Paws, Claws, Hands, and Feet

Wild About Nature - August 2, 2009

One constant in life is that small children love small critters, especially if the critters are furry, fuzzy, or feathered. Add some interesting facts the kids can learn and tell to impress each other, and they'll be fascinated.

Paws, Claws, Hands, and Feet features a variety of animals, large and small, from around the world. Rhyming couplets create an insistent chant, with each pair of lines describing a different use for those important body parts listed in the title. For example, a chimp is "Curling, clinging / tree branch swinging," while a kangaroo enjoys "Hipping, hopping / outback bopping."

The illustrations tell a wordless story tying the different animals and facts together. Two children travel from water bog to ice berg, watching and interacting with the animals. Forget about a magic carpet; these kids have a flying bed, complete with elephant-printed covers that at times cushion an eagle's nest or pillow a sleepy panda. Although the art style is somewhat stiff, imaginative details provide sprightly humor.

The back of the book features a four-page "For Creative Minds" section with additional information, matching activities, and questions to ponder. Paws, Claws, Hands, and Feet will give young readers a new appreciation of the many things they can do with their own hands and feet.

Judith Nasse, Children's Book Reviews - April 2009

“What is it?” a child guesses as she turns to each new animal in its own double-page spread in this entertaining book featuring animals with paws, claws, hands, or feet. A brother and sister wake up in the middle of the night, or is it a dream? They then take a journey to different animal habitats, with their bed sometimes landing on water or on an African savannah. The text by Kimberly Hutmacher is fun, educational, and stretches the young child’s vocabulary as his tongue trips through rhyme and alliteration, like “Leaping, lunging, lily pad plunging…” The teacher or parent will later hear children chanting these phrases as they jump rope, hopscotch, and skip. The illustrations by Sherry Rogers are welcome back in this new book as they delight with humor while inviting the young viewer to come into the world of animals to romp and learn. The young reader, 2 - 7 will enjoy going on this adventure in these entertaining and informative pages.

The Well-Read Child - June 4, 2009

In this fantasy story, two kids, a girl and a boy, wake up in the middle of the night and take a journey around the world, visiting a lot of animal habitats: the jungle, the Savannah, the arctic, and the outback. Their bed magically takes them from place to place, and they meet tons of animals along the way.

I'm the first to admit that I'm not a fan of rhyming picture books, but this one works and flows nicely. The plethora of animals, habitats, and action verbs along the way make it a great book for learning purposes, but kids won't even realize they're learning. As with all of Arbordale's books, a section in the back features activities and resources for further learning. In our house, my daughter is fascinated by all of Sherry Rogers's animal illustrations, and she loves to see where the bed is going to land next.

Bureau County Republican, IL - July 15, 2009

One constant in life is that small children love small critters, especially if the critters are furry, fuzzy, or feathered. Add some interesting facts the kids can learn and tell to impress each other, and they’ll be fascinated.

“Paws, Claws, Hands, and Feet” features a variety of animals, large and small, from around the world. Rhyming couplets create an insistent chant, with each pair of lines describing a different use for those important body parts listed in the title. For example, a chimp is “Curling, clinging / tree branch swinging,” while a kangaroo enjoys “Hipping, hopping / outback bopping.”

The illustrations tell a wordless story tying the different animals and facts together. Two children travel from water bog to ice berg, watching and interacting with the animals. Forget about a magic carpet; these kids have a flying bed, complete with elephant-printed covers that at times cushion an eagle’s nest or pillow a sleepy panda. Although the art style is somewhat stiff, imaginative details provide sprightly humor.

The back of the book features a four-page “For Creative Minds” section with additional information, matching activities, and questions to ponder. “Paws, Claws, Hands, and Feet” will give young readers a new appreciation of the many things they can do with their own hands and feet.

Hearts of the Matter Online - March 2009

Paws, Claws, Hands, and Feet is written by homeschool mother and author Kimberly Hutmacher (Arbordale Publishers; 2009). The story itself would appeal to young preschoolerswith it’s rhyming phrases as two children take a dream journey from morning to night, using hands and feet just like squirrels, monkeys, rats, spiders, frogs, penguins, elephants, lions, kangaroos, pandas, and eagles as they travel through the African savannah, Australian outback and the frozen Antarctic.

"Jumping, thumping
bouncing beat,
paws, claws, hands, and feet…"

As with all Arbordale picture books, free online resources and support for the book is available on the Arbordale Publishing website. All information in the book was verified by a Curator of Education at the Lee Richardson Zoo in Kansas. Educational activities related to the book include: a matching activity where children identify an animal based upon their hands or feet, discussion questions and paws, claws, hands and feet adaptations.

In the Pages blog - April 9, 2009

I think this one would be SO fun for story hour - you get to move along with the animals in the story - tons of fun and different actions to do with them AND then it ends with everyone sleeping after their long day! This will be a good time!!

Nancy Attebury, children's book author - March 2009

This whimsical tale follows a brother and sister as they complete a night time romp and learn about different animals. A squirrel, chimp, mouse, spider, frogs, fish, penguins, and elephant are but some of the animals they encounter. Written in rhyme, the verbs are rich and allow children to know exactly what is happening. Some of the verbs include leaping, lunging, plunging, jumping, thumping, clutching and clawing. All verbs fit the animal(s) featured on the specific spread. The verbs make it easy for children to understand how the animals move in their environment. Humorous and informative illustrations contain the boy’s bed or bedding to maintain awareness that this is a “dreamtime” journey. One humorous illustration shows the sister and brother hiding behind the headboard of the bed while watching a lion and another shows a round, sleepy Panda resting on the boy’s pillow. Matching activities and a page for discussion follow the text. As always, the publisher posts “Related Websites” and “Teaching Activities” on its website. Add this book to school or home libraries for fun and to learn about animals.

Armchair Interviews - February 2009

I have a new favorite book. It’s the delightful Paws, Claw, Hands, and Feet by Kimberly Hutmacher and illustrated by Sherry Rogers. The children’s book is written in an almost frenetic (I chose to read it to my granddaughter that way) rhyme that gave me and Greer the giggles. Actually Greer emitted real belly laughs. The animals run, jump, leap, hop and rest, just like people do. It’s a fu- filled day with a variety of animals. When the busy day is done, a little boy snuggles under the covers to take a much-needed rest. Paws, Claws, Hands, and Feet is the perfect bedtime book. It provides some quiet (or not so quiet) time before bed and will delight the kids who will probably laugh out loud and ask for it every evening. The illustrations are so bright and beautiful they reach out and not only grab your attention, but hang on tight.

Armchair Interviews says: Read the book and then work on the various activities supplied at the back of the book.

Katie's Literature Lounge - April 20, 2009

Along with Henry the Impatient Heron, I also had a chance to share this book with the same group of 1st graders. They enjoyed this book, but they still deemed Henry the Impatient Heron their favorite. However, this was by far my favorite! It was the realization drawn from the ending that made me love the book so much! I'm not going to give away the ending, but I am going to urge you to head out to the local library and borrow a copy or just click on the image and head to and order a copy for yourself today! Two young children set off on an adventure with all kinds of wildlife - monkeys, spiders, lions, elephants and more! Waking, shaking, feel the beat, paws, claws, hands, and feet... The illustrations take readers to the habitat of each of these wildlife animals, and allows for readers' imaginations to go wild! - March 2009

Pros: Rhyme, creative use of language to engage reader and encourage observation
Cons: Some use of language invites readers to think past the obvious
The Bottom Line: Availability of quality science books for early childhood education is improving thanks to Arbordale; their Paws, Claws, Hands and Feet strongly supports teaching adaptation and animal behavior lessons.

As a young boy drifts off to sleep he is awakened in his dream world by his sister -- a squirrel is “digging, dashing and acorn stashing” in his socks drawer! This begins a fast-paced romp through an imaginative look at how animals use their paws, claws, hands and feet.  Told in rhyme, Kimberly Hutmacher’s first book, Paws, Claws, Hands and Feet, guides early childhood readers on a dream journey filled with familiar animals.

Dozing, dreaming, sleeping beat, paws, claws, hands, and feet.”  We find squirrels stashing acorns, monkeys swinging from tree branches, mice seeking banana muffin crumbs, spiders spinning pictures, frogs leaping from lily pads and fish bouncing from fish bowls.  This continues with penguins dashing down icebergs, elephants romping and stomping through prairies, kangaroos hopping across the outback and lions using their claws for effective pawing. It ends with an eagle resting, a panda stretching, and the young boy dozing and dreaming.

Rhymes use creative language, sometimes poetic license, to guide young readers’ eyes to the animal’s adaptations. The frog’s “leaping, lunging, lily pad plunging” plays with language but with a little assistance from the parent or teacher children will understand how the foot’s design makes the leaping and lunging off the lily pad possible. 

This playful exploration of science and language will appeal to early childhood level readers (three through seven year olds), in part because of the language but also because of Sherry Rogers’ colorful illustrations. She uses paper and pencils to form her images and a computer canvas with pixels to fill them with paint. The end result is delightful and very kid friendly.

Paws, Claws, Hands and Feet provides an engaging vehicle for teaching about animal anatomy and behavior and how animals use their equivalents of hands.  Arbordale Publishing extends the learning through enrichment activities in the back of this book.  As in all of their publications, this Arbordale book features resources for teachers (both traditional home school classrooms) and parents.   The last four pages contain supportive material: For Creative Minds (two different paws, claws, hands, and feet matching activities and one comparison of hands activity).  These will encourage multiple re-readings of the book with lots of new observations taking place. offers lessons in English and Spanish, teaching activities, quizzes, and related websites (child-friendly and animal specific sites) as well as alignments to standards (national and state). 

Creative use of language does on occasion draw upon poetic license and connections might seem a little vague such as a lion’s homestead pawing, but if you look close you see the lion is actually working through a log. The log is a homestead for a zillion decomposing organisms.  This asks readers and teachers to make a few leaps in levels of understanding, but that’s not necessarily a negative concept. This might have been clarified a little more in the Creative Minds matching activity.

If you teach young children using books like this you know how they love sharing personal experiences. They can’t wait and they squirm impatiently waiting for their turn.  The last page with the boy sound asleep in his bedroom surrounded by stuffed animals and a pet mouse will certainly initiate a lot of conversation and possibly repetition of the rhymes.  I see this as a valuable book that overlaps science and language development but also encourages observation. The very youngest readers might find themselves drifting off into nap time with visions of their favorite stuffed animals crawling and creeping off also for sleeping. 

Berger's Book Reviews - June 5, 2009

Kids may know they have feet with toes, but what kinds of feet do animals have? A boy and girl go on a nighttime dream journey of discovery to see for themselves. Vibrant rhyming phrases describe each animal’s activities using their feet. Colorful images created by Sherry Rogers show them digging, leaping, splashing and hopping. This nocturnal adventure takes the kids outside their home, off to the arctic, deep into Africa, and to the wilds of Australia to see the various animals. Finally the kids arrive back home to their own beds, surrounded by the animals they’ve gone to visit. The last section of this book includes a quiz matching the animals to the feet, as well as facts on the different types of feet. Paws, Claws, Hands and Feet is an active, rhythmic story that kids will enjoy reading over and over. A fresh look at the animals and their feet educates as well as entertains. This fun and informative book would make a great addition to any kid’s collection.

Reader Views - May 2009

I really liked this book about animals. I loved the drawing of the cute little animals. My favorite part of the story is when the kids’ bed is in the middle of a pond with frogs and fish jumping all around them. The boy even got his pajamas wet! And there was a frog in their dresser drawer! At the end of the story there are some games to play, I almost got every answer right. I learned a lot from “Paws, Claws, Hands, and Feet” about how different animals use their hands, feet, claws and paws. I can pick-up a marker with my toes!
-Reviewed by Sophia McElroy (age 6)

Angela Cerrito blog - May 1, 2009

The words are short rhythmic bursts of action. The illustrations follow a brother and a sister as they investigate the wonders of the animal world at night. This poem features animals everywhere from spiders and frogs to lions and elephants. The back pages are full of educational activities for the home or classroom. If you’re looking for poetry to hold the imagination and capture the attention of young toddlers this book is perfect! It will have them clamping their hands and stomping their feet. English and Spanish versions are available.

Wild About Nature - March 1, 2009

"Waking, shaking, feel the beat;/ paws, claws, hands and feet.."

So begins Kimberly Hutmacher's delightful debut picture book about a boy and his sister who take an imaginary trip to observe playful critters from Africa, Australia, the Antarctic and jungle. Focused on the various ways animals use their hands and feet, the siblings watch in fascination as a monkey climbs a tree, a frog leaps onto a lily pad, and a lion uses his claws to mark his territory.

Written in a poetic "terse verse" form, the simple rhymes leave room for the reader’s imagination, while vibrant, large-sized illustrations underscore each animal’s activities. One double page spread that depicts a benevolent elephant with the boy-adventurer riding atop his back, is pared with text that reads, "Roaming, romping/prairie stomping." The rhythmic text continues on the next page: "Hipping, hopping/outback bopping." Rogers’ cheery illustration portrays the delighted boy peeking at a kangaroo through his binoculars.

When the adventure ends, the boy falls asleep in his bedroom among his books and toys. Observant readers will enjoy searching this final illustration for the science and nature book titles on the boy’s bookshelf. They may also be delighted to notice that the stuffed animals represent the creatures featured in the story.

The four-page educational guide at the end of the book offers additional activities and fun facts about the various ways animals use their hands and feet. Further teaching materials can be found at the publisher’s website.

Yarns of the Heart blog - February 20, 2009

At first look, the book is beautiful. Sherry Rogers' illustrations are fun and bright with lots of details to discover and discuss. Kim's sparse text (sometimes just a few words to a page) is really poetry as she takes us into the dream of a little boy and girl. "Dipping, dashing, iceberg splashing..." is all she says about the penguins as the two children laugh and clap from their bed, but those four words completely convey the setting, the movement, and the sound of penguins playing. I can just imagine my kids loving this book in the preschool and early elementary stage. They'd have it memorized and be dancing around or acting it out with their stuffed animals. And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the four pages of extended activities in the back, especially for older kids. Then there's the publisher's website. I couldn't believe it when I found thirty pages of cross-curricular activities based on Paws, Claws, Hands and Feet - everything from coloring pages to research projects. Arbordale does this for all their books. Amazing. I love your book, Kim. You add delight to a science topic. Thank you.

Alice McGinty, Children's Book Author - March 2009

Paws, Claws, Hands and Feet is a romping rhyme that takes readers from backyard trees to arctic snow to African plains to show how different animals use their hands and feet to hop, clutch, spin, and cling. This book is full of energy and fun. Its creative approach and energetic language make it a great read aloud, and the end pages, with riddles, games, activities, and information, make it a terrific resource for parents and teachers. A great choice for the youngest readers on up!

Run of the Mill blog - February 2009

Paws Claws, Hands, and Feet is a quality publication by Arbordale Publishing with big bright glossy pages in a well bound book. The illustrations are vastly different than the others I have previewed. Much more cartoon like. It would appeal to a younger audience because of this, and the text is very short and simple and would be good for an older toddler for this reason. Though the age guide says 5-9, I would tend to think 2-4 would get the most out of it. My four year old said after the book: "monkeys have feet for swinging and mice have feet for scurrying!" This book read aloud by itself doesn't provide much actual information, so a parent ought to be prepared to add dialog and information while going through the book. For some parents who routinely enrich a read aloud session with dialog as they go along, that's a no brainier. But many parents don't know any differently then just reading from cover to cover and being done with it. So the information in the back of the book ("For Creative Minds") would provide a parent with the stepping stones to engaging their child. But again, this book ought to be previewed ahead of time by the parent, in order to gather this information, and in that way, it will enrich the reading time. The text of the book is rhyme with a beat, with no more than 15 words a spread. It's all about the different types of feet and hands different animals have and briefly, what it is they might do with them (digging, swinging, leaping, thumping, etc). The online teaching activities have some nice suggestions, and when you buy the book, you're buying a valuable resource in these additional downloads/printouts. For this book you can find things like: questions to ask before & after reading the book, writing prompts & thinking it through, vocabulary game, silly sentence structure activity, foot matching activity, label the squirrel adaptations, nature journal, sorting by attribute graph, and measuring (a foot is a foot is a foot). When you sit down with this book to read to your kids, be prepared to spend time pointing and talking as you go through it; you'll enjoy it so much more that way, and your kids will get a lot more out of it too!

Stories for Children Magazine - March 2009

What would you do if you woke up and found all kinds of animals in your bedroom, your yard, and all over the place?  Kimberly Hutmacher's rhyming text and Sherry Rogers's colorful illustrations show young readers how a couple of children find a squirrel in their bedroom, a monkey up a tree in their yard, and a spider hanging on their window.  They get to see frogs and fish in a pond, penguins in the Antarctic, elephants and lions in Africa, kangaroos in Australia, a gigantic turtle on an island, an eagle with its young in their nest, and a panda in a cave.  But did they really see it all, or were they just dozing and dreaming?

Arbordale books for children are so wonderful because they combine an interesting story that youngsters will enjoy with facts that they can absorb gently.  They will be fascinated as they join the animals in running, jumping, leaping, hopping--all of which kids like to do anyway, and then resting.  I especially appreciated the closing picture of the boy asleep with the open book on his bed.  It subtly encourages children to find adventures in reading.  At the end of Paws, Claws, Hands, and Feet there are four pages of "For Creative Minds" activities, and further information about "Related Websites" and "Teaching Activities" can be found at Arbordale Publishing's website to help parents and teachers to expand the learning possibilities.  I really liked this book!

Carol Peterson, Children's Book Author - March 2009

The lively rhythm of Kimberly Hutmacher’s Paws, Claws, Hands, and Feet makes us want to clap and march along as she introduces us to physical features and unique behaviors of her selected animals. The poetic charm of her verses (“Digging, dashing, acorn stashing”) encourages us to think how each animals’ “hands and feet” are similar to and different from our own. The Creative Minds section takes the learning a step farther with fun, age-appropriate activities and ideas how children might explore nature in more depth. Sherry Rogers’ colorful illustrations add a delightful side story with a sweet ending twist. Educators and parents will find Paws, Claws, Hands, and Feet to be a valuable teaching tool to help kids expand their understanding of animal life. Kids will just plain love it!

Reading to Know blog - February 26, 2009

Paws, Claws, Hands, and Feet is another offering from Sylvan (you'll start recognizing the style after awhile). This book is also told in rhyme and offers children the opportunity to learn about the way that various animal's feet, paws and claws (as the title suggests!) are different and unique. This book is suitable for very young toddlers as it is very simple in nature and more about the pictures and the animals themselves than it is about the words. However, at the end of the book there is a matching game where children are given additional and more detailed information about the function of each animal's foot and "hand" design.