Tag Archives: flying eye books

knock your socks off non-fiction picture books about the natural world + giveaways

I love the kind of non-fiction picture books that make you cry. But also the kind that inform and dazzle. Here are a few of those about the natural world that will enlighten, enchant, and knock those socks right off!


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Mad About Monkeys (2015) and Smart about Sharks (2016) by Owen Davey.

I adored the first book and the follow up. Each of these is a compendium on its subject told and illustrated in fascinating ways; both include information about challenges facing each species. I can’t recommend this pair highly enough.


What will knock your socks off? The combination of stylish design and spellbinding information.





disgustingcrittersThe Disgusting Critters series by Elise Gravel (2016).

Rats and lice have never been so charming. Each narrator introduces you to one critter-kind by way of hilarious spreads with at least one attribute to learn and at least one joke to laugh at (from the critter herself). Not to mention, the art is bold, vivid, and engaging. What better way to learn about the creatures who’ve been relegated to repulsive, but are anything but boring.


What will knock your socks off? The concept and humor.






A Beauty Collected by Rachel Garahan (2016).

A beauty indeed. This is an ABC, from aloe to bougainvillea to coconut and beyond. Each page has exquisite photos of elements of the natural world, some familiar, some perhaps new additions to a child’s vocabulary. But this is a book for any age to bask in the amazing stuff of nature told in lovely rhyme.




What will knock your socks off? Those photos. 





9781847806475The Wonder Garden by Jenny Broom and Kristjana S. Williams (2015).

The Wonder Garden showcases extraordinary flora and fauna on Earth: five amazing habitats and 80 of the incredible animals that live there.




What will knock your socks off? The technicolor illustrations. 







Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space by Dominic Walliman and Ben Newman (2013).

I definitely want an Astronaut-Cat-Professor teaching me about space and stars and the speed of light. Don’t you? Inventive and overall stunning, this is the book about the universe to own.





What will knock your socks off? Having Professor Astro Cat as your guide. 





And now, two non-fiction giveaways for you! First up, Mad About Monkeys and Smart About Sharks by Owen Davey, courtesy of Flying Eye Books! One winner gets the set!


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And a set of 6 from Elise Gravel’s Disgusting Critters series, the ones pictured here, thanks to Tundra Books. One winner gets all six paperbacks!disgusting-critters-giveaway

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a pair of picture books about ideas and the creative process (+ giveaway!)




These two picture books are both about having an idea and where to go from there, one bold and one reflective. They show the amazing possibility that follows from nurturing your creative process. Come see!



Her Idea by Rilla (2015).

Sozi is a girl with lots and lots of ideas. (Her ideas look like tadpoles, but stretched long and with arms and legs.)

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“The newest idea was always the best.

She loved every one of them more than the rest.”


The thing is, Sozi doesn’t do anything with her ideas. She lets them go until she doesn’t have any more. Because, as we know, they don’t last or stick if we don’t spend time with them.



But Sozi has a helper, a book just like the cover of Her Idea! Together, they capture the perfect idea. The only problem then is figuring out the illusive end.



That’s when things get pretty meta. Because we know this is Sozi’s story right? So Sozi is a character in her own book. The one we’re holding. They one we’ve just read. Which underscores the notion that if you nurture an idea, it will capture YOU!



(The brilliant book jacket!)


Thanks to Flying Eye Books for images!


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What Do You Do With an Idea? written by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom (2013).

This book really gets to me. It truly is for anyone who’s ever had an idea and wondered what to do with it, regardless of age. Anyone who’s doubted whether or not to do anything with it at all.


In the illustrations, there’s a child whose idea is embodied in a gold-crowned egg with legs. Yup. It’s perfect.


Told from the first person, we hear what it’s like to be unsure, frightened, and to walk away from an idea. To disown it.

But ideas can be persistent, as this egg is. And as the narrator begins to accept and spend time with the idea, it grows. In fact, through the seasons, the whole world changes because of this idea—from black and white to leaves of green to magically, vibrantly colorful.


That’s how transformative ideas can be, when we give to them. They can change everything!


Thanks to Compendium for images!


And now, a truly special giveaway that will spark a child’s (or your) own creative process! Compendium is generously giving away one prize package: the picture book, What Do You Do With An Idea?, a matching journal for recording ideas, and an idea plush toy! So inspiring! And that adorable egg!





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the-most-magnificent-thingYou might also be interested in a previous post: 15 Lessons on Creativity from Picture Books!









shackleton’s journey




shackleton'sjourneyShackleton’s Journey by William Grill.


Calling all adventurers, seafarers, boys and girls who love to draw! Climb aboard the Endurance. It won’t be an easy journey, but a rich one.

Cold, blue, but full of fortitude, comradery, and icy beauty.









Ernest Shackleton wanted to be the first to cross Antarctica. But did you know he also read poetry to his crews to lift their spirits?




This is an account of Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic Journey in 1914, 100 years ago, filled with colored pencil illustrations that capture maps and details, white icy space, and fierce blue treacherous conditions equally well.






69 dogs and 28  crew members were aboard the ship. There was also a stowaway!

My favorites?

Crew member Frank Wild, second in command. (Because: Wild.)

Crew member John Vincent, boatswain and able seaman. (Because: title.)

Dog named Bummer. (Because: name.)





Winter arctic ice proved impossible to break. While the Endurance survived, things were pretty good. The men hunted penguins and remodeled their living quarters. They waited and waited but the next October, their vessel’s fate was grim. Now the crew were camped on ice without the shelter of a ship.






Trips in lifeboats, frostbite, blizzards, one perilous journey by six men to sail to Elephant Island to find help. A trip that in total took two grueling years.






A perfect picture book for any would be historian or adventurer. 




Images via William Grill’s website.

I received a review copy of this book from Flying Eye Books; opinions are my own. 


picture books on looking for the sun and the moon




Pongo by Jesse Hodgson.


Red Knit Cap Girl by Naoko Stoop.

Pongo the orangutan lived deep in the rainforest and searched for the sun. Red Knit Cap Girl lived in another forest and she longed to see the moon.

Beyond this  main commonality of characters reaching for celestial orbs, both in this pair are books that make the world slow down. Which is my very favorite kind—and something a picture book has the unique power to do.





“Pongo lived deep in the dark, dark depths of the rainforest. The trees grew so tightly together that hardly any sunshine ever reached down to the forest floor.”




Pongo was lonely and gloomy. He wanted to find the sun way up high, the sun that was bright and orange, a bit like him.




He met others on the journey up, creatures he mistook for the sun by their color. A snake, a babboon’s bottom(!), a beehive.

I love the way Jesse Hodgson‘s depiction takes us into the story, so many spreads are like extreme close-ups. It’s as though we’re actually in the rainforest, climbing, seeing with Pongo.




Finally, he meets Papaya, another orangutan. Together, they see the sunrise. Pongo, Papaya, and the long-awaited  sun. Lonely and dark no more.




Thanks to Flying Eye Books for images!

I was provided a review copy of this book; opinions are my own.



Red Knit Cap Girl

“…most of all, Red Knit Cap Girl wonders about the moon. ‘Could I ever get close enough to the Moon to talk to her?'”


Red Knit Cap Girl and her everpresent friend White Bunny tried to get close to the moon in the sky, but it was hard to do. As she continued on her quest, she, like Pongo met other creatures who advised her.




Instead of reaching the moon, the girl devised a way to ask the moon to come to her. She and her friends planned a celebration and with one final touch, dark falls and the yellow moon appears.




Naoko Stoop‘s animation-like drawings are given so much depth, texture, and spotlighting because she painted on plywood with the grain of the wood showing through.




(If you’re a fan of Naoko Stoop’s work, there are plenty of prints featuring Red Knit Cap Girl in her etsy shop. There’s also a second book, Red Knit Cap Girl to the Rescue, with more to come in the series!)


Thanks to Naoko Stoop for the images!