What is the difference between a jack rabbit and a hare?
What is the difference between a chipmunk and a ground squirrel?
What type of animal might want to eat rabbits, I mean, hares? A jackal? Or a coyote?
I'm a Hare, So There! by Julie Rowen-Zoch moves us into the middle of the week with a fun picture book that also provides curricular tie-ins to biological science for all sorts of topics. Evolution. Predation. Comparison of Traits. Ecological and Community Interactions. And so on.
I envision this book providing an entertaining way to engage kids and get them thinking about ecological relationships, as well as the names that are assigned to different animals, or even different names that are given to the same animal!
When it comes to books written about animal topics, there are so many to choose from--especially when it comes to pairing titles in the classroom. Below, I offer a few that can provide bridges into a variety of subjects.
Whole Whale by Karen Yin and illustrated by Nelleke Verhoeff is a rhyming story that features inclusion and mathematics given that there are 100 animals to count by the end of the story! For an extra exploratory game, children may enjoy seeing how many habitats are represented among the animals. How could the animals be sorted? Big vs small? Dryland vs Wetland? Hot region vs cold? And what about that whale? Will they be able to predict how that big, big whale will fit on the page with the rest of them?
Jet the Cat (Is Not a Cat) written by Phaea Crede and illustrated by Terry Runyan is a book that offers a twist to the theme of identity and naming labels that is offered in I'm a Hare, So There!
Jet the Cat explores expectations and what makes Jet like other animals, but also . . . what makes Jet different . . . and unique.
Lastly, I offer the pair of books written and illustrated by Cassandra Federman: This is a Sea Cow and This is a Sea Horse. In reading these stories, children will laugh at the comparisons between manatees and cows, and between sea horses and land horses, respectively. Enjoy!