Where in the Wild?: Camouflaged Creatures Concealed…and Revealed by David M. Schwartz and Yael Schy

where-in-the-wildLynn: There are so many wonderful elements in Where in the Wild (Tricycle Press 2007) and this year’s follow up Where Else in the Wild (Tricycle Press 2009) that it is hard to know where to start! Lovely poetry, gorgeous photography, skillful book design and well done factual material combine to make books that are delightful for readers and that can be used in so many ways. The books begin with an introduction discussing camouflage and why that is important for animals and then invites readers to try to find the camouflaged animals photographed in their natural habitats. Each full-page photograph can then be lifted to reveal a page with the animal’s location highlighted along with information about the animal. The photographs are truly breathtaking and I often found it very hard to spot the hidden creature without lifting the page for help. Excellent accompanying poems provide helpful hints.

I shared these books with our focus group who turned out to have much sharper eyes than I did. Initially we sat together with the book. I read them the introduction and the poetry and they loved finding the camouflaged animals. After several “reads” they were ready to hear the factual animal information read too. The boys have returned again and again to these books independently and have pounced on any new arrival who will sit for a demonstration of the books’ wonders. Best read as lap books or independently, these have provided ongoing fascination for all of us.

where-elseCindy: I can see why six-year-olds are fascinated by these books, but the adults holding the books will be too. I struggled to find some of the creatures and others just amazed me. My favorite is the white and purple orchid mantis seen on the cover of Where Else in the Wild? Gorgeous. The poems vary from rhyming couplets to simple concrete poems to nature appropriate haiku. These books would outfit a class with subjects for further animal research or for units on observation and camouflage. We all know that rabbits are said to be prolific at reproduction but did you know that populations can jump to 10,000 snowshoe hares in a single square mile and then drop to a single hare in a matter of a few years? The texts are full of interesting facts that will get young kids talking about animal habits and the photography is beautiful. I’m ready for another sequel: Where Else in the Wild…Again, anyone?

nonfictionmonday1Thanks to Simply Science for coming back from vacation to host this week’s Nonfiction Monday. Why didn’t we ask for a holiday break? Oh, yeah, we have books we’re trying to wedge into our schedule before the year comes to a close. No rest for the weary…

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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