Archive for the ‘Book Club’ Category

Owen and Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Barking Frog Reads is featuring a book about friendship and connection. This book was conceived by Craig Hatkoff and his seven-year-old daughter after they read a newspaper article about a baby hippo who was separated from his pod during the 2005 Indonesian tsunami.

Owen and Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship is the story of that hippo, who was left alone on a reef in Kenya. He was tired, frightened and unable to reach the shore on his own. Hundreds of villagers and visitors worked together to help the young hippo get safely to shore. He was offered a place to live at an animal sanctuary called Haller Park. The baby hippo’s journey from reef to shore to sanctuary was frightening; lots of people, noises, nets, vehicles and he was alone. His hippo family was gone. He arrived at the sanctuary weak and exhausted.

At Haller Park, the hippo was given the name Owen. He was put in an enclosure with bushbucks, monkeys and a giant solitary Aldabra tortoise named Mzee. As soon as Owen entered the enclosure he crouched behind Mzee, the way baby hippos often hide behind their mothers for protection. The next morning the hippo and the tortoise were still together, with Owen snuggling up against Mzee. In the protective presence of the 130-year-old tortoise, Owen calmed down, started eating and regained his strength.

This book is full of images of Owen’s journey to the sanctuary and life at the sanctuary with Mzee and the people who care for the animals at Haller Park. Children from kindergarten-age to fifth grade will enjoy this inspirational book.

If you would like more information about Owen and Mzee visit owenandmzee.com.

Other books about this remarkable pair:

Owen & Mzee: Language of Friendship

Best Friends (Owen and Mzee)

Owen and Mzee: A Day Together

Best Friends: The True Story of Owen and Mzee (All Aboard Science Reader)

A Mama for Owen


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I love books and I love book clubs, so it just seems natural to start a book club within this blog. On the first day of each month I will announce the book we will share. We will read the book and post comments.

One Tiny Turtle: Read and Wonder is the story of one Loggerhead turtle’s journey from hatchling to egg laying mother. We travel with her from nursery to stormy ocean, then to feeding grounds and finally, back to the beach she left behind many years before. The text is written in a poetic fashion that is fun to read aloud. In addition to the loggerhead story the book contains some general sea turtle facts, such as, “Fish breathe underwater, but turtles are reptiles and need to come up to the surface for air.” The playful text written by Nicola Davies and the painterly illustrations by Jane Chapman combine to make a book that could be called a work of art. One Tiny Turtle was published in 2001 by Candlewick Press. Eleven years later, when I am in a library I often see One Tiny Turtle pulled from the shelves and given a place of prominence. And during story times in the preschools and libraries I visit it is still often read. A statement to its popularity and timelessness. One Tiny Turtle will appeal to anyone who loves sea turtles, though it is geared toward children 5-8 years old.

Nicola Davies is a zoologist, as well as a writer. Her books all have nature themes and impart scientific information that is age appropriate for her young readers. Illustrator Jane Chapman is a published author and illustrator of many children’s books, including the Bear Series, Bear Stays Up for Christmas, Bear Feels Sick, and Bear in Bed.

Other Books by Nicola Davies:

Bat Loves the Night: Read and Wonder

Big Blue Whale: Read and Wonder

Surprising Sharks: Read and Wonder

Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth

Poop: A Natural History of the Unmentionable

Science Kids: Oceans and Seas

Ice Bear: Read and Wonder: In the Steps of the Polar Bear

What’s Eating You?: Parasites — The Inside Story

Other books by Jane Chapman:

Grumpy Badger’s Christmas

Bear Feels Sick

The Dark, Dark Night

Bear’s New Friend

The Bears in the Bed and The Great Big Storm

When We’re Together

Bear Wants More

Bear Feels Scared

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Barking Frog Reads

I love books and I love book clubs, so it just seems natural to start a book club within this blog. On the first day of each month I will announce the book we will share. We will read the book and post comments.

Stranger in the Woods

Stranger In the Woods by Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick is a wonderful book for children 4-8 years old. The award-winning book is full of soft, quiet photographs and playful, fun-to-read text. The animals in the book come alive with unique voices and personalities. It is the perfect book to read as winter approaches.

Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick are both professional wildlife photographers. Their images have appeared in national and international publications, such as National Geographic and Nature’s Best. Together they use their beautiful photography to gently teach young readers an appreciation for nature. Visit their website at www.carlsams.com.

After reading the book, I will be surprised if you can keep yourselves from running to the woods and making your own snowman. And why not do it? If you do, please post a photograph of you and your snowman here, and tell us about your experience.

If you enjoy this book, below are links to more books by this creative pair.

First Snow in the Woods: A Photographic Fantasy

Lost In The Woods: A Photographic Fantasy

When Snowflakes Fall

Find My Friends

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Barking Frog Book Club

I love books and I love book clubs, so it just seems natural to start a book club within this blog. On the first day of each month I will announce the book we will share—read the book and post comments.

Rachel Carson's The Sense of WonderRachel Carson’s The Sense of Wonder
is my first choice. My cousin Shannon gave me a copy of this book when my daughter was born. It is a great book to give to a new parent who is interested in showing their child how to see and be in the world. The text was first published as an essay in the July 1956 issue of Woman’s Home Companion under the title “Help Your Child to Wonder” In the book, Carson writes poetically and practically of wonder, beauty, and nature. She guides with advice such as “Exploring nature with your child is largely a matter of becoming receptive to what lies all around you.”  She also writes, “One way to open your eyes to unnoticed beauty is to ask yourself, ‘What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?'” My hope is that after reading this book we will all feel compelled to go out into the natural world and while there see with the eyes of a child.

Stephen and lichen

Stephen pointing out lichen on a rock

“If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.”
-Rachel Carson

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