As a librarian, I review books based on how they work when read aloud to a classroom. I read this to Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade. Letting the students try to guess what animal left each sign the story described kept even my difficult kids excited and engaged.
This has become a staple not only in my house (6 year old and 2 year old) but also at my work. I work in an AZA zoo and this is a great book to start the conversation about animal signs. It's about using your investigator hat to look for clues in the world and habitats around you. My kids love reading this and they love reciting "Something has been here. Something has done that." I can't say enough wonderful things about this sweet book!
Great book for learning about the natural world around us. It gave my son a chance to share his knowledge as well as a chance for both of us to deepen ours. Great for a rainy day to plan out the next adventure and light enough to carry along on your next hike. It's got great info and ideas in the back for further learning. Very fun and engaing.
What a fun book! Jen's story and Andrea's wonderful artwork are a pleasure just to look at. But the story reminds us that you need to really LOOK when you're outside, there's so much there that we all miss. And just in case we don't know what to look for, the last pages show what to look for, with a game, a craft and what signs to look for, even human signs! It serves to remind us that we share this planet with many creatures!
This is a beautifully illustrated story about looking and listening to nature to discover what is around you. I enjoyed the fact that many of the signs the children discover are things you don't run across every day in other books about animal signs. There are interesting facts in the back to further discussion of animal signs which is nice. It is a very nice introduction to the idea of using your senses to explore nature.
"Been There, Done That" is beautifully written and illustrated, featuring two kids at the center of exploring the outdoors in what feels like a very real and matter of fact way. The book starts with skepticism--a young visitor asks his friend "where are your wild animals?". The boy says he's only seen birds since the start of his visit. His host gently helps him see what surrounds them both during a walk in the woods. The book quickly moves into noticing signs of many wild animals in the landscape, using the "been there, done that" trope to indicate how creatures leave clues about their activities behind. A bear, fox, beaver, eagle and more are not seen firsthand by the boy and girl; but rather evidence the creatures have left behind. The signs go beyond prints and scat, and are both mysterious and richly illustrated in such a way that the clues could be easily identified in the outdoors after reading this book (some helpful exercises at the end reinforce this). It's easy to get lost in exploring the pages, and the book is really an inspiring call to explore the outdoors and take deeper notice of the signs of creatures all around us, but the story invites us to take one step further in thinking about human impact as well. What do we leave behind when we've "been there, done that"? This book encourages children both to observe the outdoors in a deeper way to take note of animal signs more subtle than flapping wings, and also gently helps them to think about themselves and the signs they leave behind. What a wonderful read at an important time for all kids and adults who wish to foster a deeper connection to the outdoors.
I received a copy of this book from the author to leave a personal and honest review.
As a hiking leader taking general public (including children) to Alaskan trails, I found the book very well written for 4-6 yeas old to read by themselves. But, for 7-8 years the book may be too easy. For using the book as animal sign spotting activity, parents may want to discuss with your child how Helena knew (or what signs she observed to conclude) that animals had been there previously, before moving on to the next page. By the way, Helena, a leading junior naturalist is illustrated as an African American girl. As I am cognizant of few minority children participating in nature activities, she is a great role model.
I received a copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway program in the hopes that I would leave an honest review.
As a homeschooling parent, I'm always on the lookout for educational books that are more interesting than your standard textbook. This book fits that bill in my opinion. The language is simple enough that a first grader could read it with minimal assistance. There is a matching activity in the back that could reasonably help demonstrate information retention from the book (as well as problem solving in the event that information was not retained well). And the animal sign spotting activity that is described at the end could feasibly be implemented to a degree at a zoo if you live in a more urban area. The facts about the wildlife discussed in this book are an added bonus. This is a book I will definitely be using with my children.
I just received a copy of this book for Tracy Aviary's Education Department. We read books to children in our pre-K classes, during camps, and during our off-site Nature in the City program. The book has already been well-received by all of my staff and used on a program where we did a scavenger hunt looking for signs of life. It's engaging, informative, and appropriate for multiple age groups.
The animals are out there--know what to look for! Animal sign is so much more than just tracks, and learning to read animal sign to detect animal presence has its own rewards. Weber's Been There, Done That is a good introduction for youngsters on how to be a nature detective and the joys of discovery and figuring things out, laying a good foundation for nature observation in general. Let's face it, we can't always see the animals we'd like to in the wild. They stay hidden for a reason. But Been There, Done That introduces kids to the skills they need to suss them out, skills they can use on a camping trip, on a hike, or in their own backyard or city park. A happy addition to the story is the inclusion at the end of the book of bonus pages of puzzles, activities, and a mini field guide to the animals mentioned in the book. Now get the kids out and explore--after reading Been There, Done That, of course!
bwebreview is a professional children's bookseller of eighteen years' experience.