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Soundprints: Smithsonian's Backyard series

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Garter Snake at Willow Creek Lane

garter snake

 

By Janet Halfmann
Illustrated by Anne Wertheim
Soundprints, 2011 
Ages 4-8, nonfiction picture book story

(Out of print)

2013 Teachers' Choice Award for a Book Series

 

The Story

Garter Snake has been on her own since birth. She has learned important skills, including how to find meals and protect herself from enemies such as crows and dogs. Now, her biggest struggle is to find a place to spend the winter months. Will she find a winter den before it gets too cold?

Checked for accuracy by curators at the Smithsonian Institution, and has additional fun facts, a glossary, and points of interest.

Reviews

  • "If you have a youngster that is fascinated with snakes, creepy crawly things, this book will be right up their alley! . . . Learn about how Garter Snake survives on her own, what happens when the family dog discovers her, and where she lives and what happens when it turns cold. A great book for unit studies or the family bookshelf!"—Classic Children's Books
  • "Even a snake hater like me enjoyed reading this delightful book. The author does a great job introducing the young reader to the life cycle of the garter snake . . . Young and old will delight in the full-page , full-color illustrations by Anne Wertheim." —Blogcritics
  • "Author Janet Halfmann uses a fictional story to provide fascinating natural history facts about this common creature. Did you know that garter snakes are pretty much on their own from birth? Youngsters will delight in the full-page, full-color illustrations by Anne Wertheim."—Home School Book Review
  • ". . . an engaging overview of one season in the life of Garter snake . . . Anne Wertheim's bright illustations illuminate the page. The close-up versions of Garter Snake looks like she is going to slither right off the page."—Wrapped in Foil


 

 

Little Black Ant on Park Street

Little Black Ant on Park Street

 

By Janet Halfmann
Illustrated by Kathleen Rietz
Soundprints, 2009 
Ages 4-8, nonfiction picture book story

(Out of print)

 

The Story

It is a hot July day on Park Street. On the lawn outside the blue house, Little Black Ant peeks out of her anthill. She is old enough now to leave the nest. Little Black Ant spends the summer in search of food for her queen ant, the babies, and other workers. The journey is sometimes a dangerous one for her and her nestmates. A carpenter ant and a blue jay threaten her hunt. Will Little Black And find enough food for the colony and make it back to the anthill safely?

Checked for accuracy by curators at the Smithsonian Institution and has additional fun facts, a glossary, and points of interest.

Reviews

  • "This is a great example of a "living" book and brings a piece of nature right to your family room. Its large and colorful illustrations combined with informative text make the Little Black Ant on Park Street a good pick for those looking for interesting and educational nature readers."—Homeschool Buzz
  • "I LOVED this book and so did my second graders. The illustrations by Kathleen Rietz are real-fo-life and close-up. The illustrations do a GREAT job supporting the text." —The Friendly Book Nook
  • "Janet Halfmann. . .has done a superb job translating technical jargon into age-appropriate language without losing meaning. I can't emphasize enough what a wonderful job she did of this difficult task. The illustrator, Kathleen Rietz, created big, vibrant scenes to tell the story at another level."—Wrapped in Foil
  • "The text reads as a beautifully written story that weaves in plenty of facts about the little black ant. . .The illustrations by Kathleen Rietz are amazing, making you feel as though you're a black ant nestled on a rosebush alongside tiny green insects called aphids."—Lori Calabrese


 

Alligator at Saw Grass Road

alligatorsawgrass

 

By Janet Halfmann
Illustrated by Lori Anzalone
Soundprints, 2006
Ages 4-8, nonfiction picture book story

Available as an app at Oceanhouse Media
(Book is out of print)

The Story

In the early summer heat, behind the lone house on Saw Grass Road, Alligator prepares a nest and lays thirty eggs. She spends her days protecting her eggs, but one day a turtle pushes her way into the nest, lays twenty of her own eggs, and then leaves!  Will Alligator need to care for her own eggs and the turtle’s eggs? What will Alligator do when the turtle eggs hatch?

Checked for accuracy by curators at the Smithsonian Institution and has additional fun facts, a glossary, and points of interest.

Reviews

  • "Beautifully illustrated, Alligator at Saw Grass Road is an outstanding nature title for young children. . . . Attention to detail and accuracy are a hallmark of the Smithsonian Backyard series. This is true of both text and illustrations. . . . I highly recommend it to readers who love to learn about wildlife and their habitats."—Eclectic Homeschool Online
  • ". . . this was the best picture book about alligators that I have read. . . . My 7 year old, dismissive at first, was soon engrossed in the story of a female alligator and her children (whom we meet first in the egg). My 5 year old, less jaded, was enthusiastic from the start." —Charlotte’s Library

Canada Goose at Cattail Lane

Canada Goose at Cattail Lane

By Janet Halfmann
Illustrated by Daniel J. Stegos
Soundprints, 2005
Ages 4-8, nonfiction picture book story

(Out of print)

NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) Recommends  
Parents’ Choice Approved

The Story

Spring has come to the pond at the end of Cattail Lane. Among the cattails near the pond's edge, Canada Goose sits on a nest atop a muskrat house. She made the nest from cattails and lined it with soft down from her breast. Weeks after the eggs were laid, five fluffy goslings finally hatch. Canada Goose and her mate have a lot to teach their young—how to swim, how to find food, and how not to get lost! But when a gull circles overhead, will the goslings know how to say safe?

Checked for accuracy by curators at the Smithsonian Institution and has additional fun facts, a glossary, and points of interest.

Reviews

  • "In this informative addition to the "Smithsonian’s Backyard" series, we follow a family of Canadian geese from their spring nesting to the fall migration. . . . Naturalistic watercolor paintings fill double-page scenes with the dramatic story. . . ." —Children's Literature
  • "Canada Goose at Cattail Lane is a charming book that beautifully illustrates the life cycle of a Canada goose within its natural habitat of a small pond. The story is a simple one, yet it illustrates many scientific concepts, such as life cycles, habitats, and learned versus innate behaviors. . . .I recommend this book to supplement the teaching of those concepts while learning about this specific bird--the Canada goose." —NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) Recommends

Red Bat at Sleepy Hollow Lane

Red Bat at Sleepy Hollow Lane

By Janet Halfmann
Illustrated by Thomas Buchs
Soundprints, 2004
Ages 4-8, nonfiction picture book story

(Out of print)

Parents’ Choice Approved

The Story

High in an oak tree behind the big white house on Sleepy Hollow Lane, two red bat babies are safe and protected, wrapped in their mother’s warm arms. Soon the baby red bats must learn how to fly, how to drink water from a pond, and how to catch the insects that gather at the streetlight. And when the cold October winds blow, the babies must be strong enough to fly south to the family’s winter home. Will the red bats be ready?

Checked for accuracy by curators at the Smithsonian Institution and has additional fun facts, a glossary, and points of interest.


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