Text copyright © 2018 by Katherine Gardner. Illustrations copyright © 2018 by Heidi Smith. Images reproduced with permission of the publisher, Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

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For Elementary Readers

Lovely Beasts: The Surprising Truth

Learn more about awe-inspiring animals in the wild: it’s best not to judge a beast until you understand its full, lovely life.


Animals, Elementary

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Lovely Beasts will get students thinking about the wonder of biodiversity and how animals, like anything else, can be misunderstood. What do students know and what can they learn about the wildlife in their own community? To help students more fully understand the beauty, uniqueness, and value of local wildlife, take them on a walking field trip to a park or plan a visit to a nearby natural area to observe and identify local birds, animals, and insects. Get students working to help change perceptions of wild creatures in their community by:

  • inviting a local naturalist or park ranger to read aloud about the amazing adaptations of local wildlife and generate ideas to break stereotypes with students
  • creating masks that show the different sides of animals and performing Lovely Beasts as Reader’s Theater
  • writing and sharing their own version of Lovely Beasts featuring animals in your community.

Questions for Discussion or Reflective Writing

What were you most surprised to learn about these animals?

What things do you think about animas based on how they look?

What other descriptive words would you use to describe the different animals in this book?

What does it mean to look at something from a different perspective?

Related Teaching Resources

Lovely Beasts Discussion Guide from HarperCollins

Book Kit for Lovely Beasts from the 2020 Beehive Book Awards

How Animals Work: A Day in the Life of an Animal lesson plan from MPALA

Animal Riddles lesson plan from Creative Educator

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