Laurence Pringle

Children's Books and School Author Visits

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

"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 programs about writing in schools
"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 author meets students in elementary schools
"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 author visits in schools
"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 programs about writing for kids in schools
"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
elementary school author visits
"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
school author visits
Picture Book Fiction
"A likable book that's sure to start kids romping, and maybe their parents, too."--Kirkus

The Secret Life of the Woolly Bear Caterpillar

Holding a Great Northern Woolly Bear Caterpillar. Imagine the size of the moth that it becomes! Or, this is Larry holding a giant woolly bear pillow at the Hudson Highlands Nature Center, in Cornwall, NY.

The Story Behind the Book

Woolly bears! These charming little critters have given me so much pleasure for many years. I loved having the opportunity to learn more about them, and write about them.

Each autumn I would see some, perhaps crossing a road or sometimes right near my house. And even in winter I would find a few. Taking an armload of firewood from a wood pile, for the fireplace, I would uncover a curled-up woolly. I'd make sure to cover it with wood again, safe in its shelter. In the fall of 2012, working on this book, I saw more of these caterpillars than usual, all within a hundred feet of our house.

I took many pictures, followed them, and got ideas for little details to include in the story. And this was to be a story--a nonfiction story about one caterpillar. I did a little investigating because woolly bears are caterpillars of one kind of tiger moth, and I had read that some tiger moth caterpillars release a silken thread to ease their way down from a high place. I had only seen woolly bears on the ground, never up on a plant, but I wanted to check. So I picked up a few of these caterpillars on different days and put them on tall flower stems so see how they would behave. Each one tried its best to walk down from the high place. No quick drop on a silken thread! (But it was fascinating to observe, closeup, just how a woolly bear uses its 16 legs to get around.)

Early in my research I learned that this species's scientific name begins with the word Isabella. I assumed that the person who named the species, long ago, chose that name to honor his wife or daughter. I thought readers would like to know about the woman or girl who inspired the name of this creature. Much to my surprise I learned that the word "isabella" was once used to describe a yellow-brown color! The adult moth has wings that color, and that is why it is called the isabella tiger moth. Perhaps we should revive the old meaning of that word. We could say, "There goes that girl with isabella hair."