Teaching Life Science with Children’s Literature: Animals Animals



“Every insect(ant, fly, bee)

Is divided into three:

One head, one chest, one stomach part.

Some have brains,

All have a heart.” – Dorothy Aldis


Filled with full page illustrations by the famous writer/ illustrator Eric Carle and animal poems from famous names such as Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, Rudyard Kipling, Emily Dickenson, and others, Animals Animals is the ultimate resource for elementary school teachers.  Some poems, geared towards younger audiences, are silly anecdotes on familiar animals such as Benjamin Franklin’s short poem The Butterfly:”What is a Butterfly? At best, he’s but a caterpillar fully dressed.”

Others delve into some of the more exotic animals and behaviors such as Arnold Sundgaard’s poem The Duck Billed Platypus:


“The duck billed platypus isn’t easy to imagine,
of all the earthly creatures he is most unique,
lays eggs like a bird but suckles like an animal,
and swims like a fish at the bottom of the creek.”


Each of these wonderful poems and illustration addresses different animals around the world both great and small, normal and unique, tame and wild, and silly and terrifying. Teacher’s will love using this book as an introduction to animals of all kinds or to use the animal index in the back to add to animal study one by one. Each subject is listed in alphabetical order in the back as well as by first line of each poem so you can always find just what you are looking for!


Curriculum Connections

As well as being a perfect introduction to poems and rhyme, Animals Animals is the ultimate teachers guide to animals, environment, life processes, and behaviors. Kindergarten and first grade students will learn about animals and their basic needs as well as certain physical characteristics which make each animal unique. Some of the characteristics discussed in various poems include body coverings, body shape, appendages, and method of movement (VA SOL K.6, 1.5). Older students through fourth grade will learn the difference between wild and tame, make a distinction between land and water dwelling animals, discuss the various methods animals have for finding and storing food and shelter, and learn how different animals raise their young (VA SOL 3.4).

Additional Resources

  • Kinderart provides a fun and hands-on art activity in which students will research an animal and create an Eric Carle like tissue paper collage.
  • Enchanted Learning provides printable worksheets in which students can draw and compare two animals from Eric Carle’s story. Questions include comparing size, speed, color, and weight.
  • Proteacher provides a lesson plan in which students can use what they know about an animal to write an informational poems like authors from the book.

 General Information

  • Book:  Animals Animals

  • Arranged by/ Illustrated by:  Eric Carle

  • Publisher: Puffin Books

  • Publication Date:1989

  • Pages: 90

  • Grade range:  K to 3rd grade

  • ISBN:9780698118553

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