There are lots of wonderful books about nature being released at the moment - perhaps it's because we get to spend more time out do...

Picture Books about Nature

Friday, May 24, 2019 BookBairn 2 Comments

There are lots of wonderful books about nature being released at the moment - perhaps it's because we get to spend more time out doors now that the weather is improving! But also it's because in 2015, a group of authors raised concerns over the loss of around 50 words relating to nature and the countryside from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. Whilst the dictionary is updated to reflect word usage, it means the removal of these words more than likely reflects a decreased engagement with the natural environment. So here are six great new books to get you back talking about nature!

The Green Giant by Katie Cottle

If you are looking for a book whose illustrations will literally take your breath away, then you have to get your green fingers on a copy of The Green Giant. It is truly truly spectacular. It tells the story of a young girl, Bea, who is visiting her grandfather in the countryside, far from the big grey city that she lives in. And she finds it rather slow and boring, until she finds a new and unexpected friend in the Green Giant who is hiding away on an old greenhouse. A giant made entirely of plants! The giant opens Bea's eyes to the wonders of nature and the magic of greenery and together they set off on a mission to make the city (and the world) a greener place. This fits with everything I want to share with the bairns about being concerned about our environment but in a way that little children can understand. And the illustrations are so striking - the contrast between the grey city and the greenery is incredibly poignant. It's just beautiful.

A Walk Through Nature by Libby Walden & Clover Robin

It's hard to imagine a book that captures the beauty of nature better than the wonderful images created through the collages of Clover Robin. Her artwork is just sensational. With beautiful intricacy as well as sweeping landscapes it really is a marvel. I love the scenes of the rabbits hopping in the fields, the shells on the seashore and the swallows sailing across the skies. With lyrical accompanying poems as well as facts about how the leaves change colour, migration and baby animals, there really is a lot to treasure in this marvellous book. This beautiful book (in prose and in illustration) addresses that loss of language and will help to bridge the gap by not only sharing all these wonderful words with children but also encouraging an enthusiasm about the natural world. Taking you on a Walk Through Nature, this book is a wonder! Clover's books about birds and bugs are also spectacular! (We reviewed them here.)

Sea by Patricia Hegarty & Britta Teckentrup

If you are a fan of picture books, like us, then you will probably be familiar with the beautiful artwork of Britta Teckentup. Her books are truly spectacular visual wonders (in fact they feature in over twenty blog posts that I have written - here's a favourite!). And it will come as no surprise to you that she has done it again! Her newest in a series of nature books that explore the world around us, Sea, takes you deep beneath the waves explore that beautiful sea! Britta Teckentrup has created a magical world for little readers. It is completely enchanting. Using an intricate collage style, rainbow-hues and luscious colours, she has created a colourful array of sea creatures from tiny seahorses to giant humpback whaled. Every page is delight! The die-cuts throughout the book engage little fingers with exploring the pages. Patricia Hegarty poetically tells the story of the importance of our oceans. In rhyming couplets she brings to life the mesmerising story of the world beneath the waves. Beautiful and Spectacular.

Little Bear's Spring by Elli Woollard & Briony May Smith

Little Bear has just woken up from his long winter sleep. As he gently steps out on to the snow around him the world seems vast and silent. He nestles a little stone into his fur - perhaps he empathises with it seeming lost and alone? - and together they set off on adventure to explore the emerging Spring world and make new friends. Such a lovely lyrical story with some of the most enchanting illustrations we have come across, you will just fall in love with bear. So much so that you'll be reading him all year round - Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter!! Such a breath-taking book with incredible landscapes. Such a joy to read!⠀

The Nature Girls by AKI Delphine Mach

“We’re the Nature Girls! We must explore. We pack our bags, we’re out the door...”

This book is such a delight and brings back lots of memories of reading Madeline as a child with its little girls in straight lines (though not whilst adventuring obviously!) and rhythmic rhyming prose. The bold Nature Girls are ready for whatever nature throws at them. In the sequel to The Weather Girls’, The Nature Girls pack their bags and start their journey exploring all sorts of different natural habitats around the world. From swimming to the depths of the oceans, sailing the seven seas, sledging across the Arctic tundra, camel rides across the desert, climbing trees in the jungle and more, these girls really do explore all that the great outdoors has to offer. Bringing to life all the wonderful corners of the natural world your little ones will want to follow this bright group of girls on their adventures. With stunning illustrations and lots of fun nature facts, this rhyming picture because one that you read over and over again. 

Look and Say at the Seaside by Sebastien Braun

As you know we live very very close to the Seaside so we love books that are set on the shore. And this one is a delight because it's a search and find book (check out more search and find books in this blog post!) and both kids enjoy looking at it together! Along the bottom of each page is a glossary/seek-and-find list and there additional, more challenging questions in the illustration, which makes it perfect for both children as The Wee Page Turner can manage the simple words and BookBairn the more challenging parts. This is great as there's room for growth in this book meaning that your little one won't get bored of it too quickly! But most importantly in this seek-and-find book is that the illustrations are enchanting. Sebastien Braun illustrates the Can You Say It Too? series for the same publisher and we love those books too. I find his style so engaging which is exactly what you want from these sorts of books. The focus on British wildlife is also wonderful for us (it was made in collaboration with the National Trust) as the bairns can relate to the creatures she sees from terns to surfers to mussel shells to limpets and oystercatchers (though some of the ocean wildlife like porpoises and whales are a bit out of our viewfinder - and I hope we don't come across any grass snakes though I remember seeing one in my garden as a child!). So not only can we look together at this book we can take what we have spotted (and learned the words for) and seek-and-find them when out for seaside strolls!

I hope that inspires you to get back to nature, take your books outdoors and go on an explore of your local area! Or to dig out your nature books and create a book spine poem about nature like I did recently.

I've also added a new 'Books about Nature' section to my Amazon shop!

Happy exploring!
Kim and the bairns x

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  1. These books are great. I loved books on nature when I was younger. Much younger! I know that BookBairn and the Wee Page Turner are both fascinated by plants and animals and one of my very favourite activities is to go for a walk with them along the beautiful nature trail and stretch of river near their home.

    1. They love that as much as you do! BookBairn is now fascinated by snails after finding one in your garden!