Habitat Spy

Tillywig Toy Awards-July 2011

Habitat Spy is charmingly written and illustrated, engaging your child on several levels. Every pair of pages opens into a large illustration of a different North American habitat, bustling with the creatures that live there. The text, in rhyming narrative, invites the reader to visually locate each of several living things pictured - plants, invertebrates, birds, mammals, insects, and more. You'll visit 13 different habitats in all - from desert to forest, cave to open meadow, you'll journey across vistas, plains, and swamps, finding, identifying, and naming dozens of creatures. The 'For Creative Minds' educational section at the back of the book does a fantastic job of delving into what's in a habitat, the adaptations, basic needs, and classifications of the living things found there, as well as the nature of food chains (predators, prey, carnivores, herbivores, and more). In Habitat Spy, you have a most enjoyable read that leads to very active young brains - pure fun all the way!

Library Media Connection - Nov/Dec 2011

Very young readers are invited to explore world habitats from the most familiar to the more exotic. Each spread is full of large, colorful, life-like illustrations of the flora and fauna one would see in the location. This would be a great book to share as there are many mroe animals and plants illustrated than can be presented in the short verse text. Some children may just want to open to their favorite page, but others may feel they are left hanging because there is no storyline. Perfect for sharing with young naturalists, this book inspires discussion and comparison that will carry over into everyday observation.
- Melinda Elzinga, Librarian, Bouler, Colorado

Science Books and Films - September 2011

Habitat Spy is mainly a picture book in which the reader is encouraged to find elements in different environments, such as a backyard, a forest, and a meadow. Each environment is represented on a two-page spread that includes a child with binoculars, a short list (in rhyming format) of four things to “spy on,” and a color illustration of the environment in question. The items to spy on are in the picture somewhere, not so obviously as to seem too easy to locate, but also not so difficult as to be discouraging for the target audience (preschool through grade 3). The format is rather clever, the rhymes are catchy, and the illustrations are eye catching. Particularly attractive is the diversity of organisms to find, including insects, plants, mammals, fish, and birds, all of which appear to be accurately placed in the different environments. A section billed as “educational” in the back of the book contains information about different types of habitat, adaptations needed in those habitats, and food chains. This section includes some pictorial multiple-choice questions with the answers included. A Web page associated with the publisher has additional teaching activities and is aligned with different states’ standards, a feature that could prove interesting in a school setting. Overall, this book would be a nice addition to a classroom, although it appears to be at the lower end of the preschool-grade 3 scale. The “I Spy” format tends to be very appealing to children of those ages and has been used here to great advantage in the exploration of habitats.
- Connie S. Bozarth, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

Stem Friday - April 2013

What better thing to do this Earth Day than head out and get moving like the animals – and plants – that share your home? Like other books published by Arbordale, Habitat Spy includes four pages of “beyond the book” activities focusing on what makes a habitat, animal adaptations, and food chains.

Big Universe - February 2013

The Old Schoolhouse - September 2011

Binoculars are not something that we have yet had in our home, whether for schooling or playtime--but we are about to amend that situation! Habitat Spy has given us the opportunity to explore various habitats right from the comfort of our living room couch, inspiring us to take it outside. Not only does the book contain beautiful depictions of home grounds from the backyard to the beach to a cave to a desert, but the rhyming narrative on each page directs a sort of spy game, as my child seeks to point out each element and animal as quickly as I can read it. Some of the habitats are more familiar to us than others, and the unfamiliar places particularly have inspired to do some research. But we don't have to look far! In the back of Habitat Spy are four pages of activities and information and resources for our disposal. This section for "Creative Minds" encourages further discussion about each of the 13 North American habitats presented in the book. With lots of discussion questions and ideas for hands-on activities, this is a great way to incorporate Habitat Spy into the school room. On the publisher's website we were able to find links to more information and activities to spur us on in discussion and research.

The book is full of two-page spreads that are colorful, detailed, and incredibly accurate. They are inviting and fun, full of depth and richness. We have even been able to discuss things like perspective, as some things are smaller and some larger, from the perspective of the person behind the binoculars. Habitat Spy involves looking for similarities as well as differences. It encourages creativity and curiosity. It appeals to all ages and group sizes. The youngest of listeners will enjoy the lilting phrases and bright illustrations, while older listeners are invited to delve deeper by searching for the varying plants, birds, invertebrates, and mammals in each habitat. Everyone will enjoy hunting for certain plants or creatures, counting how many are pictured, and then taking these experiences and applying them in their own lives as they study more about the habitats in which they live.

Available in both paperback and hardcover, this book is worth the investment. It would generously aid a study of animals and environments--and it has reminded me that it's about time for me to invest in a pair of binoculars so that my son can go searching for plants, insects, and animals in environments near our own home.

Midwest Book Review - December 2011

"Habitat Spy" is a color illustrated nature education book for children age 5 and up that invites children to use their observation skills to seek and identify plants, invertebrates, birds, mammals, and more that live in 13 varied habitats. These include the backyard, beach, bog, cave, desert, forest, meadow, mountain, ocean, plains, pond, river, and cypress swamp. In addition to a charming versed narrative that accompanies a spotlighted child looking with binoculars in different habitats, there are four additional pages of related educational activities to help underline more nature lessons about habitat spying. "Habitat Spy" is also available in hardcover, and eBook in English and in Spanish. A sure way to make learning about the natural environment and its inhabitants, "Habitat Spy" is an excellent resource for concerned and thoughtful parents and educators.

Stories for Children Magazine - July 2011

Search-and-find books are a favorite in my house and this book was a hit!  It is simply a great book to do/read together.  Not a traditional listing of subjects you should locate, but the subject was paired with an action verb – I felt this was excellent for enjoyment purposes, and for the educational aspect.  The action verbs helped to make an active story time even more entertaining.

BookLoons - May 2011

As kids explore, they meet the animals who live there and discover why this is just the habitat for them.The activities at the back of the book are both fun and educational. This is another good selection from Arbordale Publishing for summer reading.

Home School Book Review - May 2011

This is an excellent tool to introduce beginning readers to the concept of habitat.  As with other Arbordale books, there are four pages of learning activities in the back, including further information about habitats and food chains, plus true-false questions about how animals and plants adapt to their habitats and an odd-one-out exercise on classification and habitats.  More free material, with “Related Websites,” “Interactive Math, Reading, and Comprehension Quizzes,” and “Teaching Activities,” is available at Arbordale’s website to help parents and teachers expand the learning possibilities.  Children will enjoy hunting and counting all the different plants and animals in illustrator Christina Wald’s colorful, life-like drawings.

Queen of the First Grade Jungle - July 2011

Habitat Spy is perfect to be used in *shocker* a unit on habitats. I think it would be great to talk about how many habitats can exist in a small area!

Yankee Texan Mom - June 2011

Gwen and I spent hours looking for and counting all the different plants and animals while learning about what living things need to survive.  I can honestly say that learned a lot that I did not know.  Wildlife and their habitats have never been my strong point!

Just Another New Blog - June 2011

My kids love playing I Spy. My daughter says reading Habitat Spy is like a game of I Spy - in a book. In this beautifully illustrated book, children are encouraged to explore various habitats, starting with their own back yard. Kids' natural curiosity can lead them to explore animals and plants from these habitats further, and this book builds the foundations for such a quest in way that's fun and educational. - May 2011

This entertaining educational book takes children to various animal habitats. The child guide for each habitat is pictured with binoculars as if looking into the habitat. Each habitat describes some of the vegetation, insects, and animals that are found in each habitat.

Heck of a Bunch - May 2011

An educational book for children ages 3 to 8, Habitat Spy is about children looking through binoculars to spy animal habitats.  The story itself is told in rhyme form and tells what different animals do in their habitats.  For instance, readers learn that muskrats snick, squirrels jump, and jellyfish sway.  The illustrations are filled with animals of all species. 

Papertrails Family Blog - May 2011

One of the reasons I liked this book was because so many of my favourite animals are mentioned in it. There’s even a beagle in this book, and we just got a new beagle puppy. We named him Crosby, after Sidney Crosby, the great Canadian hockey player.

This book talks about a lot of different places where you can go and spy on animals. I love to spy on animals at the pond. That’s where you can see heron and frogs and fish and butterflies and sometimes even water snakes.

I also like to spy on birds. There are a lot of birds at my Nana and Papa’s house in the country. They have lots of birdfeeders there, so there are always lots of birds to spy on. We use binoculars to spy on them.

I think this is a good book, because it talks about how you can learn more about nature and different types of animals.”
- Myles, Age 7

Chronicles of an Infant Bibliophile - April 2011

Habitat Spy was an instant hit, as I knew it would be.  Beautifully illustrated scenes introduce the reader to a wide array of wildlife, and rhyming text highlights a few specimens for the reader to locate.An educational section in the back discusses habitats, food chains and webs, and classification.  I wish it also included a picture glossary; some of the creatures (like midges) were tricky enough for us to require iphone googling.  I do love teaching the Bibliophile how to find answers to questions, though, and it seemed to only add to his fun.  Highly recommended, especially for I spy fans and animal/nature lovers.

Books 4 Learning - April 2011

Christina Wald has done a remarkable job replicating the incredible plants and creatures in their native environments. The picturesque illustrations draw readers into each habitat where they can count and identify the living things.  Young children can practice sorting animals into categories, such as those with fur or with feathers and ones that fly or crawl.  Habitat Spy, along with the teaching guide, offers opportunities to teach older students about invertebrates and vertebrates (reptiles, birds, mammals, fish, and amphibians).  The pleasurable text is primarily made up of nouns and verbs.  Children can learn about these parts of speech and create their own text following the format provided (as seen in book samples above).  Use the book as a spring board to begin to observe and to record observations in outdoor places.  Take a journal to a park, a lake, or a wooded area.  Talk, draw, and write about your surroundings.  Habitat Spy is an outstanding introduction into the study of habitats.  It is sure to take inquisitiveness and learning to new heights.

Welcome to Our Wonderland - April 2011

This book is so great it cover 13 yep 13 different habitats and it is easy enough for even the youngest child to find the habitat spy items. Sprite has had a lot of fun finding and counting all the creatures. We had fun learning about what lives in the cypress swamp and bog. I think this would be a great addition to a classroom to be placed in their science/habitat area.

Feathered Quill Book Reviews - April 2011

This is an excellent book to introduce the natural world of habitats to the young student. It would be a wonderful addition to your homeschool or classroom shelves!

Live, Learn, Love-April 2011

Your kids will want to take a pair of binoculars to examine the pond, forest, mountains, etc. up close and personal!