I Was: The Stories of Animal Skulls (Hardcover)

I Was: The Stories of Animal Skulls By Katherine Hocker, Natasha Donovan (Illustrator) Cover Image

I Was: The Stories of Animal Skulls (Hardcover)


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A graceful tribute to the cycle of life reveals the secret language of skulls—and the traits and behaviors of the animals they once belonged to.

Strong, smooth domes, skulls are more than remnants of creatures that used to be. They are artifacts that allow us to travel back through time. Every ridge, hollow, and crevice of a skull reveals something about an animal’s habitat, food source, and skill set. By observing the characteristics of six different animal skulls, readers can learn about the lives once led by a lynx, a deer, a beaver, a hummingbird, a wolf, and an owl. Katherine Hocker’s lyrical text and Natasha Donovan’s fluid artwork, paired with sound scientific data and back matter resources, will ignite a child’s native curiosity and encourage mindful observation of the wonders hidden in nature—and ourselves.
Katherine Hocker is an author, illustrator, and teacher with a degree in biology and a graduate certificate in science communication. Before teaching science drawing lessons, she taught nature studies as a school naturalist. She is passionate about helping children and adults strengthen their observational and artistic skills as they connect with the living landscape through her work. She says, “After twenty years of teaching science and art classes to elementary students, I can say with confidence that no subject supercharges a lesson like animal skulls. At first the kids are squeamish, but as they run their fingers over the teeth and gaze into the eye sockets, they learn that skulls are more than just spooky thrills. Skulls tell the stories of animals that once lived.” Katherine Hocker lives in Gustavus, Alaska.

Natasha Donovan is a Métis illustrator with a focus on comics and children’s illustrations. She is the illustrator of the award-winning children’s book series The Mothers of Xsan and several other picture books and graphic novels. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Natasha Donovan now lives in Deming, Washington.
Product Details ISBN: 9781536223132
ISBN-10: 1536223131
Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Date: May 7th, 2024
Pages: 40
Language: English
An invitation to contemplate what animal skulls can reveal about their previous users’ senses and behaviors. Donovan’s carefully detailed skulls, most placed on the ground in outdoorsy settings, make it easy to follow Hocker’s beautifully penned poetic references. . . . Heady lessons in reasoning from evidence, with food for deeper thought.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Hocker reminds readers that there is more to nature than a casual glance affords. . . the text flows smoothly, and both the facts presented and the plea to appreciate the multiple ways nature speaks to us are clear.
—The Horn Book

Focusing on a seldom-covered aspect of animals, this dreamy work looks at animals’ skulls, forming a guessing game along the way. . . [an] informative choice for science shelves.