Amazing wildlife: Five to read


Summer is the perfect time to enjoy new picture books about the wonders of nature – fabulous frogs, playful otters, glowing fireflies on a summer evening, poems about sharks, and remarkable migration of godwit shorebirds on invisible pathways through the sky.


A firefly steps into a flower, and all around, fireflies are flashing on and off. How will she find a mate? In the darkness, she sees a pattern of light and dark, and she sends a pulse of light. He sees her, and with his own light, he calls to her. Extraordinary photos of this miracle of nature.

Fireflies do not appear in summer where we live in California. But one summer, when I was a little girl, we visited family friends in Michigan. And I saw fireflies for the first time. This book captures that magic.

Also by the same authors, Step Gently Out, take a look at sparkling tiny insects, clinging to a single blade of grass or balancing on leaf, a spider in a jeweled web of morning dew, katydid shining with stardust. “In song and dance and stillness, they share the world with you.


Frogs, frogs, frogs, there are more than 5,000 different kinds – huge goliath frogs from western Africa, tiniest frogs in the world that live in Papua New Guinea, frogs that jump 16 ft (5 m), hairy frogs that breathe underwater, bright colored poison arrow frogs, frogs that live underground for years. Irresistible illustrations, even puffy noisy bullfrogs are fabulous.


It’s spring, and baby river otters are just opening their eyes. Emerging from their den, the otter pups chase, leap and tumble. Now it’s time to learn to swim, soon they’re underwater acrobats. At the end of summer, the pups can fish and are almost grown. But when winter comes, they snuggle together in the den, and when spring arrives – they play. Delightful watercolor illustrations capture the fun of river otters.


Poems (and fun facts) about fourteen different kinds of sharks – great white, tiger, wobbegone, blue, frilled, cookie-cutter, bull, nurse, mako, megamouth, goblin, whale, angel, hammerhead.

Blue shark, blue shark,
you dip and dive all day.

Pointy snout, bullet nose,
bold eyes that never close,
graceful as the water flows,
bay to bay to bay.


On the coast of Australia, godwit shorebirds start their long migration north to Alaska, following invisible pathways in the sky, to return to a remembered place. The godwits, make nests, lay eggs, and the chicks grow. When it’s time to go south, the godwits call to each other, and fly more than 7,000 miles without stopping, until they return home. Gorgeous mixed-media collages of this remarkable migration.