is fine, but plain newsprint or brown paper works great and may be cheaper and more compostable in quantity. You can also use the recycled backs of paper or cardstock printed only on one side.)
Get something for a cover - I like felt with some fancy writing on it in puff-paint or stitching, but a couple layers of brown paper does just fine. Staple or stitch the pages together with the cover on. Write "My Nature Journal" or "Book of the Flower Hours" or "Clues from the Yard" or something like that. Each child's name can go on the cover too, if the covers are identical, or inside.
Get some shipping tape or clear Con-Tac paper if you can tolerate the plasticity, and want this to go quickly. If you have the patience, you can use very thin tissue paper, parchment, or wax paper, with wheat paste or white/bone glue, or fabric netting, but you will have to help more with the process. (Also, if you want to re-use the flowers for crafts, go with the tissue or wax-paper approach rather than tape, to better preserve the flowers; and target plentiful flowers where you can pick a lot extra, as they will become delicate and hard to handle.)

Go out and collect leaves, ferns, flowers. Press them onto the page and flatten them. Use the tape to completely cover them and hold them flat against the page.
Use just one side of each page, so the plant juices can dry out through the un-taped paper at the back.
On returning from the walk, press the whole book while the plan samples dry: put it on a flat shelf with a big dictionary on top, or slide it into a full bookshelf and then jam one more book in somewhere else.

Make a collection when you go to see new places, or in different seasons. Make spore prints from mushrooms, by letting the mushroom rest gills-down on the page overnight. (Color half the page black first for a better sense of what color the spores are; it's not just pretty, it helps with mushroom ID later on). Practice picking things carefully; removing the flower or leaf does little harm if carefully pinched or cut, but some plants are very sensitive to having their stems or roots pulled. A tiny leaf tip or tuft of moss can be more beautiful.

You can use these specimen journals to help find botanical ID's for plants, looking up their traits, or you can add little pictures of what you saw near them (bees, animals, waterfalls), or you can put in fairies and other fantasy elements and make it into a story book. You can also try making better and better-preserved beautiful examples, and turn them into nature-based gift cards for special occasions, or decorate cakes with the edible ones, etc. You can make leaf-rubbings on the underside (rib side) of any stout leaves in the book, or draw in other observations like landscapes, animal tracks, etc. and use them as a background for specimens collected nearby.

Mmmmm outdoor pre-school.

Another fun element that can be used in making nature-based books: Making paint by grinding things up and mixing them with glue or paste. The grinding-things-up process seems to be absolutely fascinating to many kids this age.
We used red bricks, charcoal, white clay, but you could also do turmeric, spinach leaves, beets, anything with strong color that stains badly. Plum-colored petunias and some other flowers and fruits (Burgundy Madness or similar shades for the petunias) make color-changing inks that will be bluish on alkaline-bleached paper, red on acid-process, and can change color if you paint them with lemon juice or squirt with clear ammonia (window cleaner).
I might suggest painting the cover, which could then be tape-laminated or shellacked with more glue, since these paints can be a little too coarse and messy for detailed drawing.

If you happen to have a Trackers, Montessori, or Waldorf preschool near you that does outdoor pre-school play, it's worth stopping by just to watch. A really good educator in this sphere can do amazing things with kids, including making games out of just about anything. I tended to be pretty high-energy when I did it, but I've also loved watching the calmer, soothing approach, particularly Waldorf with their songs and rituals that put the kids in a comfortable zone for relaxed, focused attention. The ritual of the bedtime story is a classic example of this kind of excellent patterning, the kids can pick the story but the pattern remains constant, and helps soothe busy bodies and minds into restful sleep.

-Erica
 
Nicole Alderman
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Erica Wisner wrote:
So as an educator: I look for books that
- instill love and fascination, with emotional relatability, beauty, and a little humor or drama
- that kids love to read (funny sounds, good word choices, surprises),
- that encourage kids and their families to spend time together honing those habits of observation and open-mindedness.


Amen to this, and especially to number two, and I think it is often undervalued. I love to read out loud, and I love to read books that are fun to read to children, and that the kids love to listen to. When I worked in preschool, I often was often the one caring for the kids when they were waiting to be picked up and had been there for 6-9 hours already. My favorite books are ones that would capture a group of 20 restless kids' imagination at the end of a long day.

These books are so often--at least for me--folk tales, fairy tales and fables. Like you mentioned, many do a fantastic job of depicting natural flora. And, there's a reason these stories have been passed on over the course of hundreds of years. They are stories honed by years of retelling. I really wish I had access to more of them. And, you're right about how the "moral" of the story is not always ones that we would expect. This is so very often the case with the "Trickster" tales, but they are some of most enjoyable for children to read: Bruh Rabbit (http://www.amazon.com/Bruh-Rabbit-And-Baby-Girl/dp/059047376X), Anansi (http://www.amazon.com/Anansi-Talking-Melon-Eric-Kimmel/dp/0823411672/), Guinea Pig (http://www.amazon.com/Love-Roast-Chicken-Trickster-Mountains/dp/1575056577), Coyote (http://www.amazon.com/Coyote-Steals-Blanket-Tale-Tales/dp/082341129X/). Those are some of the trickster tales I ran across while teaching that the children really loved.

I would really love if you could list some of your favorite fables and tales, especially of the Salish people and nothern European people. I would love to find more tales to read to my son--and to enjoy myself. I read quite a few coyote and other Salish tales in college, but none were in picture book format. (For some reason, no one has illustrated Coyote and his summoning of his "excrement children," though I'm sure many preschoolers would love it!)

Anyway, I've gotten a bit off topic here, but I would love more stories to read, escpecially of my current area and my own heritage!
 
gava gaia
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The Salamander Room is a very interesting picture book. A child finds a salamander and wants to bring it home & put it in the bedroom. The mother does a thought experiment with the child: how would the bedroom need to be transformed to make the right kind of home for the salamander? Each step of the transformation is illustrated.

Paddle-to-the-Sea is about interconnected water systems, from the perspective of a toy canoe carved by a First Nations boy. The canoe is launched in the Pacific Northwest, and ends up at the Atlantic Ocean.

Everyone Poops is also valuable... though it's written from a toilet culture rather than a humanure culture, it sets up a good discussion of poop, from insects to elephants. Many of the reviewers use it to talk about toilet training with their little ones; I never did this. I saw it as just a fun book about poop.










 
Stephanie Ladd
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The Big Snow is an accurate description of what the native animals to North America do when the snow comes and in the end there is 2 little old people that feed the animals when they are hungry. One of my faves to read to the kiddos.

There's a lot of really good stories in Waldorf education that are nature related. I've found a lot of the old ones have a lot of European ecology in them, but some don't. And I always like mixing up verbal stories without pictures as well and with them. I also alway like to tell stories that I make up as I go. A story about what bees do, a story about the returning birds after a long winter.... Kids will listen to whatever you have to say at 2.

 
Ghislaine de Lessines
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My own amusement at having played "Miss Rumphius" on my own property led me to find this thread to add it as a book to be considered. Lupines are a great permaculture plant that I think this book is a cute introduction for.

I happen to have it on hand because I just read it to my Daisy Girl Scouts to talk about how we can improve our world.
14629770399891417606454.jpg
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leila hamaya
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no one yet has mentioned Hope For The Flowers...

an old school favorite =) created around the same time that i was created =)

ooo google showed me where someone has put this book online. ---> http://www.chinadevpeds.com/resources/Hope%20for%20the%20Flowers.pdf
 
john costas
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I must say all the books uploaded are really nice to read.
 
Wynne Kelch
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Great suggestions above! I loved When The Wind Stops; Charlotte Zolotow's books are really thoughtful. And we read McCloskey often.

To add to the list, I highly recommend The Curious Garden by Peter Brown. It's a newer book about people's love of gardening and connection with plants, with a great permie note about weeds as pioneers rehabbing lifeless spaces (an old, elevated railway track). It's based on the true story of the Highline park in NYC, which you can visit.

For even younger kids, we loved Potato Joe by Keith Baker (not that profound but Really catchy); Baker's Little Green, with a caterpillar to find on each page; and A Good Day by Kevin Henkes. Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg has a great message about finding creative uses for the things around you, even if you initially see them as mistakes. We also really liked Maple Syrup Season by Ann Purmell and, later, Life Story by Virginia Lee Burton.
 
Sally Munoz
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A nightly read when my youngest was little was "Little Baa by Kim Lewis. We bought the board book version and Aidan absolutely loved that book. Another all time favorite when my boys were little was "Pelle's New Suit" by Elsa Beskow, written and illustrated nearly 100 years ago in Sweden. It's about a little boy who starts with a little lamb and goes through all the steps of creating a suit from wool. The illustrations are gorgeous and informative and the text is simple. I've collected most of her books (they have been reprinted in English) and while about half are fantasy (we loved The Sun Egg about an orange being dry because a fairy had a sip), they have wonderful illustrations of so many berries and plants, I found them educational as well as enjoyable.
Around the Year is another of her beautiful books describing the seasons with poems by the month.
We loved the Brambly Hedge series by Jill Barklem. They are about mice personified but they do all sorts of wildcrafting and preserving for the winter, they build, they socialize with their community, lots of nature appreciation for sure! And of course the illustrations are precious.
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Sally Munoz
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I didn't mention several that were already suggested, as they were already covered, but I realize I should give a resounding "hear, hear!" to some, as we also love Miss Rumphius! And being named Sally, Blueberries for Sal was extra cherished by me as a child and might even have something to do with my wild blueberry and huckleberry forays, despite my own large blueberry patch at home.
My kids loved the book too, as well as his others, One Morning in Maine and Make Way for Ducklings.
I love that Paddle to the Sea was recommended. When we read that in our homeschool, the boys made a little "Paddle" (paper boy in a canoe) and moved him along his route on a large map on our wall.
Rather above preschool but for later, also definitely check out Holling's books Tree in the Trail, Pagoo, Minn of the Mississippi, Seabird.
 
Phil Williams
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My shameless promotion. I do think it's a good book!

 
Sally Munoz
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That looks awesome Phil! Where is it sold?
 
Angelica Harris
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Location: Statesboro, GA
food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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I'd definitely recommend Over in the Meadow. It helps with counting and is beautifully illustrated. One of my favorite childhood books.

 
Phil Williams
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Sally Munoz wrote:That looks awesome Phil! Where is it sold?


Thanks Sally! Barnes and Noble for the print book. Amazon for the print and e-book.(Amazon has been temporarily out of the print books) Also, if anyone wants a signed copy, I sell print versions on my website for the same price as Amazon. Shipping is free, but I can only do orders to the lower 48.

Barnes and Noble Print Book

Amazon Link to Farmer Phil's Permaculture

My website for signed copies
 
Doug Barth
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My son and really liked this first book:



This second one is also good;

 
Thekla McDaniels
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Also by Barbara Cooney, "Island Boy".

My idea of permaculture and nature and such is that we, humanity are a part of nature, part of the cosmos. Island Boy is about a boy who grows to a man lives a good life, dies. This fits my sense of what children in the wonder stage of life need to be exposed to. Not every one shares my view, and so, be warned. Read it yourself before reading it aloud, just so you know what's coming. I think it is a beautiful story.

Also among my favorites: Hailstones and Halibut Bones. It's an anthology of poems about the characters of the different colors. The Hailstones and Halibut bones are from the poem about white. Red includes the lines: Red is a sunset, blazey and bright. The poems include feelings and experiences attached to the colors. Again, a beautiful book for children developing ideas about the world around them and their place in it.

Also among the books I could not part with that my children and I read together countless times:

Mousehole Cat. It has exquisite art work as well as perspective on animals and people in different stages of their lives, and storms. It has a happy ending, but I still sometimes choke up when I read it aloud, so true so real about community.

Lon Po Po, maybe not so much about "permaculture", but again beautiful art work, and empowerment of children who face a challenge alone and are successful. (It is a Little Red Ridinghood type tale.

I recommend "The Wonder Clock", to read aloud to your children, it's fairy tales written down in 1890 something, and pen and ink drawings by Howard Pyle. I don't think reading children fairy stories with witches and such are detrimental to their development. I believe children understand metaphorical communication, take wickedness and evil to be a part of a human life, and hearing how things work out for the wicked brother and the good brother is satisfying. But again, I realize not everyone shares this point of view.

"Joyful Noise" a book of Poems for Two Voices, is all about insects. It does take two people to read it aloud. As soon as my children were old enough, they LOVED reading this with me, taking their own part.

A combination of author & artist: Byrd Baylor have a number of books with stunning artwork, (spare desertscape in distinctive pen and ink style) Some of the titles are "Everybody Needs a Rock", "The Other Way to Listen", and "I'm in Charge of Celebrations".

There is an anthology "Let's Pretend, Poems of Flight and Fancy" compiled by Natalie S Bober. This one has some great poetry in it, and artwork. It is where I founbd the poem about "red" which I followed to find the collection it was taken from. One of my all time favorite poems even now, I found in this book:

I meant to do my work today --
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand-
So what could I do but laugh and go?

By Richard le Gallienne


 
Thekla McDaniels
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Sorry double clicked I guessed.
 
Gabe Haynes
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My son (recently turned 5) was given The Happiness Tree: Celebrating the Gifts of Trees We Treasure by Andrea Alban Gosline and it's been a big hit. Its slightly new-agey for my tastes, but did have some great tree facts that were new even to me...like did you know that Magnolia trees have been around since before bees?!

Diary of a Fly is kinda fun, though it does present some absurd anthropomorphistic situations along with actual facts about the role of insects in our ecosystem. My kid has returned to this book time and again for a couple years now.
 
Kirk Schonfeldt
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Thanks to everyone for sharing their favorites. I was familiar with several but will have to hunt down many more! One of our favorites that I didn't see mentioned is The Ox Cart Man, a simple tale of simpler times on a small family farm in 19th century New Hampshire through the seasons. It is succinct and beautiful.

Cheers
 
Nicole Alderman
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Ran across a cute series of 13 books about "Herb Fairies." I have not read them all, as I downloaded the first one for free from https://learningherbs.com/herb-fairies/. But, they seem to do a fantastic job of illustrating different uses of herbs, and they do so in a fun and magical way. These books, however, have quite a lot of words compared to pictures (there's a picture on every page, but there's also paragraphs of writing per page, too). So, these are better for the 3-5+ age group, I think (not all three year olds would sit still for it, at that). My son really loved, and supposedly you can also get activity sheets, recipes, plant ID cards, etc. for each of the herbs.



The same company also makes a really cool board game called Wildcraft: An Herbal Adventure Game. We just got it and all really liked it. You--and also your friends--are on a mission to climb the mountain to pick two pails of huckleberries per person. On the way, various troubles befall you. The little "Trouble" cards (such as "Scared" or "Scraped Knee") all have little pictures of herbs that could heal those ailments. Everyone has their own Herb cards (of 26 different herbs), that can be used to heal ones own--or ones friends--ailments. My three year old only made it maybe 1/6th of the way up the map before getting bored...but then he gets bored with Candyland, too. My husband was amazed that he was actually learning the herbs in the process of the game. The board itself is also pretty neat, as you go through various different microclimates (wetlands, forest, orchard, etc) on your way up the mountain, and the herbs growing there are ones that naturally grow there. It really holds the imagination and makes you want to pretend to be on a journey up that mountain. I really like it, and look forward to actually finishing the game sometime when my son has a bit longer of an attention span!

 
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