Living science books questions

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  • amama5

    I have two questions, one is just wondering about your author preferences?  We have Thornton Burgess books, currently are reading the Bird Book and really enjoying it.  I have seen other posts though about Clara Pierson’s Among the ______ Books, and also for Jean-Henry Fabre.  I just wondered if any of you had read all of them and really preferred one over the other?  The Burgess books are much cheaper than the others and I can only get the others through interlibrary loan for one week.  Do Burgess books cover enough or am I missing out by not reading the others?

    My second question:  How many living science books do you read a year?  I don’t really know what an appropriate amount is, my kids beg for more Bird Book.  I also don’t know when to cycle back through them, do you just try to remember to start them again for kiddos coming a couple years behind(my 4 yr old for example doesn’t care for them too much right now, but would I just read them again in 2 years?)

    Thanks so much, Adrienne


    We’ve been reading through Burgess Bird Book this year and that is all.  We also look the bird talked about in the chapter in our Audobon Bird Book and read about it there and the girls color a picture of the bird while I read to them.  They have the Audobon book open to the picture of the bird so they can color it as it should be.


    We love Jean-Henri Fabre. We are currently reading The Storybook of Science by him and the Burgess animal books (Buster Bear, Reddy Fox, Chatterer the Squirrel, etc.).



    What are the ages of your children?  I think what you would choose would depend on this.  The Burgess books (like the Burgess Bird Book) are so good!  I think they are absolute winners, and can be enjoyed by a range of ages.  I think that’s a good place to start.  There are some other “fun” books by Burgess that can be read more quickly if you like.  While the ones Cindie mentions, like Buster Bear, are still fun nature stories, they worked better for us as fun side-reading.  Perhaps you could track some of those down for your children?  I am happy to tell you that these are often available at librarys, Dover prints them for something like $1 apiece, AND they are available free online.

    I love the Pierson books as well.  But I think they are best suited for somewhat younger ages.  I read them to my boys when they were more like 4-6, then read the Burgess books.  These are also available online for free!  So if your kids are older but might still like them, look them up online! 

    We love the Fabre books as well, but they fit for us AFTER the Burgess books.  They are just a little more complicated, ending with some of his insect books that my sons read as teens.  So you can plan now on the Burgess books, and maybe at a later date you can find or plan to purchase Fabre’s.  My 10yo is currently reading The Story Book of Science and loving it.  Also, I found with both my older sons that this particular book was very helpful in motivating them as they began doing written narrations–those early narration attempts were consistently good from this book. 

    We choose a nature book to read relatively slowly–weekly, perhaps, then we often filled in the gaps with the more “fun” books.  I can give you some titles of other fun “fill-in” reads if you like.  Happy nature reading!


    Although I didn’t post the original question, thanks for these ideas – especially what books are best for different age levels.  I found it helpful too. =)   Bookworm, I’d love to know what your other fun “fill-in” books are as well – we have been enjoying some of the Burgess stories right now, but I’d love to have some other ideas as well.




    I was wanting to make some cards of the different animals that I had been reading about in the Burgess Animal book so that the kids and I could place the under the right family, order… and then look through them and reveiw them over time. Before I started to make my own I googled it and found two wonderful resources.

    Burgess Bird Book -> 

    and Burgess Animal Book ->


    OK.  We love some nature books we carried over from another CM list, including books by Ernest Thompson Seton and William J. Long.  Most of our Seton books we read later, upper elementary to early secondary.  The Long books are a little more flexible–some we read about the time of the Burgess books.  We also love nature stories by Sam Campbell–some of his are very appropriate for young readers, and others for older.  I think we got these through Library and Educational Services.  Also books by Neil Wayne Northey, more on the younger side, like about the Burgess-age.  If the author names don’t help, remind me to type in some of the titles, but we are talking about two shelves’ worth of books here, so.  🙂


    We’ve just discovered Jim Arnosky and are loving all of his books.  My son is devouring them.  I can’t check them out of the library fast enough.


    Favorite nature authors in my library, other than the ones mentioned, include:

    Robert McClung (we read Peeper:  First Voice of Spring today because our little spring peeper frogs are coming out!)

    Anna Pistorius

    Dorothy Childs Hogner

    Gladys Conklin

    Alice Crew Gall and Fleming Crew (brother and sister team)



    Thanks for all the great info and links!  Bookworm, my kiddos are 6.5, 5.5, 4, 3, 2.5, 1.5, so obviously I’m only reading to the older two right now:)  My 4 year old does half listen and has learned some things from the Bird Book.  Thanks again for the info, that’s helping me sort things out.

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