Animals. This is definitely a popular category with children. And you would think this category might be fairly simple. There are tons of animal books. However, it is deceptively complex. Animals actually include vertebrates, molluscs, arthropods, annelids, sponges, and jellyfish. Even if I just tried to focus on vertebrates, this section would be huge.
So, here is where biologists with their efficient classification systems likely roll their eyes at teachers in preschool and primary grades who separate and rearrange these classifications to suit their own sensibilities. It certainly makes sense to me to group all of the ocean and marine life into one category even if technically they fall into all six from above.
Remember how in Part II, I spoke about tubs of books? Well, mammals will likely end up divided into several tubs. When I taught preschool my classifications looked more like this - pets (cats, dogs, rabbits, birds) and animals on a farm (cows, horses, sheep, goats, chickens) and animals in the jungle (monkeys, tigers, lions, elephants, zebras) and forest (wolves, deer, bears, moose). Either you are laughing or crying by now, depending on whether you are a teacher or a scientist. However, my teacher buddies know exactly what I am talking about. And to the be respectful of my scientist friends, yes, we should include opportunities to discuss those various classifications with students and why they exist.
In thinking about this category, and in light of this project, I have elected to refer to animals as mammals for the purpose of this post. Additionally, as with the biographies section, I am focusing on some individual books, and some authors that are quite prolific. You will also see many of these authors again when I do future posts on creepy crawlies or reptiles and birds or marine life.
Finally, the purpose of this post is not to refer you just to a pre-packaged series of books but to identify a number of quality trade titles that can be used as a starter for building your classroom library. Have fun exploring these titles and other books written by the authors listed below.