Outdoor Exploration Books – Book Review

The sun is shining, the air is warm, and your kids are spending more and more time in the great outdoors, whether it’s in your backyard or at a local playground. Curiosity comes naturally to children, and a perfect way to capitalize on this desire to explore and discover is to provide resources and experiences to support their interests. If your children are like mine, all this outdoor play has them wondering about the many types of bugs and other aspects of nature all around them.

Blue Apple Books has two new books for preschoolers and elementary school aged children that are perfect companions for outdoor exploration. Lisa Campbell Ernst’s How Things Work in the Yard provides information about both the natural world in a child’s backyard, such as birds, dandelions and fireflies, as well as familiar toys and items like balls, wheels and bubbles. The presentation includes colorful illustrations with labels and tidbits of information on each 2-page spread. Ernst has done an impressive job predicting the typical questions young children ask about this environment, resulting in a resource book to keep handy while playing outside.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m raising one or two future entomologists, but I don’t mind because I’m just as interested in buggy creatures as my kids! I’ve read a lot of nonfiction picture books about insects and bugs in my days as a mom and a preschool teacher, and I’m thrilled to share with you what has risen to the top of the stack for me. Bugs by the Numbers by Sharon Werner and illustrated by Sarah Forss is truly an incredible book- imaginative and informative with huge kid appeal. I could go on and on about the creative approach this book takes to teaching children about bugs, incorporating numbers that relate to information about the bugs right into the illustrative figures, and I could gush about the cool facts that even I learned from my new favorite book. Or, I could just ask you to take a look yourself:

If you’d love to share How Things Work in the Yard and Bugs by the Numbers with your own curious kids, you may be in luck. We have two copies of each book to give away! Leave a comment here to be entered. For one additional entry, you can like Blue Apple Books on Facebook– just post on their wall that 5 Minutes for Mom sent you and leave a second comment here indicating that you’ve “liked” them. We’ll announce our winners on 6/20.

Nonfiction books may not be some parents’ first choice for story time, but I can attest to the joy my own kids express every time we’ve read each of these two wonderful books! If you’re interested in yet another nonfiction picture book, be sure to read my review of A Butterfly is Patient on 5 Minutes for Books today.

The winners of the Love Your Veggies books and garden supplies are:

Written by 5 Minutes for Books contributor Dawn, whose love for bugs often shows up on her blog, my thoughts exactly.


    • says

      Congrats Jenn, you’re one of our lucky winners! Please email me your mailing info at morninglightmama (at) gmail (dot) com.

  1. Patty says

    Would love to win and read to my nephew (loves bugs!) and my niece (who is terrified of them)! Might help show my niece there is more to bugs than scary hairy legs and wings. =)

  2. Sarah says

    My kiddo would love these books–he’s currently enamored with bugs (and encouraged by his nature-loving mama!)

  3. Alison S. says

    These books look great. My two year old son has recently fallen in love with bugs. Last night he spent a long time in the driveway with a flashlight watch them. :)

  4. Cindi says

    Summer is the perfect time to sit outside and read bug books!
    I love the way both books are written and the graphics are fabulous…
    Many thanks, Cindi

  5. Cindi says

    I “Like” Blue Apple Books on Facebook…
    Also, I left a comment on their wall that you sent me.
    Again, many thanks for the opportunity to win these two
    books to share with our two sons!

  6. tennille says

    good boy books! will have to check them out. thanks to the publisher for openning this contest up to canadians.

  7. Stephanie says

    Both sound like great books for curious kids! My boys can spend an entire afternoon turning over rocks and looking at bugs…

  8. says

    Oooooh. I have been teaching my friend next door and my son about gardening. This would be sooo cool for our next play date with my neighbors little one.

  9. Mona Garg says

    Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to get these for my 6 yr-old. She loves butterflies and is always full of questions.

  10. says

    As a mother with kids that LOVE being outdoors, this would be a great treat for them. Also, a nice addition to my classroom during the school year. :)

    • says

      Hey Christopher, congratulations, you’re one of our winners! Please email me your mailing information at morninglightmama (at) gmail (dot) com.

  11. Sheila K. says

    I liked Blue Apple Books on FB and left a post saying you sent me to the site!

    skkorman AT vbellsouth DOT net


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