By: Cynthia Kieber-King
Illustrated by: Christina Wald
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing
Publication Date: March 2011
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: April 2011
If you were to take your binoculars and take a look at the natural world around you, you’d be able to find many interesting things. In your backyard you can see that it is a “habitat” or environmental area where many plants, animals, and insects make their home. A bumble bee and a monarch butterfly flit among the pink cone flowers, while a squirrel skitters up an oak tree to its nest. A robin keeps watch over its fledglings and a raccoon peeks around the edge of an awning to survey the area. A boy lifts his binoculars to take a peek: “Let’s spy in the backyard … / maples stretch, / bumble bees bump, / robins hop, / squirrels jump.” Can you think of any other critters, plants, and insects that might be in your backyard?
Habitats are “communities of plants, animals and non-living things that interact in certain locations.” If you “spy” in a meadow you might get a chance to see jackrabbits scamper thought a field of grasses, black-eyed Susans, and milkweed. Birds flutter around and glance over at Holsteins grazing. A nearby pond is alive with many critters who make it their home. “Let’s spy at the pond … lily pads float, / dragonflies hum, / ducks dip, / beavers drum.” In this book you can also “spy” in the forest, along the banks of a river, a critter filled swamp, in a dark cave, in a busy bog, over the plains, up on a mountain top, in the desert, at the seashore, and over and under the ocean waves.
This is a beautifully illustrated book of a wide assortment of natural habitats. The stunning illustrations embrace the flora, fauna, and inanimate objects that could live in each habitat. The pages are quite busy and will keep the young reader exploring and identifying the life on these pages. This would be one of many easily identifiable activities that I could see just by browsing these pages. The narrative is actually a story in rhyme that points out a few inhabitants in each habitat. In the back of the book is an extensive exploration and activities section that teachers or homeschoolers can use while working with the book. Cross-curricular activities are offered up on the publisher’s website.
Quill says: This is an excellent book to introduce the natural world of habitats to the young student. It would be a wonderful addition to your homeschool or classroom shelves!