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

Spiders! Strange and Wonderful

This time, the story behind the book comes from my answers to some interview questions:

Spiders! is another in a series (subtitle: strange and wonderful), and I've
particularly chosen some animals that people feel are dangerous, or even "bad."
That includes books about bats, sharks, snakes, scorpions, octopuses,
and alligators and crocodiles. Solid factual information about such creatures
can help replace fear with fascination. I like to believe that some readers will
look at spiders in a new way, appreciate them, want to learn more about them,
and maybe have a favorite kind of spider.

My research centered on books and articles in scientific journals and
magazines written by actual spider researchers. This included items from
Science, and Natural History. I also looked through about ten children's books
about spiders, but not for information. Instead, my goal was to look for ways to
make my book different from, and--I hope--better than, titles already published.
Though I did not do it with this book, my research often leads me to contact an
animal expert, to pin down some details. And, of course, I nominated a couple of
spider experts to my editor. She chose one, who found a few items to correct
in both my text and the art. This is a vital step, since I am fully confident I
sometimes get things wrong.

Much of the fun of being a nonfiction writer is the research--turning your curiosity
loose on a subject and making delightful discoveries to share with readers. I
always learn something new. For example, I've long been intrigued with those
wagon wheel-shaped orb webs, and learned more about their builders and
construction. Also, I gained a new appreciation for jumping spiders. Such
faces, such antics!

Fortunately, my parents and other adults in my early life did not teach
me to fear spiders. However, I remember one childhood spider experience
that was really scary. I was walking through a field in late summer, where
the goldenrod and aster plants were taller than me. In this "jungle" I walked
right into the orb web of a black and yellow argiope (called the golden garden
spider). Yikes! It was a stout web and a big spider. For a split second I felt
trapped in the web.

I suppose this experience could have made me a lifelong arachnophobe,
but in school and later in college (and life) I learned more about spiders. So
many of our fears are born in ignorance--and maintained by ignorance. I
urge people who fear spiders to give them a chance. The last two paragraphs
of my book tell of an Australian woman who had nightmares about spiders,
but she cautiously began to observe some through the glass of a kitchen
window. She saw them spinning webs, and catching insects to eat. When a
bird came by and ate every one, she was upset. She was rooting for "her"
spiders!

My spider book is dedicated to my daughter Rebecca, who as a child
somehow became quite fearful of spiders. But, step by step, by watching
them, learning about them, she has become more spider-friendly. The
dedication concludes: "She sees the best in people, dogs, and cats,
and may someday see the best in spiders."

I hope readers of this book will take a cue from an early sentence:
"Your spider companions just want to go on with their quiet, amazing lives."
I hope they learn that spiders are almost all harmless, incredibly diverse,
fascinating animals.