LEAF LITTER CRITTERS: Poems from the Duff

Lynn: There’s nothing more fun for kids (and many adults) than grubbing in the dirt. Any gardener or small child knows that there are a lot of fascinating things to be found there—many of them wonderfully wiggly. But I had no idea of either the huge variety of critters to be found there or their critical importance to the health of the ecosystem.

Leaf Litter Critters by Leslie BulionEnter Leslie Bulion with a fascinating and funny introduction to the duff or brown food web, Leaf Litter Critters (2018). She takes on a subject few of us know much about—or ever thought we’d want to! Protists, nematodes, rotifers and more tiny critters star in bouncy poems that are as fun to read as they are informative. Bulion offers 19 poems, each in a different form, that present information about these largely unseen denizens of the leaf litter layer that provide such an important role.

Each critter gets a two-page spread that includes the poem. A Science Notes section provides additional information about the organism for any reader wanting more. Terrific back matter includes notes on each poetic form, a glossary, science activities, and a fascinating graphic representation of each creature’s relative size.

Bright comic illustrations by Robert Meganck make these critters very appealing while adding to reader’s understanding and make this small book truly enticing.  Fabulous fun, this is a real winner both for the classroom and for young scientists learning on their own.

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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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