Children's Bookshelf - August 2016
View previous Children's Bookshelf Articles

Pokémon GO and the Incredible Real-Life Creatures
to be Discovered Right Outside Your Door
by Gretchen L. Durley

Pokémon GO, a free-to-play, location-based, augmented reality, mobile game, was released on July 6 and already has a huge following. If you’re not familiar with Pokémon GO, the game encourages players to explore real world places and gather virtual Pokémon creatures. Digital goodies that enhance game play are located at cultural sites, including parks, memorials, museums and libraries, but the virtual Pokémon can be found pretty much anywhere.

Pokémon GO doesn’t require players to constantly refer to their devices while exploring neighborhoods and cultural locations. Sound and/or vibration will notify players of the presence of Pokémon, so there can be “down time” while you just enjoy being outside!

When the Pokémon are hard to find — due to server lag or entering a Pokémon desert — there is still so much to see and discover all around you! Use these books to start a real-life creature hunt!

Connecticut author and illustrator John Himmelman offers two great books for children that will introduce them to the rich variety of life right outside their front door. Highlighting each frog’s distinctive and unique sound, Noisy Frog Sing-along tempts kids to join the chorus! Himmelman has also written Noisy Bug Sing-along and others.

Written as catchy chants that beg to be read aloud, April Pulley Sayre’s Trout, Trout, Trout!: A Fish Chant, Ant, Ant, Ant!: An Insect Chant, or Bird, Bird, Bird!: A Chirping Chant introduces children to a wide spectrum of North American fish, insects and birds. While Sayre mentions species living all over the country, endpapers give more information to help children find which particular animals live in their area!

Angela DiTerlizzi’s Some Bugs is a quick read, but kids will pore over the detailed illustrations looking for hidden critters, like they might do when exploring the underside of a fallen log or large stone. Pair this with Doreen Cronin’s Diary of a Spider for more fun.

The fine book, Over in the Forest: Come and Take a Peek by Marianne Berkes, is an adaptation of the popular folk song and, like the original, it can be sung or read. Berkes introduces 10 animals found in deciduous forests and children can examine the illustrations to find the tracks of the mother, count the babies and learn a little about the activities of each species. Extensive backgrounds provide additional information. Berkes has written several other eco-friendly books, including Over on the Mountain and Over in the Coral Reef.

In Robin, Where Are You? by Harriet Ziefert, a girl and her grandfather go birdwatching together in hopes of seeing a robin. Although that bird remains elusive, they witness several other birds during their walk, and grandfather shares some interesting facts about each. A dramatic foldout enhances the final pages of the story.

Another book that uses counting as a framework for its informational text, Birdsongs by Betsy Franco introduces readers to 10 common backyard birds and the cheerful sounds they make. Stunning collage illustrations by Steve Jenkins will help readers identify some of these birds in their own neighborhoods. Additional information is available.

Cathryn Sill’s books, including About Birds, About Insects, About Mammals and more, serve as a child’s first guidebooks. With simple text and life-like watercolors, children are introduced to a selection of both common and uncommon species. These books focus on animal features and behaviors common within each group, and are ideal for very young outdoor explorers.

Non-fiction books can provide additional information for children looking to expand their knowledge of the natural world. In Nicola Davies’ Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature, each double-page spread includes a poem revealing information about animals that children may see in the wild. Sections are organized by seasons. This is a beautiful book that successfully combines scientific fact and art.

There are many books available for children of all ages that educate and excite. Ask your librarian for more recommendations. Happy exploring!

Upcoming Events at the Meriden Public Library

The Meriden Public Library, like many other libraries in Connecticut, offers passes for free or reduced admission to a rich variety of museums and cultural sites in CT, MA or RI, including any state park in Connecticut, Beardsley Zoo, Mystic Aquarium, the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History and more. Call or stop by your local library to inquire about the museum pass program.

Each Thursday in August and September from 4-6 p.m., children can practice reading aloud to one of three trained therapy dogs. Parents can sign children up to read for approximately 15 minutes during each program. Spots are limited, and registration is required.  This program is open to beginning readers through fourth graders.

Don’t forget, the Meriden Public Library, and all public libraries in Connecticut, are Pokémon GO gyms — virtual AND real-life places to play, learn and develop your skills!

The Meriden Public Library is located at 105 Miller Street. For more information, call 203-630-6347 or visit

Gretchen L. Durley is the Head of Children’s Services at the Meriden Public Library.




© 2018 All Rights Reserved.

Connecticut Parent Magazine
420 East Main Street, Suite 18
Branford, CT 06405