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The Best Picture Books About Nature
book lists,  picture books

13 of the Best Nature Picture Books

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I love the power of a good picture book.

Great words and beautiful illustrations can be so much more powerful than a lot of words.

There are so many excellent picture books about nature out there and today I wanted to share some of our favorites with you!

 

The Best Picture Books About Nature

 

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13 of the Best Nature Picture Books

 

You know those books that you feel the need to touch every page? This is one of those books! The inner cut-outs are so fun but it was actually the artwork that made me want to touch it to see if it was popping up.

A WALK THROUGH THE WOODS

Listen: the forest is calling. Take a quiet walk through the woods, where shadows fall in the darkness, eyes peek out, and some animals sleep while others run and leap. Simple, poetic text and intricate papercut illustrations introduce children to a deer, black rook, fox, rabbit, and many more beautiful creatures as they wait for morning—and spring—to come.

 

UP IN THE GARDEN AND DOWN IN THE DIRT

Up in the garden, the world is full of green—leaves and sprouts, growing vegetables, ripening fruit. But down in the dirt there is a busy world of earthworms digging, snakes hunting, skunks burrowing, and all the other animals that make a garden their home. In this exuberant and lyrical book, discover the wonders that lie hidden between stalks, under the shade of leaves…and down in the dirt.

 

OVER AND UNDER THE POND

In this gorgeous companion to the acclaimed Over and Under the Snow and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal bring to life a secret underwater world. In this book, readers will discover the plants and animals that make up the rich, interconnected ecosystem of a mountain pond. Over the pond, the water is a mirror, reflecting the sky. But under the pond is a hidden world of minnows darting, beavers diving, tadpoles growing. These and many other secrets are waiting to be discovered…over and under the pond.

 

OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW

Over the snow, the world is hushed and white. But under the snow lies a secret world of squirrels and snow hares, bears and bullfrogs, and many other animals making their winter home under the snow. This beloved nonfiction picture book exploring the subnivean zone reveals the tunnels and caves formed beneath the snow but over the ground, where many kinds of animals live through the winter, safe and warm, awake and busy, but hidden beneath the snow.

 

POND

The joy of the seasons, the wonder of discovery, and the appreciation and respect for the natural world is at the heart of this book, drawn from the childhood of award-winning illustrator Jim LaMarche.

When Matt is out for a late winter hike he sees a trickle of water in the old deserted and junk filled dirt pit at the edge of his neighborhood. With quiet appreciation, Matt can imagine the pond that must once have been there, shining in the early spring light, freezing in the winter for skating and the perfect place for swimming in the summer.

Can Matt’s discovery transform a forgotten pond to its natural wonder? With his idea of making the pond whole again, Matt rallies his friends, Katie and Pablo, and together they work through the spring, clearing debris, moving rocks to hold the water, and looking for leaks. But would there be enough water to fill the pond? Can they bring the pond back?

The Raft

Inspired in part by his own childhood, this gorgeous picture book from Jim LaMarche, the beloved illustrator of A Story for Bear and The Elves and the Shoemaker, tells the story of one stubborn boy’s unexpectedly wonderful summer on the river.

This is an imagination-sparking story about appreciating the simple, natural joys of the world and the people in it, and about discovering and exploring one’s own talents. School Library Journal proclaimed, “This dazzling picture book is an artistic triumph.” The author’s note describes the similarities between his own life and the life of his protagonist.

Nicky is convinced that his summer with his grandmother in the Wisconsin woods is going to be the worst summer ever. She cooks food that he doesn’t like, there’s an art studio where her living room should be, and he’s expected to do chores—including fishing, the most boring chore ever.

But one afternoon, while Nicky is trying to catch their dinner, a raft drifts down the river towards him. The raft has a calming magic about it, affecting both Nicky and the wildlife of the river and woods. Through the raft and the adventures it brings him on, Nicky finds new common ground with his grandmother, a fellow river rat, who encourages him to explore his newfound talent for art.

 

WORM WEATHER

Drip,drop,
skip and hop.

Splish, splash,
sidewalk dash!
It’s worm weather! 

Join in the rainy-day fun, as kids splash through the puddles, affecting another weather enthusiast, a nearby worm. An imaginative and playful story, readers will love seeing the worm delight in the weather just as much as the kids.

 

FINDING WILD

A lovely, lyrical picture book with gorgeous illustrations that explores the ways the wild makes itself known to us and how much closer it is than we think. There are so many places that wild can exist, if only you know where to look! Can you find it? Two kids set off on an adventure away from their urban home and discover all the beauty of the natural world. From the bark on the trees to the sudden storm that moves across the sky to fire and flowers, and snowflakes and fresh fruit. As the children make their way through the woods and back to the paved and noisy streets, they discover that wild exists not just off in some distant place, but right in their own backyard.

 

GOODBYE SUMMER, HELLO AUTUMN

As trees sway in the cool breeze, blue jays head south, and leaves change their colors, everyone knows–autumn is on its way!

Join a young girl as she takes a walk through forest and town, greeting all the signs of the coming season. In a series of conversations with every flower and creature and gust of wind, she says good-bye to summer and welcomes autumn.

 

GOODBYE AUTUMN, HELLO WINTER

As leaves fall from their trees, animals huddle against the cold, and frost creeps across windows, everyone knows―winter is on its way!

Join a brother and sister as they explore nature and take a stroll through their twinkling town, greeting all the signs of the coming season. In a series of conversations with everything from the setting sun to curious deer, they say goodbye to autumn and welcome the glorious first snow of winter.

 

GOODBYE WINTER, HELLO SPRING

As days stretch longer, animals creep out from their warm dens, and green begins to grow again, everyone knows―spring is on its way!

Join a boy and his dog as they explore nature and take a stroll through the countryside, greeting all the signs of the coming season. In a series of conversations with everything from the melting brook to chirping birds, they say goodbye to winter and welcome the lushness of spring.

 

WINTER IS COMING

Day after day, a girl goes to her favorite place in the woods and quietly watches from her tree house as the chipmunks, the doe, the rabbits prepare for the winter. As the temperature drops, sunset comes earlier and a new season begins. Silently she observes the world around her as it reveals its secrets. It takes time and patience to see the changes as, slowly but surely, winter comes.

 

Sing a Song of Seasons

Sing a Song of Seasons is a lavishly illustrated collection of 366 nature poems — one for every day of the year. Filled with familiar favorites and new discoveries written by a wide variety of poets, including William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, John Updike, Langston Hughes, N. M. Bodecker, Okamoto Kanoko, and many more, this is the perfect book for children (and grown-ups!) to share at the beginning or the end of the day.

 

If you like this list you may also like:

 

You can see all our book lists here!

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