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The Life Cycle: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about the life cycle?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to the life cycle. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about the life cycle.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about the life cycle, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like I, Fly to popular sellers like The Tiny Seed to some of our favorite hidden gems like Oscar and the frog.

We hope this list of kids books about the life cycle can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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Oscar and the frog
Written & illustrated by Geoff Waring
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A first science book that introduce young readers to core science concepts through fresh, graphic illustrations, engaging stories, and supplemental activity suggestions. Oscar is a curious kitten, and at the pond he is full of questions about growing things. Luckily, Frog can help with the answers — after all, he’s gone through some impressive changes himself! From butterflies to ducks, plants to kittens like him, Oscar finds out how living things begin, why they eat, and how they grow. Includes lesson summaries! Back matter includes an index and supplemental activities.

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$11.99
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The Grizzly Mother
Written by Brett D. Huson & illustrated by Natasha Donovan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

To the Gitxsan people of northwestern British Columbia, the grizzly is an integral part of the natural landscape. They share the land and forests the Skeena River runs through, as well as the sockeye salmon within it. The Grizzly Mother explores how an ecosystem’s animals, people and seasons are all intertwined.

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The Nut That Fell from the Tree
Written by Sangeeta Bhadra & illustrated by France Cormier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A playful, lively story about one acorn’s difficult path to becoming a tree.<br/><br/>This is the house where Jill plays.<br/>This is the oak that holds the house where Jill plays.<br/>This is the nut that fell from the oak that holds the house where Jill plays . . .<br/><br/>In the style of ?The House That Jack Built, ? here’s a cumulative, rhyming tale that follows an acorn on an arduous journey, as one animal after another steals it, drops it or tosses it, sending the acorn inside an old shoe, high above the trees and down to the bottom of a stream. But in the end, the rat, goose, bear and more turn out to simply be the conduits that help the acorn eventually land on a hillside, where the warm sun helps it grow into another grand oak tree, which now holds the house where Jack (Jill’s grandson) plays.<br/><br/>In this lively story, Sangeeta Bhadra offers a playful depiction of the circle of life. The jaunty rhythm of the text (?This is the raccoon, a sneak through and through / that tricked the goose with a bird’s-eye view . . .?) and the use of fun-to-say words — like, ?hullabaloooo? and ?pee-ew? — make for a picture book that begs to be read aloud. France Cormier’s richly colored illustrations add energy and continuity to the story, as the perspective zooms in and out and dotted lines follow the acorn’s path. This book could easily spark discussions about plant life cycles, animal habitats and food chains.

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Baby Botanist
Written by Dr. Laura Gehl & illustrated by Daniel Wiseman
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Baby Scientist is an adorable board book series that brings fun, accessible science concepts to baby’s world using simple language, recognizable settings, and vibrant art. Read them all with your baby scientist! Baby Botanist studies plants. In her lab coat, she looks at plants both large and small. She finds plants growing in many places.

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Butterflies in Room 6
Written & illustrated by Caroline Arnold
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Kindergarteners raise butterflies from egg to adult in this close-up look at the insect life cycle. Follow a classroom of real kindergartners as they participate in a popular activity: raising butterflies. Astonishing photographs show the life cycle of the painted lady butterfly, from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to adult. Engaging text captures the children’s wonder and explains the science behind metamorphosis.

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  • The Tiny Seed - With his inimitable bright collage art and simple text, Carle follows the journey of a seed, from being blown by the wind to taking root and sprouting seeds of its own. Full color.

  • Marvelous Mustard Seed - A child plants a mustard seed in an empty garden. It is an itty-bitty seed. It isnt anything very specialyet.

  • Little Acorn - Have you ever wondered what happens when a little acorn becomes a big oak tree? This beautifully illustrated story will delight children and parents alike, and also offers a perfect introduction to the life cycle of trees.

  • I, Fly - Fly is fed up with everyone studying butterflies. Flies are so much cooler! They flap their wings 200 times a second, compared to a butterfly’s measly five to twelve times. Their babies—maggots—are much cuter than caterpillars (obviously). And when they eat solid food, they even throw up on it to turn it into a liquid. Who wouldn’t want to study an insect like that? In an unforgettably fun, fact-filled presentation, this lovable (and highly partisan) narrator promotes his species to a sometimes engrossed, sometimes grossed-out, class of kids.

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Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
This educational exploration of a pumpkin's life-cycle is a must for any aspiring scientist or farmer!
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Who Is in the Egg?
Written by Alexandra Milton
Select type book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Illustrated with breathtaking collage artwork, this beautiful nonfiction book encourages young children to play a guessing game and figure out what creature is growing inside each egg.
 
In the nest, in the swamp, in a tunnel underground, there are eggs . . . with something hatching inside. Discover some of the baby animals that begin their life in an egg. It isn’t just chicks! Along with the birds, there are turtles, alligators, penguins, and even a platypus. Stunning all-collage art by Alexandra Milton (Call Me Gorgeous! and Good Luck, Baby Owls) and simple yet informative text make this book special and surprising. Each entry has a fun fact about the featured animal.

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$17.95
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The Life Cycle of a Flower
Written by Molly Aloian & illustrated by Bobbie Kalman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Describes the physical characteristics and life cycle of flowering plants, including reproduction from seeds and by other means, and the importance of flowers to the environment.

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Squirrel's Family Tree
Written by Beth Ferry & illustrated by A.N. Kang
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Squirrel gathers acorn seeds, sturdy little oak nut seeds. Anticipating future needs, she gathers acorn seeds.

What makes an oak tree an oak tree and what makes a squirrel a squirrel? In Squirrel’s Family Tree, things aren’t always what they seem. As squirrel searches for, finds, and hides her acorn treasures beneath the shadows of the great oak trees in the forest, little does she know the role she plays in creating the very environment she forages in.

With masterful illustrations by Papillon illustrator A. N. Kang and delightful, sweet rhymes by New York Times bestseller Beth Ferry, this read-aloud masterpiece about the beauty of nature and the intricate relationships that make it flourish is sure to become an instant classic.

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Soar High, Dragonfly
Written by & illustrated by Jonny Lambert and Sheri Mabry
Select type book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

2020 American Association for the Advancement of Science/Subaru Science Book Award, Long-list Dragonflies are some the world’s most beautiful (and fascinating!) insects. And one many children can find right in their backyards! With a simple story, perfect for read-alouds, and colorful illustrations, this scientific look at a dragonfly’s life-cycle will captivate little entomologists. Informative sidebars are included that let children learn even more about these amazing insects.

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  • Summer Supper - From sowing seeds in spring to savoring succotash, follow the creation of a family meal from the farm to the picnic table on a warm summer evening. Told entirely in words beginning with the letter “s,” this book will give children an appreciation for the process by which their food travels to the dinner table. Mike Austin cleverly incorporates Rubin Pfeffer’s words into his art and creates a visual feast in which kids will love to indulge! Layers of humor and storytelling make this worth many revisits.

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