Several weeks ago, I was listening to the Read Aloud Revival Podcast with guest Greta Eskridge from MaandPaModern blog. One of the many books mentioned were the Golden Guide Nature Books. I was so intrigued by Greta’s description of these nature guides, I immediately bought one. Since then, I’ve been buying one every few weeks. My kids have completely surprised me by how much they enjoy them, and I had to share them with you in a longer post than an Instagram picture square.
My kids LOVE them. These compact little books are overflowing with amazing tidbits, colorful illustrations and geographical maps. We will break the books down, but before we do that, I want to say that there has been a resurgence of interest in the Golden Guide books so they are actually being republished. The content is the same and the price is too, but the covers aren’t as worn as the older ones. We have both; I’ve been so impressed with how the older editions are holding up despite their age, and my kids’ desire to tote them around.
Measuring at about 8 inches tall, the Golden Guide Nature Books are perfect for kids who love to romp around outside and explore. We currently have Zoology, Seashore Life, Birds, and Insects. We are anticipating adding to our collection: Trees, Flowers, Stars, Reptiles and Amphibians, Weather, Mammals, Fishes, Rocks and Minerals, Gamebirds, Fossils, Pond Life, Butterflies and Moths, Dinosaurs, Snakes, Weeds, Herb Spices, and Seashells of the World. There are SO MANY to choose from! Sometimes, it’s hard to choose what to get next. We especially love watching birds in our backyard, so it’s nice to finally begin to identify the birds we aren’t familiar with. My kids have used the Golden Guides books to search out insects. When we go to the beach this summer, we will take the Seashore Life book to identify shells and ocean creatures we see. As we add to our collection, I’m loving the conversations the Golden Guide Nature books are creating. I also love how they are encouraging my kids to explore the outdoors even more.
The information in the guide is easy to read aloud. Each creature listed includes a carefully research paragraph describing the creature and a colored illustration of the creature. This paragraph is FULL of facts and identification notes about the creature. The Insect book also shows larva, so we have been able to identify ladybug larvae. My daughter especially loved seeeing all the different types of butterflies and it’s been very empowering for her to know the names and markings of the individual butterflies. Understanding the animals and creatures of our area provides my kids with a larger understanding of the roles the bugs and creatures play in the “circle of life” (to quote Lion King) in our backyard.
I especially loved how there are geographical maps to show where each insect and bird call home. This has been especially helpful so we can be on the look out for child life that is local to us, but to also know what is in different regions of the USA/Canada/South America.
Each time we get a new Golden Guide book, I fall more in love with this series. The illustrations are so incredible. Full-color illustrations with such great details. With the Bird Book, you see the layers of feathers, the number of toes, etc. The Zoology book contains facts of the animal kingdom. So if kids have questions about sweat glands, waste removal, survival tactics, flightless birds, identifying mammals, how a turkey hears vs. how a grasshopper hears, it’s all in the Zoology book. The Insects Book actually makes insects look…less creepy.
These aren’t the types of books you would sit down and read aloud, but they are the types of books you would use on nature hikes, or if you want your kids to appreciate looking up answers to their questions in books versus the Internet.