Celebrations, Coalitions, and Cackles. Oh, my!

First things first. My last post included a giveaway, so I’m happy to announce that the WINNERS of the newest Explore My World books from National Geographic Kids are:

Baby Animals – Katy Duffield

Nighttime – Kathy Doherty

Congrats, you two, and a big THANK YOU to all who entered. Katy and Kathy, please e-mail me privately (through my website) so I can get your books into the mail.

The next order of business is, um, ANOTHER giveaway. I’m feeling a little weird about being such a book-release hog this summer, but it’s only happening because I spent last summer typing my phalanges to nubs. Today, another in the Angry Birds Playground series debuts. That is the Question & Answer Book:  A Who, What, Where, When, Why and How Adventure. And it’s a blast. The Nat Geo Kids book team is phenomenal…which isn’t any kind of revelation to the world. Just saying. But that’s not the book I’m giving away today (sorry), because my first official nonfiction picture book comes out August 4th, so that’s the one I want to share. Take a gander:

Animal Groups_CoverPretty cover, no? And the inside is an absolute feast for the eyes, featuring the dazzling photos of legendary wildlife photographer Frans Lanting (read about his awesomeness here)

Frans has written a lovely forward that tells about his career photographing wildlife around the world. Each gorgeous spread shows one particular group of animals in their natural habitat, a paragraph about that animal, and a small corner box containing a couple of fun facts. Did you know, for instance, that the Atlantic puffin can swim underwater for up to one minute? That a sea otter’s hair grows so densely that its skin stays dry? That the heart of a giraffe weighs as much as a car tire?

Featured animals include cheetahs, polar bears, Atlantic puffins, sea otters, zebras, monarch butterflies, hyenas, monkeys, macaws, and giraffes. Back matter contains more facts about each animal, a list of other animals and their group names, and a world map showing where Frans’s photos were taken. Oh, and there’s even a short, fun quiz.

Does this sound educational, as well as lovely? Well, guess what? One of the Common Core’s language standards for 2nd graders is this:  Use collective nouns (L.2.1a). This book makes that concept easy-peasy for kiddos.

Sound like a book that might trip your trigger? Leave a comment by THIS SATURDAY, and I’ll draw a name at random and have Jennifer announce the winner in her post next Tuesday (August 4th).

Good luck!


P.S.  Did you read Kevan’s fantastic and heartwarming post of last week? Pat Zietlow Miller and I were there, too, and we caught a quick pic for Picture Book Builders. (Kevan’s the one in the middle.)



Jill Esbaum

Jill Esbaum has been picture book crazy since her 3 kids were little, and especially so after her first was published in 2004 (Stink Soup). Recent titles: Jack Knight's Brave Flight, Where'd My Jo Go?, Frog Boots, How to Grow a Dinosaur, Frankenbunny, If a T. Rex Crashes Your Birthday Party, Elwood Bigfoot– Wanted: Birdie Friends!, Teeny Tiny Toady, I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo!, and more. Coming in May of 2023: Stinkbird Has a Superpower. She's also the author of many nonfiction books for young readers, as well as an early graphic reader series, Thunder & Cluck. Learn more at http://jillesbaum.com.


  1. Congratulations on this new book! It looks wonderful and fits right into curriculum!

  2. my 3 daughters and i would love to get our hands on your book…we’ll watch for it at our fall book fair. congrats:)!

  3. Can’t wait to read it! Love the pic too!

    I can’t even imagine how spectacular this book is inside!

  5. Congrats on yet another cool book! Love the way the animals’ heads are peeking out from their squares on the cover. Nice to see your photo with Kevan and Pat too 🙂

  6. Great job with N.G., Jill!! Can’t wait to buy copies for gifts!

  7. The new book (like all the others!) looks fantastic!

    I’m excited to be the winner of BABY ANIMALS. I know my sweet 14-month-old granddaughter will love it. Thank you SO much!

  8. What a beautiful book! Can’t wait to see the rest of it!

  9. This looks great! I’ve always find it fascinating to learn what different groups of animals are called. Congrats on another book release!

    • One thing I found out while researching that surprised me: There are really no “official” group names, just whatever people begin calling them. A San Diego zoo expert told me that the people who work there simply call them “groups” no matter what animal they’re working with.

  10. Looks fantastic! So happy to see your new book coming out, perfect !

  11. What a beautiful book! And I just love that you’ve incorporated such interesting facts into its pages. This is sure to be constantly OFF the shelves of libraries.

  12. So beautiful! My daughter loves animals and she would LOVE this book. Congrats on your first nonfiction PB, Jill!

    • I’ll put you into the drawing, Lori. And thanks! Finally having one published makes me want to do more. 😉

  13. I love National Geographic Kids books and can’t wait to see this one!

  14. Love to read interesting facts about animals alongside gorgeous photographs. Can’t wait to get my hands on this book – it looks beautiful! Congratulations

    • Thanks, Andrea. If you like gorgeous photos, be sure to check out Frans’s site. Scrolling through them gave me goosebumps.

  15. Congratulations, Jill! 🙂

  16. This looks like a great book — and not just for second graders. My preschool granddaughter would love it!

  17. Many, many congratulations, Jill! I’m looking forward to reading this book.

  18. Congrats! I can’t wait to see the back story AND the photos! So cool that you are publishing with Nat Geo.

  19. The cover is so inviting! Will be watching for this one.

  20. Congratulations on the new book! It sounds wonderful. I love that nonfiction is so “kid friendly” and “curriculum friendly” now. That’s a winning combination!

  21. Love the photos, and such a fun idea. I loved nature books when I was a kid, and I this one grabbed my interest right away.

    • Me, too (nature). My family did a LOT of camping at national forests and the like. Those close-to-nature experiences obviously stuck with me.

  22. Another first to add to a long list of firsts for you. Congratulations Jill!
    May many more nonfiction books follow this one.

  23. Congratulations! Collective nouns are FUN!

  24. Congratulations on your new book. It looks gorgeous. 🙂

  25. Thanks, Bridget. Good thing they didn’t have to rely on ME for the photos. 😉

  26. Your new book looks beautiful! Congratulations on your successes!

  27. Thank you, Angela. 🙂

  28. Collective nouns!! Oh my!

    Can’t wait to lay my hands on this book.


  29. What a great picture of smiling friends! And— congratulations on yet ANOTHER beautiful book!!!!!!

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