Books for a Backyard Safari

Here in Maine, the birds play it safe — and so do the bugs.  A short summer means a short life-cycle, so blend in and live!  That’s why a cardinal or an oriole at the feeder is a show-stopper, and the annual flurry of monarch butterflies will stop my tomato picking and leave me standing slack-jawed in the garden every time.  I’d never get a thing done if I lived with my friend Judy Bowen in Togo, West Africa.

Last Saturday, my ten-month-old grandson and I accepted Miss Judy’s invitation to “stand still and consider the wondrous works of God,” (Job 37:14).  Unbelievable, right?  Between diaper changes and shoveling gallons of carrots into Raymond’s mouth, we found time to visit some West African birds, bugs, and butterflies through Judy’s African Backyard Safari Series.

All grandmotherly gushing aside, I was delighted with Raymond’s response!  The bright pictures captured and held his attention long enough for me to read the one-sentence-per-page narrative, but there’s more here between these paperback covers than awe over creation — although that’s there in abundance!  Judy’s pictures and words (penned in collaboration with her sister, Debbie Chubbuck) are unique in their communication of an awe for the God who made it all, who designed and provided for our great salvation, and who continues to hold all things together.

As a homeschooling mum who, at one time, was teaching science to four different grade levels, I can see a multitude of uses for the four books that Judy has produced:

  • Babies and toddlers will love naming colors and creatures and answering simple questions; e.g. “Which bird is bigger?” or “Where is the moth?”.
  • Preschoolers will be able to identify characteristics, comparing and contrasting the creatures’ unique physical traits and habits such as what they eat and how and where they nest.
  • For early elementary students, the sky’s the limit, depending on the child’s interests.  As an avid photographer, Judy’s pictures have been featured in Astronomy magazine, and her photos demonstrate the patience and eye for detail of a seasoned photographer.
God Cares for You features a gallery of tiny pictures in array on the back cover, and Raymond delighted in touching each one as I told him the name of the creature.  He and I would both like to recommend that Miss Judy produce a set of Memory Game Cards to go with her book series, because it would give readers one more way to interact with the beauty of creation.
Judy’s books are available through her website, or through Books & More at    As a career missionary to Togo in the field of literature acquisition and distribution, Judy is committed to sharing the wonders of God’s creation with others through her photography which can be viewed at The proceeds from the sale of her books are utilized 100% for her ministry in Togo, West Africa.
photo credit:  Judy Bowen

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8 thoughts on “Books for a Backyard Safari”

  1. Hi Michele. I can picture you and your grandson enjoying each and every page of these books. Beautiful. Gosh, had they been around during our homeschooling days, I certainly would have picked them up. And the memory game? Yes. 🙂 Visiting today via #RaRaLinkup

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awe, what a sweet grandmother you are. Raymond is a lucky little boy. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing. Blessed to be neighboring you at the women with intention linkup today. 🙂


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