STEM Friday #Kidlit Animal Families

This month we are exploring some of the fantastic nonfiction children’s books that have been nominated for 2018 Cybils awards.

‘Tis the season for family gatherings, so what better time to sit down with a child and read a book or two about animal families.

For the first book, Fur, Feather, Fin―All of Us Are Kin by Diane Lang and illustrated by Stephanie Laberis animal “families” are what are mostly defined as “classes” in the traditional scientific way:  mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish. Arthropods are also included, which are a phylum. It  is a basic introduction to animal classification.

  The rhyming text is likely to engage the younger readers in the targeted age range.

“All animals on Earth are kin,
while not the same outside or in.
Some we stroke with loving hand;
some we don’t yet understand.”

A few scientific vocabulary words (metamorphosis, oxygen, detritivore) are included.

The illustrations by Stephanie Laberis are just the right amount of vibrant and fun. They are filled with color, action, and excitement, as you can see from the swirling animals on the cover.

To compensate for all the many, many families of animals that are not discussed — understandable because of space constraints — towards the end Lang discusses two catchall ecosystems:  underwater and detritivores. Personally, I’m not sure how well that works because those are ecological rather than classification groupings. Fish live underwater, which makes two underwater “families” Plus, many detritivores are arthropods, another “family.” The overlap creates confusion.

The back matter explains further, plus gives concrete ways the readers can help animals.

Fur, Feather, Fin―All of Us Are Kin will delight budding scientists and animal lovers. It might also make a good “entrance book” to entice less-interested readers to want to find out more. Try out a copy today!

Activity Suggestion:

Hands-on classification activities at Growing With Science blog

Age Range: 3 – 8 years
Publisher: Beach Lane Books (May 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1481447092
ISBN-13: 978-1481447096

The families in Meet My Family!: Animal Babies and Their Families by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman reflect all the different groupings of parents and offspring found in nature.

In some animal families, both the mother and the father take care of the youngsters. In others, like sea turtles, the babies never meet their parents. Some offspring look like miniature versions of their parents, and some don’t resemble each other at all. Discover all the unique ways families are made up.

Throughout the text, Laura Purdie Salas injects words for mother and father in different languages, so it sounds as if the animals are speaking. If you are going to read this book aloud, I strongly recommend heading to the back matter and practicing the pronunciations in the glossary. While you are in the back matter, check out the awesome section on where these animals live.

Meet My Family!: Animal Babies and Their Families is not only a discussion of diversity in families that is likely to sooth youngsters who might be feeling their family is too “different,” but also a great introduction to a variety of cool animals.

Previously reviewed at the older Stem Friday site by both Sue Heavenrich and Anastasia Suen.

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 3
Lexile Measure: 550 (What’s this?)
Library Binding: 32 pages
Publisher: Millbrook Pr (March 1, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 151242532X
ISBN-13: 978-1512425321


Disclosure: These books were provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.Opens in a new window Note: this is a new link as of 10/2018.