The Burgess Animal Book for Children is a wonderful book that teaches about many of the mammals found in our world in a living way. I have read through this book twice now (it’s on the schedule for AmblesideOnline Year 2), once with each of my children, and it was fun to see how engaging it was for them and how much they (and I!) learned from it.
When I went through the book with my older son, we looked up pictures in our mammal reference book after our readings which gave us a good idea of what the animal looked like (and we could see how well it matched what we imagined based on the description in the book). However, the same year I was reading through the book the second time with my daughter, I began reading through Halliburton’s Book of Marvels with my son and using the video companion from Wonder and Wildness. Seeing and watching the places we were “visiting” each week was so helpful that I thought I’d do the same for my daughter’s animal readings. And that’s how this list was born.
Below are links to YouTube videos for many of the animals discussed in the book. While I don’t list a video for every animal mentioned, there is at least one for every chapter. I tried to find videos in the 1- to 5-minute range (though there is at least one outlier) and usually aimed for those that didn’t include a lot of talking, though that often proved challenging. In many cases, I just muted the video while we were watching it so we could just watch the animal without the commentary. I also tried to avoid those that included graphic violence toward any animals. They especially liked the ones with animal babies. 🙂
I included this list by having our regular reading each week followed by narration, and if we had time left over in that allotted time slot (which we usually did), we’d watch the video afterward. No narration was required, though there was usually follow-up discussion. It ended up being a fun way to experience the animals we were getting to know in Mother Nature’s school and to watch them perform the habits about which we had just read.
As I always highly recommend, whenever you find a list on the internet of things to show or read to your kids, read/watch it before you share any of it with them! As I mentioned above, we watched a few of these with no sound, so I can’t vouch for the language of all of them.
Burgess Animal Book for Children Videos
- Chapter 1 (Jenny Wren Gives Peter Rabbit an Idea) – cottontail rabbit
- Chapter 2 (Peter and Jumper go to School) – swamp hare
- Chapter 3 (More of Peter’s Long-Legged Cousins) – antelope jackrabbit
- Chapter 4 (Chatterer and Happy Jack Join) – red squirrel
- Chapter 5 (The Squirrels of the Trees) – gray squirrel
- Chapter 6 (Striped Chipmunk and his Cousins) – flying squirrel
- Chapter 7 (Johnny Chuck Joins the Class) – woodchuck
- Chapter 8 (Whistler and Yap Yap) – marmot; prairie dog
- Chapter 9 (Two Queer Little Haymakers) – pika
- Chapter 10 (Prickly Porky and Grubby Gopher) – pocket gopher
- Chapter 11 (A Fellow With a Thousand Spears) – porcupine
- Chapter 12 (A Lumberman and Engineer) – beaver
- Chapter 13 (A Worker and a Robber) – muskrat; brown rat
- Chapter 14 (A Trader and a Handsome Fellow) – pack rat; kangaroo rat
- Chapter 15 (Two Unlike Little Cousins) – wood mouse; field mouse
- Chapter 16 (Danny’s Northern Cousins and Nimbleheels) – jumping mouse
- Chapter 17 (Three Little Redcoats and Some Others) – pine vole (referred to as pine mouse in the book)
- Chapter 18 (Mice with Pockets, and Others) – house mouse
- Chapter 19 (Teeny Weeny and His Cousin) – shrew
- Chapter 20 (Four Busy Little Miners) – mole
- Chapter 21 (Flitter the Bat and His Family) – red bat
- Chapter 22 (An Independent Family) – skunk
- Chapter 23 (Digger and His Cousin Glutton) – badger; wolverine
- Chapter 24 (Shadow and His Family) – weasel
- Chapter 25 (Two Famous Swimmers) – mink; river otter
- Chapter 26 (Spite the Marten and Pekan the Fisher) – pine marten
- Chapter 27 (Reddy Fox Joins the School) – red fox
- Chapter 28 (Old Man Coyote and Howler the Wolf) – coyote; wolf
- Chapter 29 (Yowler and His Cousin Tufty) – bobcat
- Chapter 30 (Some Big and Little Cat Cousins) – mountain lion
- Chapter 31 (Bobby Coon Arrives) – raccoon
- Chapter 32 (Buster Bear Nearly Breaks Up School) – black bear
- Chapter 33 (Buster Bear’s Big Cousins) – polar bear
- Chapter 34 (Unc’ Billy and Old Mrs. Possum) – opossum
- Chapter 35 (Lightfoot, Blacktail and Forkhorn) – white-tailed deer
- Chapter 36 (Bugler, Flathorns and Wanderhoof) – elk; moose
- Chapter 37 (Thunderfoot, Fleetfoot and Longcoat) – pronghorn; muskox
- Chapter 38 (Two Wonderful Mountain Climbers) – bighorn sheep
- Chapter 39 (Piggy and Hardshell) – javelina; armadillo
- Chapter 40 (The Mammals of the Sea) – seal; manatee
My friend Joy of Nature Study Hacking also has a podcast called Naturalist Kids. She covers various topics related to the natural world, but several episodes also cover mammals, including bats, cats, foxes, and rabbits. My kids enjoy listening to these in the car when we take longer drives to our nature hikes!
I hope this list is helpful to you as you make your way through the book! And if you have suggestions for other or better videos, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments below!