This introduction to animals’ migratory habits functions almost more as a comprehensive lesson plan than as a straightforward picture book. Poems written from the point of view of migrating animals themselves, accompanied by brief facts, are followed by extensive back matter including additional information about each of the animals, a map showing migratory paths, suggested books and Web sites, information about migration itself, and extended activities. Although much of the back matter will be of interest primarily to educators, the poetry and illustrations are child-friendly and should pique and hold young zoologists’ interest. The animals featured are ones that children know: turtles, monarch butterflies, and whales, among others. The poems feature accessible vocabulary and carry the theme “Going home, going home” throughout. Softly colored double-page spreads use a variety of perspectives to show the animals both close-up and in the context of their environments. Best for curricular use, in a school, classroom, or homeschool library.
— ALA Booklist (February 17, 2010)
Veteran science writer Cherry and award-winning photographer Braasch team up to make climate change less frightening by showing children how to empower themselves as “citizen scientists.” Cherry begins with a no-nonsense chapter about hypotheses and theories, facts versus belief. She goes on to explain how observation can help bring about climate-change strategies; the information about children involved with Project Budburst is particulary interesting. Along the way, there are examples of how nature is changing-from migrations to melting icecaps to rising coastlines-and how these changes have been observed. The second section, “Fitting the Clues Together,” considers what scientists do with their information and notes successes that have been achieved (for example, species saved and reduction of carbon footprints) and ways kids can help reduce energy. The can-do emphasis helps to make the topic less depressing, and the intriguing color photographs are thoughtful and upbeat. Many scientists were called upon during the writing of this book, and it shows.
— ALA Booklist (February 15, 2008)
“Inside all / Is a universe / Energy flowing.” So begins a journey at the outermost edge of everything. Inside the universe is a galaxy, milky and glowing, and inside the galaxy is a planet, blue and hopeful. The text moves from space to earth, from valley to village, and finally to a home where a child sleeps. Now the book takes a more metaphysical turn as it explains that “Inside your heart / Is all / Love overflowing.” The impressionistic artwork, swirling and whirling, starts out with the blues of the sky and becomes more solid once on earth, with trees, snow, and starshine falling around a brown house. Under the bedcovers, which look as much like earth and sea as blankets, a child’s face peeks out; then the art becomes ethereal once more, taking the child to the top of a mountain. Attractive in look and compact and appealing in story, this brings the idea of interconnectedness to a level young children can understand. The soothing tone makes it a good bedtime choice as well.
— ALA Booklist (October 1, 2008)
In the second book of the Jo MacDonald series, Old MacDonald’s granddaughter Jo and her cousin Mike plant and tend a vegetable garden. Adapting the familiar E-I-E-I-O song to the new theme, Quattlebaum’s rhyming verses lend themselves to sing-along sessions. Endearing ink-and-watercolor illustrations show the garden’s progress as Jo and Mike dig, plant, water, and, finally, pick tomatoes and squash. Meanwhile, seven critters arrive to share the garden. Discussing the plants and animals illustrated and suggesting outdoor activities related to gardens, the informative back matter rounds out this amiable picture book.
— ALA Booklist, Carolyn Phelan (May 2012)
Old MacDonald’s granddaughter, Jo, discovers a quiet pond on the farm, thereby bringing a new ecosystem to today’s readers within the familiar framework of a song they know and love. With notebook in hand, Jo draws each animal she spies as the pond community comes to life with a “blurp-blurp here” and a “scree-scree there.” When a largemouth bass leaps to catch a whirring dragonfly (but fortunately misses), he makes a huge splash that scatters the animals, and the pond is once again quiet. Young children will chime in at singing the tune as they enjoy the onomatapoeia and meet eight pond inhabitants. Bryant’s appealing, soft-flowing watercolors offer clues as to what animal comes next and are great for encouraging predictions. Back matter includes Jo’s drawings, an activity for kids to match sounds to animals, information on the flora and fauna, and ideas about how to become a naturalist like Jo.
— ALA Booklist (November 1, 2011)
A young moose is lured to town from his home in the north woods. He follows a road and a railway that roar like a river “as if filled with spring water pounding against rocks.” Then the moose finds his way back home by following the migrating geese. Moving beyond anthropomorphism, Kasperson tries to imagine how the moose experiences the world, “listening” with all the senses, caught by excitement and curiosity. The soft, blurry watercolors extend the text, showing the human reality of what the moose perceives. Children will enjoy seeing that the “hard river” is what we know as a road and that a moose could see a truck as a bellowing creature “with wild shining eyes.” The climax is a double-page spread of the young moose with his head raised, listening to the geese calling. Kids will get the message of the connectedness of the animals and the earth. Hazel Rochman.
— ALA Booklist
With a fluid text and lively illustrations, this picture book introduces 10 Australian animals: saltwater crocodiles, wallabies, koalas, platypuses, rainbow lorikeets, wombats, sugar gliders, brolgas, bilbies, and emus. Many writers have used the structure, rhythm, and rhyme scheme of the traditional rhyme “Over in the Meadow” as a vehicle for similar topics, but few have adapted it as successfully as Berkes. Varied effects of painted, printed, and textured elements enhance Dubin’s vibrant collages of cut and torn papers. The first 10 double-page spreads focus on the animal mothers and their babies; the next locates each species on a map of Australia and challenges children to go back and search for the other creatures hidden in the pictures. The book concludes with facts about all the Australian animals shown, a brief bibliography, ideas for activities, and the traditional tune for “Over in the Meadow.” A great choice for classroom units on Australia.
— ALA Booklist (March 15, 2011
As in Over in Australia (2011) and Over in the Arctic (2008), this picture book reworks the traditional rhyme “Over in the Meadow” to introduce the animals in a habitat, here a temperate forest. The verses flow smoothly, observing 10 animal parents as they instruct their little ones: squirrels learn to leap, skunks to spray, and so on. The attractive collage illustrations offer plenty of opportunities for counting as well as observing woodland animals. The extensive back matter includes tips for using the book, notes on the animals, and music for the song.
— ALA Booklist, Carolyn Phelan (May 2012)
The author of Salamander Rain: A Lake and Pond Journal illustrates the Sonoran Desert of Arizona in a number of ways. The nature journal entries of a girl named Megan, recently moved to Arizona, face full-page watercolors in the bright colors of the desert. Each image has a border of related flora and fauna; for example, the saguaro page is bordered by other cacti. Other text boxes describe scorpions, butterflies, coyotes, tarantulas, and jackrabbits. Text bites describe plants and flowers. Megan makes a friend of a local Native American boy and his grandmother, and their stories and perspectives are woven into the natural history along with descriptions of the monthly moons: October is Small Rains Moon, for example. . . . the natural history is sound and the pictures engaging.
— ALA Booklist, Grace Anne DeCandido (October 2002)
Through a lyrical counting rhyme, children accompany Sue as she walks the shore, collecting seashells for her grandmother. The rhythmic lines reinforce numbers 1 through 12, while describing individual shells and explaining what shells are and how they came to be on the sandy shore. The strong-stroked watercolor art subtly educates as well, depicting not only the traditional sweep of wide, clean, swimmers’ beach but also the rougher edges of the shore. It’s along the shore that sea birds prowl alongside Sue amid the large, rough boulders and between the feathers, driftwood, and other ocean debris caught in tangles of dried seaweed and rocks. With each turn of the page, a new shell is discovered, identified, and displayed in the wide left margin. At rhyme’s end, the text elaborates on the poem’s basic facts, delivering details about each particular shell. A seashell identification chart completes this instructive shell hunt that children will enjoy even if they can’t feel the sun on their backs or sand between their toes.
— ALA Booklist, Ellen Mandel (March 2002)
Reed-Jones’ cumulative verse technique, which very effectively illustrates the ecological concept, will make this book a lively story-time or lap-share read-aloud as well as a good choice for choral reading. Canyon’s superb double-page illustrations can be appreciated both as fine works of art and as detailed studies of forest flora and fauna.
— ALA Booklist