Monday, November 10, 2008

Book Review - Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs

On Saturday I published a thematic book list on animal homes. I often invite readers to post books that they enjoy as a means to expand the list and help me identify those missing gems. Laura Purdie Salas mentioned the book Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs as one of her favorites. As soon as I read the comment, I realized I had missed it. The book was not on the shelf where I was pulling titles from, but in my TBR pile waiting to be reviewed. I'm fixing this oversight today by reviewing the book and concurring heartily with Laura. This IS a perfect book for a collection of titles on animal homes. (It shall be added post haste!)
Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs, written by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Lauren Stringer, is a quiet gem of a book. Written in rhyme and accompanied by vibrant acrylic illustrations, this book introduces many of the unique and interesting places that animals make their homes. It begins this way.
Many places make a home--
A heap of twigs.
A honeycomb.
A castle with a tower or two
An aerie with a bird's-eye view.
Can you name the animals introduced in the first few pages? As the text begins, readers find a family of beavers in their lodge, a swarm of bees protecting their honeycomb and its precious contents from a bear, two children playing in a play castle, and an eagle guarding the eaglets in its nest. The illustrations that accompany each line of the poem are bright and warm, depicting each animal in its home and often the habitat that home is found in.

In addition to the homes mentioned above, readers will learn that webs, sand dunes, cocoons, caves, warrens and many other places serve as homes for living things. One of my favorite parts of the text and illustrations shows "a hole beneath the floor." Can you guess what kind of animal might be living in your home? In this case it is a small mouse, munching on the remains of an apple core.

The book ends this way.
A home's a house, a den, a nest.
A place to play,
A place to rest.
A place to share,
A place to hug.
A home is someplace safe and snug.
This is an engaging text that will leave readers wanting to know more about the animals and their homes. You can even find some ideas for using this book in the classroom by downloading an activity guide. This is a most appropriate title for the study of animal homes. Don't miss it!

Book: Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs
Linda Ashman
Illustrator: Lauren Stringer
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Date Published:
32 pages
Source of Book:
Review copy received from the author.


  1. This sounds like a great one for my three year old. I hope my library carries it, I'll have to go check!

  2. Yea! Glad you liked it as much as I do. I think it's just a tiny masterpiece.

  3. Tricia,

    Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs is one of my favorite picture books. I love Ashman's rhyming text and Stringer's illustrations. I often give the book as a baby gift.