Books by Betty Tatham

Nonfiction narrative for ages 4 to 9.


Penguin Chick

Penguin Chick is a story of love and survival in the coldest, harshest place on earth. After an emperor penguin mother lays an egg, her mate keeps it safe and warm next to his own body for two months. He endures hunger and fierce ice storms while the mother hunts for food.  Will she return in time to save their chick?  Find out!

Penguin Chick is part of HarperCollins’ award winning Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series for ages 4 to 9. It was chosen a “Best Children’ Book of 2003” (Bank Street College of Education), an “Award Winning Science Trade Book of 2003” by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), an “Award Winning Top Choices” book of the Children’s Literature Choice List 2003,” Governor’s Book of the Month (NJ, February 2004), it was one of 15 Life Science books for children K-12 selected by NSTA and the Children’s Book Council for the national traveling exhibition, “Children’s Science Book Fair 2003” and it received other honors.  Also, see “Publication of Penguin Chick in 3 anthologies and 4 languages.” 

Nonfiction narrative for children ages 4 to 12
(age range suggested by Science Books and Films).

Baby Sea Otter

A newborn baby sea otter’s mother protects her as best she can, but there are enemies ready to snatch her baby away. The mother has to eat at the bottom of the ocean, but she can’t take her small baby with her. When she returns to the surface, the baby is gone.  Did the waves carry her away or did a predator catch her?  How can the mother find her small pup?

Baby Sea Otter was chosen a “Best Children’s Book 2005” - Best Natural Science Book for ages 6 to 9 (Bank Street College of Education). It received a “superior” rating from Horn Book Guide and it is “recommended” by Library Media Connection and “recommended” by Science Books and Films. It had excellent reviews by Children’s Literature, School Library Journal, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly and other critics. 

A Series of Three Science Books Published by Scholastic Library
Ages 7 to 12


How Animals Communicate 

Learn about a special language elephants can use to talk to each other, even when they are 2 miles apart. Discover how tiny “cleaner fish” get a meal by cleaning off large fish that don’t eat them at “cleaning stations.” Learn how lobsters can pick up the “smell” of an enemy with tiny hair on their feet. Watch a scout bee “dance” directions to a new food supply and see how animals trick an enemy to escape, save their young or get a meal by “pretending.”

Recommended by Science Books and Films (Volume 40, No. 5) 
Excerpt: “These well-written and enjoyable children’s books are about animal communication and play activities. The books are a pleasure to read and relate even some facts that an adult reader is unlikely to know.” 

Children’s Literature excerpt: “Kissing groundhogs, singing whales, dancing bees, and spraying skunks tell each other important messages….Kids who ask millions of questions on animal-related field trips will gravitate to this author’s interesting explanation of animal behavior.”


How Animals Play

Just as children love to play, many animals enjoy play activities too.  Discover how some birds like to slide down a snowy hill on their backs, play tag, dive bomb or play with a toy stick. Young apes and monkeys are especially playful and a Japanese monkey even makes snowballs! Wolf and wild dog pups, lion, cheetah and tiger cubs and other animals also enjoy playing. This can teach them useful skills to help them escape an enemy, protect their young or catch a meal when they live on their own.

Recommended by Science Books and Films (Volume 40, No.5). Excerpt: “Books such as these often are overly thropomorphic, so the author’s general use of restraint is admirable. In sum, these books would be a useful resource for an elementary school library, both for enjoyment and to supplement class discussions or projects on animal behavior and ecology.

Children’s Literature Review excerpt: “This attractive book is a great example of presenting college level material to children.  Compared to most children’s books about nature, this one avoids oversimplifying the science.”


How Animals Shed Their Skin 

This book is also filled with fabulous science facts about many different animals.  Learn what lobsters do when their outer shell has become too tight to pull out of a claw or a leg.  Discover how frogs eat their old skin and the new, bigger skin is already there, watch a spider weave its web and learn how it struggles to shed and find out how scuba diving spiders live and shed.

Award: “Best Book” Brodart Science in the School Library, 2004-2005; High/Low.
Recommended by Science Books and Films

Children’s Literature excerpt: “Mix some pretty nifty animals, their bodily functions, terrific photographs and interesting facts about each and you have the recipe for this engaging book about how animals shed their skin. This is not a popular topic in most homes, but one that evokes interest for many children, and would be a welcome addition to most classrooms and any school or public library. It is well researched and attractively and clearly presented.

How Animals Communicate, How Animals Play and How Animals Shed Their Skin went out of print in late 2011, but they are usually available as used books from AbeBooks. They are also expected to be published as e-books.

All 5 of Betty Tatham’s books are in the Accelerated Reader Program, Reading Measurement Program: Advanced Learning Systems and curriculum tools are available.