Back to School with DK Books | This West Coast Mommy
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Back to School with DK Books

Now that the kids are back in school, it’s also time to get back into our routine. As the weather gets wetter and cooler and with TV time limits tightening up, I’m starting to look for more inside activities for my kids. DK Books has a Back to School Boutique featuring tons of educational books perfect for them! Most of these are aimed at older kids, but we discovered a couple of books that my girls found fascinating. They both get completely engrossed in leafing through the books and looking at all the pictures. These books are a great way to encourage their interest in the natural world!

Smithsonian: The Animal Book

Smithsonian Animal Book

I was sad not to see the plucky platypus here, but other than that omission, The Animal Book does an excellent job of introducing kids to the extraordinary diversity of life on Earth. The book is structured according to the scientific taxonomy of species with sections on microscopic life, fungi, plants, invertebrates, insects, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. More than 1500 species are presented here in gorgeous full colour photography.

Fact boxes help kids learn the key features of each class of creature (see the Insects page below), and scale boxes compare various groups of creatures to the size of a human thumb, hand, or body to help give a better idea of their relative sizes (see the Bears page below).

While the book is targeted at somewhat older children (8-12 years), both my girls loved simply flipping through all the gorgeous pictures and asking questions about the familiar, weird, and wonderful living creatures contained in the pages.

Animal Book pages

Science: A Visual Encyclopedia

Science A Visual Encyclopedia

Science: A Visual Encyclopedia introduces kids to the fascinating world of science. With topics ranging from atoms to acids, sound to spaceflight, friction to fungi, electromagnetism to evolution, and spanning the fields of chemistry, physics, optics, electromagnetism, and biology, every child will find something in this book to get them excited about science!

The last section presents an overview of some of the greatest scientific discoveries and scientists down through the ages, as well as a highly simplified and abridged visual timeline of great inventions from 15,000 BCE to present. I do wish there was a little more meat in this section, but since the encyclopedia is targeted at 7- to 12-year-olds, it makes sense that the editors have had to select the discoveries and inventions that will most interest kids.

Girls are underrepresented across the board in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), and it’s important to me to expose my daughters to these subjects and encourage their interest. Of course most of the material is beyond them right now, but this is a book we will keep for many years so the kids will grow into it. As with The Animal Book, the girls enjoy looking at all the pictures and asking what they mean. I really love how the material fosters their curiosity about the world around them.

Science Book pages


DK Books is generously offering one This West Coast Mommy reader their own copy of Smithsonian: The Animal Book. Enter for your chance to win in the Rafflecopter widget below. This giveaway is open to Canadian residents, 18+. All entries will be verified.

Check out my other open giveaways listed in the right sidebar!

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Disclosure: I received sample items for review. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ. This post contains affiliate links. This West Coast Mommy is a participant in the, Inc. Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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