Laurence Pringle

Children's Books and School Author Visits

Click on a title below, and read the story behind the book!

"This book--true to its sweeping subject matter--is swift, exacting, and sure to hook any reader."--Booklist "A great purchase for report writers, budding ornithologists, and generally curious readers."--SLJ
"One of the most interesting and informative books in Pringle and Henderson's consistently fine Strange and Wonderful series, here's an excellent choice for science collections."--Booklist "A well-crafted book full of realistic illustrations and lively scientific text that tackles the sometimes misunderstood spider." --School Library Journal
"Another winner in a long series of engaging, informative invitations to explore the natural world." --Kirkus Reviews Starred Review
"Beginning on a snowy afternoon in February and ending in early autumn, this book centers on a fox named Vixen as she explores her habitat, hunts, runs from danger, and starts a family. This intimate and personal view into Vixen's life is chronicled through a beautifully cohesive relationship between text and illustration...A rich reading experience awaits those who pick up this title..."--School Library Journal STARRED REVIEW
A "picture-book equivalent of watching a nature documentary."--School Library Journal
"Budding arachnologists will find this an enlightening introduction."--Kirkus
"A coolly fascinating, nostalgic glimpse into life as it was over a century ago." --Kirkus Reviews
"A must-have addition to science collections." --Booklist
"intelligent..eye-catching..readable lodestone for researchers." Starred review, School Library Journal
Paperback--the most unusual dinosaur book ever published!
The most comprehensive children's book about these amazing insects! "Smoothly written, beautifully illustrated"--School Library Journal
"An amazing nonfiction children's book"--Midwest Book Review
"A especial treat for young dragon lovers." --Midwest Book Review
"Words and stirring pictures focus on the role of the powerful black man on the thrilling journey...he is hailed as a national hero." -- Booklist
"Pringle's succinct text provides an engaging overview of penguin life...even penguin fans will find something new." -- Booklist
"Even readers fearful of snakes may find the subject a little less strange, a little more wonderful." -- Booklist
"Presented with respect for the subject and for the audience, this is one of the best of the many bat books, especially for a somewhat younger audience." --Booklist
"The lucid text and elegant illustrations march in perfect step, creating an attractive fusing of art and information." --School Library Journal
"An exemplary nature-study book--accurate, explicit, and satisfyingly complete." School Library Journal
"Full of adventure and excitement, this book contains a wonderful mix of intriguing stories and historical facts."
--Childhood Education
"A poetic text...A wonderful choice to share with children before a summer vacation or to use as an introduction to an ecology unit." --School Library Journal
"A superb, well-researched book that finds extraordinary science in the everyday life of a butterfly."
--Kirkus Reviews
Picture Book Fiction
"A likable book that's sure to start kids romping, and maybe their parents, too."--Kirkus

Octopuses! Strange and Wonderful

2015 Eureka Honor Award (for excellence in Nonfiction for Young Readers),
California Reading Association

Also, OCTOPUSES is on the 2015 Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Books list

A wonderful octopus created by kids in an elementary school!

The Story Behind the Book

It took me a long time to arrive at the subject of octopuses, and I'm glad I finally got there! What amazing animals! Smarter than all other invertebrates, smarter than fish and reptiles, perhaps as smart as cats and dogs.

My research led me to books and science journal reports written by octopus experts.
A Canadian researcher, Jennifer Mather, looked carefully at my words and at Meryl Henderson's art, and we as a team tried to make the book as accurate as possible.

As usual, I learned a lot in the process. One basic thing: octopuses do not have tentacles. Before, I used the words "tentacles" and "arms" as if they were equals, but they are not, and octopuses have arms only. (This led me to omit from my book's "To Learn More" section an otherwise good book about octopuses, for children, because it had this title: Tentacles! I wonder how an author, editor, and publisher can allow such a mistake to be published.)

Another thing learned: for decades I felt clever and well-educated when I used the word "octopi" as a substitute for "octopuses." "Octopi" is incorrect! As my book explains on page 4, "octopi" would be o.k. if this animal's name came from Latin. However, the Greeks, long ago, were the first to name this animal. And the plural of the ancient Greek word "octopous" is "octopodes." Even some dictionaries are inaccurate on this, and I have no illusions that people will give up saying "octopi" and switch to "octopodes." By the way, it is perfectly o.k. to say "octopuses."

In two other "strange and wonderful" books, about snakes, and frogs, I asked artist Meryl Henderson to create a scene that hid several animals. Readers of the books have fun trying to find them. Since octopuses are such masters of disguise, I asked Meryl to do the same with these camouflage experts. For pages 18-19 I wrote these words: "Can you find the five octopuses hidden on these pages?"

When the art arrived for my inspection, with some trouble I found the five--and then found another! Meryl had hidden six in a colorful underwater scene of ocean floor, corals, plants, and aquatic animals, so the wording was changed, challenging readers to find six. A little map on page 31 shows where all six are, but don't go there until you have them all, or give up!