It's a Hummingbird's Life
What is a hummingbird’s life like? It’s busy, busy, busy! From morning to night, spring to winter, these tiny birds work nonstop. They eat more than eight times their weight in nectar every day and migrate hundreds of miles to Mexico every winter. On top of that, they perform amazing aerial stunts with their rotating wings, which beat more than three thousand times every minute!
This artfully designed and illustrated book is brimming with facts about ruby-throated hummingbirds. It offers an intimate view of the small but fascinating world of these jewel-like birds.
What the Press Had to Say:
“Illustrated in soft watercolors with light type that swirls and swoops across the page like its subjects…It’s a Hummingbird’s Life is likely to be inspiring for young ornithologists, and may appeal as well to the more mechanically minded, who will be fascinated to read that a hummingbird’s wings can rotate in a full circle ‘just like a helicopter’s blades.’ A terrific job.” –The New York Times
"This title will fly off the shelves.” - School Library Journal (starred review)
“Sweet, colorful, and fluttery, this bright little jewel is as cheerful as the bird it depicts.” – Kirkus Reviews
“A fact-filled, exquisitely illustrated glance at some of the world’s smallest birds.” – Nick Jr. Magazine
A John Burroughs List of Nature Books for Young Readers Selection, 2003
A Nick Jr. Magazine Best Book for Kids, 2003
A Society of School Librarians International Honor Book, 2003
Bank Street College Best Children’s Books of the Year Selection, 2003
It's A Butterfly's Life
What is a butterfly’s life? It’s full of twists and turns as a butterfly glides on air currents.
It’s full of dips and dives as a butterfly show off for its mate. The most awe-inspiring event in a butterfly’s life is its metamorphosis, as it changes from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis, and finally emerging as a spectacular butterfly. Awash in brilliantly hued watercolor paintings, It’s a Butterfly’s Life is a vibrant exploration of the lives of these exquisite winged beauties.
A John Burroughs List of Nature Books for Young Readers, 2008
Outstanding Science Book for Children, National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), 2008
What the press had to say:
“With a simple, informative text and detailed illustrations, this picture book introduces young children to exciting scientific detail about butterflies. The entomology in simple words and delicately modeled ink, watercolor, and gouache artwork will make kids look closely at the natural world around them; some kids may even want to take up the suggestion to plant a butterfly garden.” - Booklist
“This entertaining book allows children to comprehend the complexity of the natural world, and it will encourage their appreciation of butterflies…this is a delightful book to share with children and would be a splendid resource for reports…” - School Library Journal
“Almost any five-year-old can tell you the basics of a butterfly’s life. The little egg lands on a leaf. The caterpillar hatches, eats an enormous amount, forms a chrysalis and then- a beautiful butterfly! Kelly, in this superb companion to It’s A Hummingbird’s Life (2003), takes these facts to a detailed and altogether fascinating level…The watercolor illustrations are clear and vibrant, with different species of butterflies clearly labeled. A book that proves science nonfiction can be accurate, factual and completely engrossing, this is a must for libraries and any curious nature lovers.” - Kirkus
Even an Octopus Needs a Home
Even an Octopus Needs a Home
A mother polar bear and her cubs snuggle up inside a snowdrift…twenty million bats hang out together in a single cave…a clever spider finds shelter in an underwater bubble. No matter where they live, animals find a way to make homes that are just right for them and their families. Dive into this book and discover how all kinds of different animals stay safe and snug.
Publication date: Fall 2011
Winner - International Reading Association (IRA), Teacher's Choice Award, K–12.
Winner - Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Book Award–Gold Seal, K–12.
Winner - Children's Book Council, Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students, K–12.
Winner – National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), Outstanding Science Trade Book, K–12.
Selected for Indiana Science Tradebook Annual Reading (INSTAR), list of outstanding literature for children, K–12.
What the press had to say:
"Using illustrations done in watercolor, gouache, and pen and ink, Kelly introduces various animal homes…The artist's palette skillfully broadens to accommodate each habitat, from the Great Barrier Reef to the brown bear's winter den. The well-labeled paintings are realistic and range from close-ups to a span of ocean floor. The baby bat peeping out from its mother's wing embrace is charming. The informational bits are ideal in length; they're great for fast-fact lovers but will tease out further study in many cases. The important message of environmental stewardship-"all animals…need homes for the same reason: to have a safe and snug place to live and raise a family"-should resonate with children." - School Library Journal
Even an Octopus Needs a Home explores the theme of every living thing needing a safe place to live by categorizing the types of habitats created by animals…Each section tells what materials are used and how the animal builds the home. Several "wow" facts are included which makes for fun nonfiction…Each animal feature is accompanied by bright watercolor illustrations and fascinating information that will energize young nonfiction fans. This is the perfect book if you teach a unit on animal homes. I could see kindergarten and first grade students creating booklets of animal homes based on this book. Whole classes or small groups could create Venn diagrams that contrast different homes within a category or across categories. I might have an "Animal Home of the Day" and feature a different animal perhaps accompanied by other photographs and/or United Streaming video if that is available to you. There are several possible uses to Even an Octopus Needs a Home, so find a copy for your animal units in science. - NCteacherstuff.blogspot.com
Building on her successful Even an Ostrich Needs a Nest (2009), Kelly expands the concept to describe how others in the animal world make and find safe places for rest, safety and rearing their young. From chimpanzees building temporary sleeping platforms each night to male Siamese fighting fish hiding eggs in a mass of bubbles, the author-illustrator offers a wide variety of examples. These are loosely organized by type: A tree house, tower, lodge, cave, burrow or bubble can serve as a temporary or permanent home. It might even be floating or mobile. Illustrations done in watercolor, gouache, pen and ink surround an informal narrative set in wavy lines on each page…- Kirkus Reviews
Even an Ostrich Needs a Nest
Even an Ostrich Needs a Nest
What does a bird need to build a nest? Murres don’t need anything at all. They simply lay their eggs right on the edges of cliffs. A Hammerkop needs sticks – about six thousand – plus feathers, snakeskins, and trash for decoration. From the Carmine Bee-eater that laboriously digs an eight-foot-long tunnel to the carefree cuckoo that leaves her eggs in the nests of strangers, every species finds a unique place to raise their young in this intriguing look at nests.
Publication date: Spring 2009
Winner-NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) Outstanding Science Trade Book, 2010
What the press had to say:
“ From emperor penguins that protect their eggs with their belly fat to the elaborate bowerbirds that spend months creating a mating spot, this intriguing book describes and illustrates how creative and exacting birds can be when building an abode…What’s most fascinating is the amazing diversity represented, including some very clever birds that literally sew, steal, or decorate their nests, as well as those whose structures are big enough to hold a human. Done in watercolor, gouache, acrylic, and ink, the illustrations are simple and appealing. Packed with visual appeal and interesting information, this book is well worth sharing.” – School Library Journal
“From the North American bald eagle to the Australian brush-turkey, the nesting habits of 40 different birds are briefly explored. Kelly’s conversational style conveys the breadth of these often-unusual habitats, noting the nests’ various materials and the methods used to support baby birds. Engaging facts support the broad subject matter: The sociable weaver, for instance, may live with more than 200 others in a nest that can last as long as 100 years. The industrious layout of this eclectic collection encourages browsing.”– Booklist
“BIRD BOOKS WORTH SINGING ABOUT –
Irene Kelly’s Even an Ostrich Needs a Nest looks at a global array of birds, big and small, and describes gigantic nests made from layered sticks and tiny cup-shaped homes lined with spider silk and lichen. Kelly’s engaging artwork—in pen and ink, watercolor, gouache, and acrylic—depicts the diversity of materials and construction of a variety of nests. Whether on the forest floor, on mud flats, or high in treetops or bridges, these amazingly and strong structures provide protection and a safe haven for the next generation of birds to grow and mature.”– School Library Journal, Curriculum Connections
A Small Dog's Big Life: Around the World with Owney
A Small Dog’s Big Life; Around the World with Owney, tells the true story of an unusual dog who captured the public’s imagination in the late 1800’s. Owney was a stray who wandered into an Albany New York post office and became an unlikely world traveler. Riding on mailbags, he crisscrossed the country on postal trains before eventually sailing all the way around the globe. Owney and his adventures were avidly followed by newspaper readers around the U.S., and he became known as the ‘Greatest Dog Traveler in the World’.
Piecing together the facts of Owney’s exciting life, Irene Kelly has written letters, telegrams, and newspaper accounts that tell a colorful story about a captivating nineteenth-century celebrity.
Finalist, DWAA Best Children's Book award, 2005
“…Using a liberal variety of fonts and writing styles alongside her bright, mixed-media drawings, she (Kelly) develops a kaleidoscopic story of Owney’s adventure, imagining the heroic mutt sightseeing and visiting landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty in New York and the Pyramids in Egypt. The unorthodox format is well suited to spark interest in other imaginative journeys and to reading and writing about other parts of the world both in and out of the classroom.” - Kirkus Reviews, June 2005
"…Kelly’s mostly watercolor illustrations have a bright, liquid facility, and they communicate a lilting tone to the collection of actual texts that tell the dog’s story.” The Star Ledger, June 17, 2005
“Kelly peppers the text with lively illustrations and actual letters from other post offices, attesting to the resilient dog’s jaunts through the United States, Mexico, Canada, Egypt and stowaway cruises to Japan and China on his global trot…There’s a statue of the famous dog at the Smithsonian, but until you get there, take yourself and your kids on a thoroughly delightful ride with Owney. There’s no charge for the travel, only the book.” The Star Ledger, July 10, 2005
‘The lively pictures evoke both the daring adventure and the warm story about those who loved the mutt with strong, spindly leas and ‘a straggly, but waggly, tail.’ “ - Booklist, July 2005
Ebbie & Flo
Ebbie is a smart little salmon who wants to stay in his nest, safe and snug in the small stream where he was born. Flo is Ebbie’s twin sister. She wants to explore the whole river, the estuary and even the deep blue sea.
Come with Ebbie and Flo as they ride rapids, evade hungry predators, plunge over waterfalls and confront a killer whale. It’s a true science adventure where anything can happen and anyone can be a hero.
International Reading Association-Children’s Book Council
Children’s Choice selection, 1999
WHAT THE PRESS HAD TO SAY:
“This work playfully combines information about the salmon life cycle with a fictional adventure story…the humorously expressive fish and vivid illustrations add up to a thoroughly enjoyable fish story.” – Publisher’s Weekly
“As a parent of three avid readers ages, 5-11, I want to say what a wonderful book Ebbie and Flo is for kids of all ages! The art work in this story is unusually lovely and is not drawn "down " to kids, but rather lets children experience designs and colors usually reserved for adults - and yet the characters are warmly drawn with alot of humorous attributes as well. The story is totally engaging -my kids have read it repetitively!! The dialogue is fast and funny. The tension between the adventurous and fearless Flo (and how refreshing that these characteristics belong to the girl!!) and her brother, the timid Ebbie, is part of what gives the story it's momentum. My kids got very interested in salmon and their life cycles largely because the book is so great and the Fish Facts at the back were a great follow up. But perhaps most important in this story is the message that it is possible to find the courage and spirit to enjoy the sometimes perilous journey of life. I highly recommend this book!” ----a reader