David McPhail
McPhail talks about his love for being an artist.

Common Core State Standards
I Like to Read Books
Holiday House eBooks

Classroom Picks . . . Informational Texts

The following fun and educational books, all available in paperback and e-book formats, present amazing facts about nature and the world.

This Month's Picks

by Gail Gibbons
Gail Gibbons, Illustrator

Grades: FIRST

K-3: RI.2, 6, 7

Beavers are fascinating animals. They build their own homes and live in family groups. They keep busy with their sharp teeth, powerful tails, and big webbed feet. Their work helps to preserve wetlands. Gibbons explores where they live, what they eat, how they raise their young, and much more.


"Gibbons is a master at creating factual books through which young readers can explore details of nature at an acessible and engaging depth. Her latest uses narrative text, generous and accurate watercolor illustrations, and informative inset boxes to show and tell readers about the habits, environments, family structure, and anatomy of the beaver. . . . As both a read-aloud and a resource for children in the earliest grades looking for a research source, this stands as a model."—Booklist

"A great source for learning more about beavers and an incentive to get out in nature and see their handiwork."—Kirkus Reviews

Things That Float and Things That Don't
by David A. Adler
Anna Raff, Illustrator

Grades: FIRST

K-2: RI. 3,7

It can be surprising which objects float and which don't. An apple floats, but a ball of aluminum foil does not. If that same ball of foil is shaped into a boat, it floats! Why? And how is it possible that a huge ship made of steel can float? Answering these questions about density and flotation is David A. Adler's clear, concise text, paired with Anna Raff's delightful illustrations. Activities that demonstrate the properties of flotation are included.


★ "Adler shows his customary skill for explicating mathematical concepts in this smart exploration of floatation and density."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

★"It's rare to find a picture book that uses simple, hands-on activities so successfully, leading young children to a fuller understanding of a scientific concept." —Booklist (starred review)

"This title supports the Common Core State Standards that focus on measurement skills, interpretation of data, and incorporation of key ideas and details in the text. Recommended for math collections in public and school libaries and classroom shelves."—School Library Journal

What Am I? Where Am I?
An I Like to Read® Book Level C
by Ted Lewin
Ted Lewin, Illustrator


K: RF.3, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 4, RL.1-10
1: RF.1, 1a, 3, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3g, 4, 4a, 4b, 4c, RL.1-9
2: RL.1-7

What am I? I am a lion.
Where am I? I am in grassland.

Majestic paintings by Caldecott Honor winner Ted Lewin illustrate a guessing game that fosters an appreciation of both art and science, while introducing animals in the five major biomes: grassland, dessert, forest, tundra, and water.

Inspired by his many travels, classically inspired compositions communicate the regal magnificence of five stunning animals: lion, camel, tiger, reindeer, and sea otter. The story ends with a painting of a child and text that reads: I am a boy. I am on the beautiful earth.


"A straight forward guessing game connects iconic animals to their habitat . . . will make even pre-readers feel competent."—Kirkus Reviews

An excellent choice."—Booklist

About the Series
I Like to Read®
books are picture books written and illustrated so that even the newest reader can enjoy a satisfying, quality literary experience. The books in the series are written at kindergarten and early first grade reading levels.

"These books deftly combine text and art to create a positive experience for new readers."—School Library Journal

"This series dares to make entertaining reads from short texts and familiar vocabulary"—Kirkus Reviews

"Each one makes the hard world of learning to read enough fun to encourage children at this critical developmental moment to try another one."Vicky Smith, Children's and YA Editor at Kirkus Reviews

Click here for flash cards for each book, educator's materials for the series and the complete listing of I Like to Read® books!

Best Foot Forward
Exploring Feet, Flippers, and Claws
by Ingo Arndt
Ingo Arndt, Illustrator

Grades: SECOND

K-1: RI. 2, 5, 6, 10
2: RI. 5, 7

Whose foot is this? An intriguing close-up of an animal's foot piques curiosity that's satisfied on the following page with a stunning full size photo of the animal itself and a brief description of how the foot is used.

A tiger stalks its prey on velvet paws. A gecko's ribbed feet enable it to climb walls as smooth as glass. The mole uses its feet for digging. The webbed feet of a duck help it swim. Rabbits and kangaroos have feet adapted for jumping fast and far. Caterpillars, starfish, and octopuses all use their feet to grab hold. The guessing-game format makes learning about natural adaptation fun. Includes an index of all animals featured.


"This will be a popular choice for libraries because of its fascinating facts and art presentation."—School Library Journal

"Through striking photographs of the undersides of animal feet, a wild life photographer demonstrates how they reflect an animal's size, speed, and mode of travel . . . appealing in its simplicity."—Kirkus Reviews

Hide-and-Seek Science
Animal Camouflage
by Emma Stevenson
Emma Stevenson, Illustrator

Grades: SECOND

1-4: RI.7
2: RI. 6

This stunning book looks at how animals use camouflage in several distinct ecosystems spanning the globe: swamp (Florida Everglades), desert (Africa's Sahara), rain forest (South America's Amazon), deciduous forest (Europe), arctic (North America), and coral reef (Australia's Great Barrier Reef). For each habitat, a lush full-page spread is followed by the key that explains how each animal uses camouflage and where it can be found in the preceding spread.


"The stunning gouache illustrations are magical and enhance this crowd-pleasing introduction to various environments and their wildlife."—School Library Journal

"Stevenson's engrossing way of hiding animals makes the book as much art as science."—Booklist