Animals & the City

Last year, a white-tailed deer in my neighborhood caused quite a stir.  We don’t see much large wildlife in my part of Minneapolis, so people who spotted the deer in the early morning hours weren’t sure at first if they were still dreaming or actually seeing a deer run down a busy city street.  I’m not sure how it got so far into the city or what happened to it, but I was thinking about that deer and other urban wildlife as I perused these books.

City Critters: Wildlife in the Urban Jungle by Nicholas Read. April 2012. 9781554693948. Gr. 4-6

Science writer Nicholas Read invites kids to look carefully around them to see just who (or what) shares their urban space.  He profiles all sorts of animals, including those that seem to turn up everywhere—like raccoons, skunks, squirrels, and coyotes—while pointing out that many kinds of urban wildlife are a new issue for city dwellers. He encourages kids to ask why things are changing.  This book is an opportunity to talk about animal habitats, adaptation, and conservation issues.

City Chickens  by Christine Hepperman. May 2012. 9780547518305. Gr. 4-6.

Chickens, of course, live on farms—even my preschool-age daughter knows this.  But sometimes they live in the city.  Actually, they live in my city, which was a surprise to me!  City Chickens profiles Chicken Run Rescue, an urban shelter for chickens who are lost, abused, or rescued; it was started by a Minneapolis couple who loved animals and felt bad for chickens that so often receive unfair treatment in factory farms.  This book is full of photographs that feature chickens front and center and is sure to change kids’ view of these animals.

Can We Share the World with Tigers? By Robert E. Wells. August 2012. 9780807510551. Gr. 1-4.

Obviously, tigers don’t live in the city—at least I hope not!—but cities still affect tigers and other animals because of the way that they disrupt the environment.  Robert Wells addresses children in this picture book that serves as an introduction to environmental science and conservation of resources. It can be hard to make the connection between our life in an urban or suburban area to the issues in ecosystems on the other side of the world, but Wells draws the connections and gives kids a realistic action plan for reducing their carbon footprint.  The final questions of the book just may inspire your young inventors, engineers, or scientists to start thinking about better ways to use the space we have so that we can leave room for tigers.

Since we have a couple of animal lovers who have contributed to Books in Bloom (I’m looking at you, Tracey and Kristin), we have several great posts featuring animal books that you may want to revisit if you missed them: Rescue Me: Shelter Dogs, Animal PoetryUnlikely Animal Friendships, and more!

Blogger:  Mindy R.