You may have noticed a few more posts about children’s STEM books lately. That is because I’m a judge for the nonfiction category of the 2018 Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards or Cybils. Over the next few months I’ll be sharing some of the fantastic children’s books which have been nominated for the award.

Let’s start with the new picture book Cute as an Axolotl: Discovering the World’s Most Adorable Animals (The World of Weird Animals) by Jess Keating and with illustrations by David DeGrand.

The premise of this book is simple. Find 17 incredibly cute animals from around the world. Include close up stock photographs to show readers what the animals look like and talk about their characteristics. Present details such as where the animals are found, what they eat, and what eats them in a colorful sidebar that will please kids writing reports. It’s an easy formula.

Although the axolotl on the cover might not meet everyone’s definition of cute, most the author’s included will make you say, “Aww!”

For example, check out the Japanese dwarf flying squirrel in this video. (You might want to turn down the sound before playing).

Yes, that is beyond adorable.

So, where’s the science? In the back is a discussion of the features that make an animal look cute to us and why it might benefit the animal. For example, why is this flying squirrel so cute? Not only does it have big eyes, but it also has a ring of black fur around them to make the eyes look even larger. Large eyes is one trait that humans find appealing.

Cute as an Axolotl is sure to melt the heart of the most reluctant of reluctant readers. Add in the science potential and this book ticks all the boxes for great nonfiction.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (August 28, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1524764477
ISBN-13: 978-1524764470


Disclosure:  The book was provided by my local library.  Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

One of the animals featured is a bee fly. Do you think it is cute? Why might the authors have chosen it?