by Joanne Ryder
illustrated by Ashley Wolff
The outdoors is filled with creatures, both small and large, going about their lives in tandem with human activity. Each Living Thing reminds us, in simple rhyming phrases, to watch out for every living thing on earth. Each colorful illustration depicts different children going about daily life (carrying out recycling, planting vegetables, swimming, etc.) and encountering animals in their natural habitats. Straightforward text encourages readers to do what they can to respect and care for each animal, reminding them to look out for “streaming ants who streak the dusty trails – please step around their sandy towers,” and to watch out for “toads who lurch and leap across the road – please stop to let them pass.” The ending message to watch out for each living thing advises us to “Be aware of them. Take care of them. Be watchful. Let them be.”
Each Living Thing is a reminder of the importance of being mindful of all the living things around us. Just right for young children who may not want to let animals pass without picking them up or taking them home, this book shows a respectful (sometimes wary?) view of wild animals and examines of our role as caretakers of the environment.
Before a nature walk, read Each Living Thing to children as a reminder of some of the animals they may see and of the respectful ways to treat these animals. During the walk, point out the benefits of leaving these animals to do what they need to do (spiders spin webs that catch pests, etc.).
Have children create a guidebook for others on ways to be respectful toward wild animals. For example, a child could draw a picture or write instructions for capturing a spider with paper and setting it outside instead of killing it.