Friday, November 4, 2022

Lions and Ostriches and Elephants, Oh My!

 Today I’m sharing a couple books that feature animals: a counting book for the littles, and a nonfiction book about elephants for the 7-and-up crowd.

theme: rhyme, counting, elephants

Five Hiding Ostriches 
by Barbara Barbieri McGrath; illus by Riley Samels 
32 pages; ages 3-7
Charlesbridge, 2022

Five little ostriches, huddled in one spot. The first one said, “It’s getting rather hot.”

The second one adds an observation, then the third, fourth, and fifth… and when a lion is spotted it’s Stomp! Stomp! Stomp! through the brush. The ostriches want to hide, but what does the lion want? He isn’t interested in ostriches for supper.

What I like about this book: It’s a fun read-aloud about five worried birds – and their penchant for talking when they should be quiet. And a lion. And  a game of hide-and-seek. The illustrations show the savannah habitat where lions and ostriches hang out, though usually not together. What makes it a STEAM book are the fun ostrich facts revealed in the back matter. For example: they don’t really bury their heads in the sand. But they do try to disguise themselves as rocks. Back matter also includes a game kids can play with their friends.

Elephants!: Strange and Wonderful 
by Laurence Pringle; illus. by Meryl Learnihan Henderson 
32 pages; ages 7-10
Astra Young Readers (Boyds Mills), 2021   

From the jacket: The trunks of elephants are remarkable, but so are their feet, teeth, ears, and skin. Elephants walk on their tiptoes and despite their size move very quietly. Their wrinkled skin holds water and their ears act as air conditioners…

The book opens with a comparison of Asian and African elephants. Pringle shows the ways elephants use their trunks, their teeth and tusks, and gives readers a glimpse into their family lives. He also includes the way humans have interacted with elephants, from mythology to the ways people have used them to help haul things and as transportation.

What I like about this book: I like the comparison of modern elephants with prehistoric pachyderms – and yes, that word is used. Thankfully there’s a glossary at the back! Another thing at the end of the book is a section about environmental issues and threats to elephants, including the ivory trade.

Beyond the Books:

Find out more about ostriches and lions. San Diego Zoo has a page about ostriches at 

Make up your own hide-and-seek game about lions and ostriches, or wild animals that live in your area.

Make some elephant art. Younger kids might have fun making elephants out of a handprint. And you can find out more about elephants at

Today we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. On Monday we'll be hanging out at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday with other  bloggers. It's over at Greg Pattridge's blog, Always in the Middle, so hop over to see what other people are reading. Review copies provided by the publisher.


  1. Kids love books about animals. These sound great. Thanks for sharing them.

  2. My niece and nephew are still too young for these but I think they sound great, and ones to watch out for in the future!

  3. These both so wonderful, thank you for sharing them for MMGM. Have a lovely week

  4. What wonderful shares today! I absolutely love elephants and studying them. Am fascinated with how smart they are and how they warn other elephants, or communicate food through the pounding of their feet. And, I also love the ostrich book -- what a fun introduction for young readers! These would make excellent gift books. Thanks for sharing.

  5. KIds and their love of animals will be lined up to read this one. Elephants are unique creatures and this makes a great introduction to their characteristics. Thanks for featuring your review on today's MMGM.

  6. Five Hiding Ostriches sounds really clever and cute. Elephants are strange and wonderful. I'm going to have to check out both of these books. Thanks for the heads up.