About Gail Gibbons’ Books
Gail Gibbons’ nonfiction picture books are likely already familiar to you. She has written close to 200 books, after all! Her books span a wide range of topics, from transportation to sharks, clocks to tornadoes, and holidays to apples. Her nonfiction picture books are aimed at children ages 4-8 years old but I think hold appeal for children well older than 8 years old.
There is so much to love about her books:
- Focusing in on one topic per book allows the child to learn in depth about a particular interesting topic.
- The text included is age-appropriate in length and complexity. The books make for a nice read aloud but can also be accessible to children who can read on their own. The narrative can hold the attention span of a preschooler and the information is interesting enough to engage an elementary aged student (and adults!)
- The illustrations are always beautiful, well-researched, detailed, and coordinate nicely with the text.
- She is thoughtful about balancing the information as a whole throughout each book, interspersing pages with one main illustration and a little bit of text with page spreads containing multiple illustrations and more detailed text.
- All of the books promote active learning whereby the child is drawn into the experience of learning and invited to broaden their world.
Recent Publications Highlight
I want to hone in on the most recent nature-based publications from the last year or two. Many titles are old favorites that have been updated. After introducing the new books, I will take a minute to discuss what the differences are in a “New and Updated” version of her existing title. You can also watch a detailed video, linked below!
You can view my entire list of nature nonfiction favorites from Gail Gibbons here:
***Note: The books featured below were provided as review copies by Holiday House. Opinions are my own.
Ladybugs (April 2022)
Volcanoes (January 2022)
Elephants of Africa (September 2021)
Marshes and Swamps (May 2021)
Gorillas (May 2021)
Monarch Butterfly (January 2021)
Spiders (October 2020)
Sharks (January 2020)
Migration was also published in 2020, which is a brand new title and definitely worth checking out! It’s one of my favorites.
What “New and Updated” Means
Several recent publications are actually updates from originals published years ago. The Monarch Butterfly book, for example, was originally published in 1991. It’s honestly wonderful that these books do still stand the test of time, though I completely understand the updates.
In all of the updated versions the illustrations have been saturated and been given a little bit of a facelift. In a few instances, details on illustrations have been changed. Overall the text is mostly the same but with changes here and there to provide a bit more clarity and detail. I hesitate to call these changes improvements because I do not really see any major faults with the originals. They do serve as nice updates. Overall, with the cover art and font changes, the alterations make the book feel more modern.
This is an example where text from Monarch Butterfly has been updated to provide clarity and more specific definitions (**the bottom book is the New and Updated version):
This is an example where illustrations from Monarch Butterfly have been updated (**the bottom book is the New and Updated version):
Overall I do not think you can go wrong if you purchase an original version — I know I have found a number of books in our collection as used copies for less than $5. It’s a great way to build a nonfiction library for curious children. That said, I do think the updates are an improvement and certainly will be the ones we start to see in circulation more.
BRAND NEW: STEAM Powered Workbooks!
Both the From Seed to Plant Workbook and the Monarch Butterfly Workbook were published in January 2022. These workbooks are specially designed for children in Grades K-1 but I think would work well for preschooler. The activities nicely pair with the books From Seed to Plant and Monarch Butterfly to help enhance the learning experience.
Each of these Workbooks is consumable. Children are asked to read along with the text of the book, then complete illustrations or fun games and even do some copywork to learn terminology. I can see these workbooks being useful in a number of educational environments! For an inside look at these, please see the video below.
Video Inside Look
More About Gail Gibbons
This website also provides lots of Educator resources!
Read Aloud Revival podcast: Excellent Nonfiction (with Gail Gibbons)
For More Book Reviews
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**Note that I use Amazon online here but do encourage you to purchase books from your local bookstore.
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