My kids and I recently finished a unit on the five senses. As part of that unit, I had the opportunity to review a number of books about the five senses for kids. In this post I’m sharing a description of six books and three series all focused on the five senses. For each book or series, I have noted the appropriate age range from preschooler through late elementary school. If you are planning a five senses unit with your kids or students, I’m sure you’ll find some appropriate children’s books about the five senses from this list below!
Note: To see all posts related to our five senses unit, please visit my five senses activities page.
Books about all five senses
My Five Senses by Aliki
This book provides a great introduction to the five senses for preschoolers or kindergartners. The text is simple and straightforward, so it won’t overwhelm young learners. The book first lists the five senses and which sense organ is used for each. The book then shares an example of how we experience different things with different senses. For example, when we hear a fire engine we use our sense of hearing, and when we pet a kitten we use our sense of touch.
The Five Senses (It’s Science!) by Sally Hewitt
This is another great book about the senses. It is much more detailed than the Aliki book, making it ideal for elementary students rather than preschoolers. The book introduces the five main senses, and then goes on to provide more detail about each. On each page are additional activities kids can do to learn about their senses. And for animal lovers, this book includes a lot of information about how the senses work in animals as well as in humans. For example, we learn that animals that hunt have eyes in the front of their heads in order to be able to spot prey, while animals that are more likely to be eaten have eyes on the sides of their heads in order to spot predators.
Look, Listen, Taste, Touch, and Smell: Learning About Your Five Senses by Pamela Hill Nettleton
This is a great book for preschoolers and kindergartners that lists the five senses and provides a bit of science background to help kids understand how each sense organ carries out its job. The print is large, the language is simple, and the illustrations are appealing for young children. If you are looking for a book that goes beyond a basic description of what the five senses are but is still simple enough for preschoolers to understand, definitely check out this book.
The Magic School Bus Explores the Senses by Joanna Cole
This book makes learning the science behind the five senses a lot of fun! The students board the magic school bus, and along the way end up taking a journey that teaches them exactly how each of the sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, skin, and tongue) send a message to the brain in order to “make sense” the world. In contrast to the basic details provided in the Nettleton book reviewed above, this book contains much more detailed science information, making it most appropriate for mid- or late-elementary students.
This is another book that is more appropriate for elementary students than for preschoolers, although parts of the book would still appeal to preschoolers. This book assumes that the reader already knows what the five senses are. Instead, this book is formatted as a series of questions young readers might have about the five senses followed by detailed answers. Some of the questions addressed in this book include “How do your eyes work?”, “Do all animals see the way people do?”, “How does breathing help you smell?”, and “Why do ice cubes feel cold?”
I Wonder Why Lemons Taste Sour and Other Questions about Senses by Deborah Chancellor
This book, like the Stewart book reviewed above, is also formatted as a series of questions and answers. However, the answers are bite-sized, making them more accessible to young children. The content, however, is still likely to be very interesting to older kids. In fact, I myself learned several new facts while reading this book to my children! Some of the questions addressed in this book include “Why is my tongue bumpy?”, “How do I escape from bad smells?”, “How does a ladybug tickle my finger?”, “Are two ears better than one?”, and “How loud is a whale’s whistle?” My daughter’s favorite question from the book was “Do girls taste better than boys?” She was excited to learn that girls, on average, have more taste buds than boys. 🙂
Books focused on individual senses
The Five Senses Series from Barron’s
These books are wonderful for introducing preschoolers to each of the five senses. The books in this series are written in clear, precise language accompanied by colorful and cheerful illustrations that will appeal to young readers. Each book provides a number of examples of how the sense is used. The back of each book includes a scientific section with additional details about each sense for parents and teachers.
All About Your Senses series from ABDO Publishing Company
These books by Katherine Hengel feature real photographs and fairly simple text to detail the many things that eyes, ears, mouths, noses, and hands, are good for. For example, mouths are for smiling, tasting, pizza, lemons, kisses, and more. And hands are for feeling, playing, washing, waving, high fives, and more. These are good books for preschool through grade 2.
Sense books from Scholastic
These books by Elaine Landau and Ellen Weiss feature real photographs and lots of information about each of the five senses. In contrast to the more basic books by Hengel reviewed above, these books are likely to be enjoyed by slightly older kids. These books feature short “chapters” that cover tons of information about each sense, above and beyond the basics. The back of the book includes a glossary of important words to help children develop new vocabulary.
More five senses resources
More five senses posts from Gift of Curiosity:
- Five senses activities for preschoolers
- Sense of smell: Smelling bottles
- Sense of taste: Tasting bottles
- Sense of sight: Color grading
- Sense of touch: Thermic glasses
- Sense of touch: Sandpaper grading
- Sense of touch: Identifying 3D shapes by touch
- Sense of hearing: Making music
- My five senses book