Literature Connections to
Aquatic Habitats

Teacher's Guides > Aquatic Habitats

At the Edge of the Pond
The Day They Parachuted Cats on Borneo: A Drama of Ecology
An Elephant Never Forgets Its Snorkel
Hatchet
Incognito Mosquito Makes History
Incognito Mosquito, Private Insective

Incognito Mosquito Takes to the Air

Julie
The Missing ’Gator of Gumbo Limbo: An Ecological Mystery
The Old Ladies Who Liked Cats
Pond Year
The Salamander Room
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears: A West African Tale


At the Edge of the Pond
by Jennifer Owings Dewey
Little, Brown, Boston. 1987
Grades: 1–4
With soft illustrations and poetic text, this book describes life in different areas in and around a pond—at the surface of the pond, along the shoreline, in deep water, and at the bottom of the pond—as well as at different times of the day. In each area and at all times of the day, the pond teems with life.

The Day They Parachuted Cats on Borneo: A Drama of Ecology
by Charlotte Pomerantz; illustrated by Jose Aruego
Young Scott Books/Addison-Wesley, Reading, Massachusetts. 1971
Out-of-print
Grades: 4–7
This cautionary verse, based on a true story, relates how spraying for mosquitoes in Borneo eventually affected the entire food chain, from cockroaches, geckoes, cats, and rats to the river and the farmer. This story illustrates the possible negative consequences of human intervention. The strong, humorous text makes the book a success whether read out loud or performed as a play. The explanation of the food chain makes a nice connection to Aquatic Habitats.

An Elephant Never Forgets Its Snorkel: How Animals Survive Without Tools and Gadgets
by Lisa Gollin Evans; illustrated by Diane de Groat
Crown Publishers, New York. 1992
Grades: 3–6

Contains eighteen analogies between human and animal behavior, showing how animals use their bodies in place of the tools, gadgets, and equipment on which humans depend. For example, humans must use a tall ladder to pick fruit from a tree, but giraffes, with their long legs and neck, can graze treetops with ease. A great book about the adaptations of a variety of animals, a subject students can begin to explore through Aquatic Habitats.

Hatchet
by Gary Paulsen
Bradbury Press/Macmillan, New York. 1987
Puffin/Viking Penguin, New York. 1988
Grades: 6–12
After a plane crash, 13-year-old Brian must survive alone in the Canadian wilderness. He slowly learns how to provide shelter, fire, and food for himself. He follows some birds to a bush full of berries and learns how valuable it is to observe the animals around him and adapt to his new environment. In several parts of the book Brian is plagued with clouds of mosquitoes and devises ways to avoid them. He also learns about fish as he works to catch them for food.

Incognito Mosquito Makes History
by E. A. Hass; illustrated by Don Madden
Random House, New York. 1987
Grades: 4–7
In this book, the famous insective travels back in time to solve five mysteries involving such notables as Christopher Columbug, Benetick Arnold, Buffalo Bill Cootie, Tutankhamant, and Robin Hoodlum.

Incognito Mosquito, Private Insective
by E. A. Hass
Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, New York. 1982
Grades: 4–7
In this book, the first of several, the mosquito detective tells a cub reporter of his exploits and encounters with such insect notables as Mickey Mantis, F. Flea Bailey, and the Warden of Sting Sting Prison. In each chapter, the detective tells of a past case whose solution is at first left for the reader to solve; the final page of the chapter then gives the solution.

Incognito Mosquito Takes to the Air
by E. A. Hass; illustrated by Don Madden
Random House, New York. 1986
Grades: 4–7
While appearing on a TV talk show, the famous insect detective describes his adventures outwitting malefactors and solves a mystery on the air. A very humorous book absolutely overflowing with subtle puns.

Julie
by Jean Craighead George; illustrated by Wendell Minor
HarperCollins, New York. 1994
Grades 4–Adult
As the sequel to Julie of the Wolves, this book continues the saga of Julie, a brave and wise Eskimo young woman who lives with her father and his new wife on the North Slope of Alaska. For the benefit of the whole village, Julie must protect a captive herd of musk oxen from her pack of wolves. This book is rich with information about the Arctic ecosystem. Adaptations are frequently mentioned, and the interactions and interdependence of the Arctic animals are often emphasized. Julie recalls an elder's words: "We are all here for each other; the Eskimos, the mammals, the river, the ice, the sun, plants, birds, and fish." Other strong messages in the book are that the habitat provides for the needs of animals and humans; careful observation leads to understanding; and populations of animals are controlled by other animals and by humans. With messages like these, this book is an excellent literature connection for Aquatic Habitats.

The Missing ’Gator of Gumbo Limbo: An Ecological Mystery
by Jean Craighead George
HarperCollins, New York. 1992
Grades: 4–7
Sixth-grader Liza K and her mother live in a tent in the Florida Everglades. She becomes a nature detective while searching for Dajun, a giant alligator who plays a part in a waterhole’s oxygen-algae cycle, yet is marked for extinction by local officials. The book is full of detail about the region’s flora and fauna and its interaction with humans. In her forword to the book, the author states that human beings did not weave the web of life, but are a strand in it. "Now that we know what we have done to the web, we see that our role as an intelligent animal is to mend it. There are millions of Gumbo Limbo Holes on this earth, from a city window box or vacant lot to streams and lakes to the wilderness areas of Alaska."

The Old Ladies Who Liked Cats
by Carol Greene; illustrated by Loretta Krupinski
HarperCollins, New York. 1991
Grades: K–6

When the old ladies are no longer allowed to let their cats out at night, the delicate balance of their island ecology is disturbed, with disastrous results. Based on Charles Darwin’s story about clover and cats, this ecological folk tale demonstrates the interrelationships of plants and animals. This book could prompt a discussion of interrelationships in the classroom aquatic habitats.

Pond Year
by Kathryn Lasky; illustrated by Mike Bostock
Candlewick Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1995
Grades: K–3

This is the delightful story of two girls (best friends who call each other "scum chums") who love exploring a backyard pond. Written from the point of view of one of the girls, the story tells the changes that occur in the pond throughout the year. As the girls observe and interact with many different plants and animals, science facts are imparted to the reader. A great book to foster an appreciation for the diversity of life in a pond, and the value of exploring a natural environment. Students can compare the changes described in the pond with the changes in their own "desktop" ponds.

The Salamander Room
by Anne Mazer; illustrated by Steve Johnson
Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 1991
Grades: K–3
A little boy finds an orange salamander in the woods and thinks of the many things he can do to turn his bedroom into a perfect salamander home. In the process, the habitat requirements of a forest floor dweller are nicely described.

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears: A West African Tale
retold by Verna Aardema; illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon
Dial Press, New York. 1975
Grades: K–6
This retold West African folk tale cleverly explains why mosquitoes buzz in people’s ears, and how the owl’s call is what makes the sun rise each morning. In a folk-tale sort of way, the interconnectedness of animals and the disastrous consequences of a simple action are illuminated in this story.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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