Reviews

© Anne Coe

Reviews

Bristlecone: The Secret Life of the World’s Oldest Tree

“Inherently fascinating, impressively informative, throughly ‘kid friendly’ in organization and presentation, “Bristlecone: The Secret Life of the World’s Oldest Tree” by the team of author Alexandra Siy and illustrator Marlo Garnsworthy is an extraordinary, unique, and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, middle school, and community library Botanical Science picture book collections for young readers ages 8-10.”—Midwest Book Review

“The world’s oldest trees get the spotlight in Siy’s picture book. In her first book since Voyager’s Greatest Hits (2017), the author brings the story of a bristlecone pine tree to life. This nonfiction book’s story opens with a walk into the California mountains toward one of the world’s oldest trees. Readers learn how a bristlecone pine starts as a seed deposited on a rocky mountain, then stretches up toward the sky, developing growth rings. The pace is slow, soothingly moving through the seasons as the tree matures. Siy explains how scientists determine a tree’s age and possible threats to bristlecones that, if conquered, show up in its growth rings. It opens with life cycle and photosynthesis diagrams and ends with further details about bristlecones, a glossary, and a guide to animals in the book. Garnsworthy’s mixed-media full-color illustrations employ a rich, vivid palette that enlivens the natural world…. This title conveys useful information that not only educates readers on bristlecones, but also offers wider lessons about dendrology in the vein of Christiane Dorion’s Into the Forest: Wander Through Our Woodland World( 2019).”—Kirkus Reviews

“Siy and Garnsworthy have created a picture book for all ages that is creative nonfiction at its best.  It spotlights STEAM, including an “A” for “art” plus science that shows us HOW we know while infusing a desire to WANT to know.  It innovatively includes suspense, romance, and wonder in a tale of these battle-scarred heroes of the plant kingdom.”—Vicki Cobb, Founder/President of iNK Think Tank, Inc.

“As beautifully illustrated as it is informative, this enchanting and engaging book takes readers ages 5 to 9 on a journey through time. Through the lens of an ancient bristlecone pine’s lifecycle, the story of the world’s oldest trees blends science and secrets to draw readers into a surprisingly nuanced tale of history, biology, and ecological awareness that delights while it teaches.”—Dr. Matthew Salzer, Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research

“Featuring an informative yet approachable narrative and striking illustrations, the story of these aged plants is well told in this colorful book. The author also includes a nice summary at the end of the book, offering resource information for even deeper study of these truly amazing and long-lived trees.”—Children’s Literature

“Ancient bristlecone pines are the oldest trees on earth and have lived for more than 5,000 years. Within their rings are the secrets of the past. From volcanic eruptions and droughts to insect attacks and lightning strikes, each pattern of the rings tells us what the tree has experienced. These trees live in the harshest conditions and grow slowly across California, Nevada, and Utah. With “branches flexing, needles sunning, sugar surging, sap flowing, roots soaking—the seedling grows, ring by ring.” A beautifully told and illustrated story about the world’s oldest tree. Readers will also find a glossary of terms used in the book, a life cycle of the tree, and a field guide to some of the animals that live in the ancient bristlecone forest.”—KidsBookshelf 

Pika Country: Climate Change at the Top of the World

NSTA_AwardNamed an “Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12” by the National Science Teacher’s Association (NSTA) and Children’s Book Council

Named one of “The Best Children’s Books of the Year” by the Children’s Book Committee and the Bank Street College of Education

“Pikas, tiny rabbit relatives living in high altitudes, serve as an entry point toward understanding the consequences of a warming world. Following At Home With the Beaver, with photos by Michael Runtz (2019), Patent, with co-author Garnsworthy, returns to the idea of the interconnectedness of species with this welcome new title. Hartman’s photographs dramatically illustrate a clear, well-organized text that opens with descriptions of the mountainous “pika country” near Yellowstone National Park and the feisty pikas. Readers first see a pika “scurry, scurry, hurry,” gathering food for the day and for its winter hay pile. There’s a helpful map and photos of the scenery in several seasons. The writers introduce the idea of climate change (printed in boldface and defined, like other important words, in a glossary) and other animals sharing this gradually warming habitat. Not only is the pika’s livable world shrinking as the snowline moves up the mountains, there’s less of an insulating snowpack in winter and fewer hours with appropriate temperatures for foraging in summer. Photos, diagrams (by Garnsworthy), and words work together to demonstrate the food web that includes this tiny mammal and other plants and animals, also threatened by the changing climate, whose lives connect with theirs. In conclusion, final essays explain today’s climate change causes and suggest some personal actions in the realms of transportation, living and eating habits, and sharing information, but no sources or further resources are offered. An effective demonstration of the reverberations of climate change. (Nonfiction. 6-9)” Kirkus Reviews

“Beautifully illustrated with full color photography on each page, “Pika Country: Climate Change at the Top of the World” will take young readers ages 5-9 on a journey to a place they have never ventured before that is beneath a rock pile on a lonely mountain top. There they will meet the pikas, or rock rabbits. These scurrying, squeaking, industrious, and exceedingly cute mammals make their living harvesting grass and wildflowers during the brief alpine summers. But despite the remoteness of their homes, the pikas’ lifestyle and survival are threatened by Climate Change. Children will enjoy following the story of pikas which is told with lavish photographs by Dan Hartman, and the clear prose of collaborative authors Dorothy Patent and Marlo Garnsworthy, and learn how small actions on our part can have global benefits. “Pika Country: Climate Change at the Top of the World” is an extraordinary, fun and informative addition to elementary school and community library Wildlife and Environmental Studies picture book collections and reading lists.”Midwest Book Review

“Pikas may seem cute and cuddly, but in this book they serve as a clear representation of the dangers many species face amid a warming climate. Winner of the National Science Teachers Association Outstanding Science Trade Book Award, this non-fiction resource stands out through its succinct text and large photographs. Elementary school-aged children can learn about the life of pikas in their chilly alpine environment and how climate change endangers them. Authors Dorothy Hinshaw Patent and Marlo Garnsworthy also help frame how the plight of pikas is connected to predators, pollinators, and alpine plants. This helpful climate change resource contains several food web diagrams and is followed up by a definition of climate change, actions we can take in response to it, and a glossary.” –Green Teacher

The Turtle Dove’s Journey: A Story of Migration

Named one of “The Best Children’s Books of the Year” by the Children’s Book Committee and the Bank Street College of Education

Finalist for the Animal Behavior Society’s
Outstanding Children’s Book Award

“The story of the monthlong, 4,000-mile migration of a European turtle dove from his nesting site in an English garden to rural Mali. Dunphy’s account is based on the migration of a real bird of this species that was tracked with satellite telemetry by Britain’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. A series of warm, colorful illustrations is paired with a narrative describing each stage in the bird’s journey. The conversational third-person narration folds in lots of information: about how the bird knows where he is going—instinct, the sun, and recognition of landmarks from previous flights; why he flies at night (to avoid predators); where he hides during the day; and the various dangers of the trip, including heat, dust, and weather. Interesting details are included, such as the astonishing fact that the dove travels over the English Channel faster than the ships crossing it. The moving, engaging story is told with just the right blend of poetic warmth and factual detail to satisfy curious budding naturalists: “Luckily, this [Sahara Desert sandstorm] is relatively mild, and the turtle dove flies above it—much like an airplane can fly above a rainstorm.” A closing essay describes why this species is thought to migrate and notes that it is sadly on the decline due to changes in agricultural practices, hunting, drought, and disease. A compelling introduction to the miracle of migration. (map, resources) (Informational picture book. 6-10)” Kirkus Reviews

“Every year, turtle doves living in England and throughout Europe set out on an epic journey. In August or September, these birds fly off on a migratory pathway that takes them to Mali on the continent of Africa. This trip will encompass four thousand miles of flight and will take a month to complete. Flying at night to avoid predators, the doves first fly across the European continent, then cross over to Africa at Gibraltar, fly over the Sahara Desert, and finally arrive at their migratory destination. For six months, the doves live in their African habitat before returning north to raise their families in Europe. It is the story of the turtle dove, and its amazing migration, that readers will encounter in this lovely illustrated book. The story of the turtle doves migration is well-told in the informative text, and the colorful illustrations are a true augmentation to the story of these redoubtable birds. The author concludes the book with an informative summation of these amazing birds and the extreme challenges they face in their battle to survive as a species. Turtle doves are in danger of extinction due to habitat loss and environmental damage wrought by human beings. By learning more about the fantastic journeys turtle doves undertake, perhaps young people will better understand that our actions can have dire consequences for other living beings. This lovely book is a wonderful source of information and one that young readers with a bent for nature studies will enjoy.”—Children’s Literature

“This turtle dove’s journey was based on the migration of a real turtle dove that was tracked by satellite telemetry. Readers can follow the turtle dove as he begins to become restless in a garden in Suffolk, England and knows that it is time for him to migrate south. The turtle dove waits until night, when it is safer from predators, to travel the 4,000 miles from England to Mali. His month long journey takes him through England, France, Spain, and Africa until he finally arrives in Mali. Flying over land and water he stops each day to rest and eat for the next night’s journey. This beautifully written story about the journey of one turtle dove gives young readers a glimpse into the natural world of migration. (Ages 4-8)”—KIDSbookshelf

“Starting in the prim hedges of Suffolk, England, instinct drives the dove high into the night skies for a 4,000 mile trip to the savannahs of Mali, in West Africa. Along the way there are lonely, moonlit flights above the sea, a cozy hideout in the bushes of Bordeaux, France, a meeting of the birds at Gibraltar, the fountains of Casablanca, winds flowing “like a river” down canyons of the Atlas Mountains, and a Sahara sandstorm churning below. A combination of hero’s journey and guided tour, ‘The Turtle Dove’s Journey: A Story of Migration’ is picture account of the turtle dove’s annual migration that will carry children’s imaginations into unexplored territories. With carefully researched prose by author Madeleine Dunphy and showcasing beautifully luminous paintings by artist/illustrator Marlo Garnsworthy, ‘The Turtle Dove’s Journey: A Story of Migration’ is especially recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections as being perfect for any young reader ages 5-9 who has ever wondered about the mysterious journeys of the Turtle Dove.”—Midwest Book Review

At Home with the Beaver: The Story of a Keystone Species

Booklist
Starred Review

Named one of “The Best Children’s Books of the Year” by the Children’s Book Committee and the Bank Street College of Education

“By cutting down trees to make a dam across a creek, a pair of beavers create a pond. In its center, they build their lodge, a home where they can raise their young. Meanwhile, the beavers’ two construction projects have changed their environment, creating a new network of small and large organisms within the pond and beyond it, where water seeps through the soil to support grasses and other plants that now have more sunlight, since the beavers have felled a number of trees. Because of its enormous impact in forming and supporting a diverse ecosystem, the beaver is knows as a keystone species. A zoologist who has written many fine science books for children, Patent explains the concept clearly, presents an overview of the pond, and introduces some of the wildlife in and around it. Whether showing a broad view of the pond or focusing on a particular bird, Runtz’s color photos illustrate the text well. With a sense of immediacy and crisp clarity, each picture invites viewers to look closely at the animals and their surroundings. An enlightening companion book to Madeleine Dunphy’s At Home with the Gopher Tortoise: The Story of a Keystone Species (2010) and an informative addition to library collections.”—Booklist

“Up-close and personal with a critically essential wetlands animal. Beavers are known as a “keystone species” because the dams they build from logs, sticks, and mud create ecosystems—ponds—that provide habitats and sustenance for a vast variety of life forms that dwell in and around the ponds, including plants, insects, fish, snakes, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and other mammals. These sturdy rodents’ gifts keep on giving even beyond the ponds: Pond water irrigates surrounding vegetation, and the spaces left by trees beavers cut down with their strong, sharp teeth allow for more sunlight to pour down on the greenery. How important are beavers? This biodiversity likely wouldn’t exist without their hard labor. The author offers up these and other fascinating facts in clear, pithy, accessible prose, expressed in a conversational tone, including the tidbit that other animals may help themselves to beavers’ own lodges—sometimes even when the beavers are still living in them. The well-written, economic text, presented on the recto of double-page spreads, is handsomely supported by excellent, high-quality color photos on facing pages; these feature close-ups of some of the plants and wildlife that inhabit a pond and its idyllic surrounding landscape. A fine browse for young animal lovers and a good, basic choice for report writers.”(author’s note, websites) (Informational picture book. 6-9) —Kirkus Review

“While most kids know beavers are builders, they probably don’t realize the enormous impact this busy animal has on the environment. But beavers create a place for ‘thousands of living things of all sizes, shapes, and colors’ to live, nest, and find food. That is why beavers are considered a keystone species. When beavers cut down trees to build their lodges and dams, the increase in water and sunlight changes the environment. The diminished forest and the newly created pond allows plants to grow, which, in turn, provides food and shelter to animals. Photographs illustrate for young readers the plethora of living organisms the beaver pond invites, as well as the interconnections between plants and animals. For example, the joe-pye weed is food for monarch butterflies, the cattails provide a nesting place for red-winged blackbirds, and the water-lily pads hold green frogs. Likewise, dragonflies lay eggs on plant stems, turtles sun on fallen logs, and salamanders lay their eggs in the water. Bigger animals, such as moose, foxes and raccoons are drawn to drink and hunt, and a variety of birds frequent the beaver pond in search of insects, as well. Even the beaver lodge itself can be a home to wildlife, such as muskrats and Canada geese. Finally, readers will see how micro-organisms beneath the surface of the water are part of a food chain that begins with these tiny organisms. From green algae to water flea to backswimmer to bass to kingfisher, each organism eats and gets eaten. The labeled photographs and clear text allow children to fully grasp the interconnections in this unique environment and the “crucial role of beavers in the ecosystem.” Backmatter offers additional information about beavers and details the efforts being made to recognize and protect this important keystone species.”—Children’s Literature

” ‘At Home with the Beaver: The Story of a Keystone Species’ is a nonfiction children’s picturebook about much more than beavers. ‘At Home with the Beaver’ examines how the beaver’s dam creates a pond habitat that a multitude of other plants and animals depend on for survival, especially those that need still water instead of rapidly flowing water. From frogs to ducks to plants, fish, snakes, and even fierce predators, all sorts of different living things are connected through the “keystone”, dam-building beaver. Captivating, full-color photography of wildlife in its natural habitat distinguishes this treasure for school and public library picturebook collections.”—Midwest Book Review

“Beavers make ponds that thousands of species depend on and zoologist Dorothy Hinshaw Patent has written this book to teach us all about it. By building a dam and lodge, this keystone species provides a wet, sun-filled habitat for plants, insects, and other animals. Many of these living things are included in exquisite photographs that fill the pages. The author mentions well-known water-loving creatures like ducks and frogs, but also species less commonly discussed like water fleas, damselflies, and jewelweed. While not specifically intended as a pond species identification guide, this book has labeled photographs that can certainly help children, their parents, and their teachers better notice and name living things in their neighborhood ponds. From food webs to shelter, the concepts in this book are useful for getting readers to think about connections among species and the roles beavers play.”―Green Teacher

Volcano Dreams: A Story of Yellowstone

Reading The West Award shortlist 2018

2020 Treasure State Award 3rd Place, Montana State Literacy Association

2021 Beehive Book Award Nominee, Children’s Literature Association of Utah

“Janet Fox warmly harnesses the rhythms and sensations of wakefulness and sleep in this insightful exploration of the geological past and (hopefully quite distant) future of an American treasure.” —Chris Barton, Sibert Honor-winning author of The Day-Glo Brothers.

“Under a Yellowstone landscape populated by interesting animals lies a sleeping giant, a great volcano. This book makes a clever connection between the geology and the wildlife of America’s first national park. A gentle text and scenic illustrations depict various animals’ activities throughout the day. Then, attention turns to what’s happening underground, the processes that result in the bubbling mud pots, hissing steam vents, and roaring geysers. Fox describes a time when the volcano erupted, noting the lasting effects in the rocks and plant cover, and, finally, the narrative returns to the animals, now ready for sleep. The metaphor is accessible even to young listeners, and the effect is soothing rather than frightening. The text and translucent frames for the animal scenes are set directly on double-page illustrations done with pencil, watercolor collage, and digital oil paints. These realistic images show the large animals described in the text—wolf, moose, bear, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, mountain lion, coyote—and smaller ones that can be found by the curious child and easily identified by a knowledgeable adult reader. A helpful map on the title page shows the outlines of the caldera within the park; the backmatter includes a glossary of volcano-related words and more about this long-dormant “supervolcano.” The author’s first picture book reflects her own appreciation for this national treasure, which could inspire family visits. An unusual and appealing addition to the sense-of-wonder shelf.”—Kirkus Review

“This lyrical, lusciously illustrated title offers an introduction to the flora and fauna of Yellowstone Park to young readers. A brief history of the formation of the world-renowned land feature is simply, yet dramatically told. The personification of the magma chamber beneath the park as a sleeping giant will work well for this audience. Special features such as mud pots, steam vents, and geysers are touched upon, while volcano vocabulary such as magma, volcanic ash, lava, and obsidian glass are made clear by the vibrant watercolor collage and digital oil illustrations. Children will be drawn to the double-page spreads depicting animals of Yellowstone—bison, wolves, moose, bears, big horn rams, and mountain goats—in their natural habitat. Though students will likely choose this book for browsing, it is perfect for teachers in need of simple, engagingly rendered books on national landmarks, land features, and animal habitats. An addendum, “More About Yellowstone and Its Volcano,” further aids instruction. A valuable addition to an Earth science collection. Glossary.”—School Library Connection

“Something big is sleeping in Yellowstone, but it isn’t any of the animals. The wolf is watching out for her pups, the moose is scooping up pondweed, the bear is eating chokecherries, the rams are playing, the buffalo are grazing, the coyote howls, and even the earth is awake. Mud pots are bubbling, steam vents are hissing, and geysers are roaring. Way down deep in the ground where the rocks are soft and hot, a sleeping giant waits to wake again someday. Long ago the volcano erupted and formed the great yellow cliffs, columnar joints, liquid rock froze to black obsidian glass and left the land to be carved into deep canyons by streams and rivers, and lush meadows grew. It may be a very long time before the volcano erupts again, but for now the animals, nature, and humans enjoy the beauty of Yellowstone. A beautifully told story of Yellowstone.”—KidsBookshelf

“Lyrical prose and luminous paintings lead young readers ages 5 to 9 on a picture book tour of the Yellowstone supervolcano, from the wolves, elk, bears, and mountain goats that roam its surface, to the fiery depths of its magma chamber. “Volcano Dreams: A Story of Yellowstone ” deftly knits together the vibrancy of the Yellowstone ecosystem with its explosive history, placing the everyday lives of its creatures within the context of geological time. Janet Fox’s poetic text takes us to the root of it all by identifying the “sleeping giant” of magma responsible for the Yellowstone landscape. Marlo Garnsworthy’s evocative paintings fully capture the awe of natural forces at work in our nation’s oldest national park. Entertaining, informative, and thoroughly ‘kid friendly’ from first page to last, “Volcano Dreams: A Story of Yellowstone” is unreservedly recommended for family, school, and community library collections.”—Midwest Book Review

Hawk Mother: The Story of a Red-Tailed Hawk Who Hatched Chickens

Awarded The Flora Stieglitz Straus Award
for an outstanding work of nonfiction

NSTA_AwardSelected by
the Junior Library Guild

NSTA_Award

Named an “Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12” by the National Science Teacher’s Association (NSTA) and Children’s Book Council

“Zoologist Hagedorn tells the story of Sunshine, a red-tailed hawk she adopted after the bird was shot by a hunter and left incapable of surviving in the wild. In plainspoken present-tense narration, Hagedorn details how she has cared for Sunshine over time: “Every day I help her out into the yard so she can bathe in the rain or stretch her broken wing in the warm sunlight.” After Sunshine constructed nests and laid (unfertilized) eggs for several years, Hagedorn tried placing two fertile chicken eggs in Sunshine’s nest, an experiment that paid off when the hawk accepted the chicks that hatched as her own. Large, close-up photographs show Sunshine caring for the chicks until they are full-grown roosters. A tender story of cross-species relationships—most movingly, perhaps, the one between Sunshine and the author. Ages 5–9.”—Publishers Weekly

“In this moving true story, zoologist Hagedorn relates the story of her unusual encounter with a wild red-tailed hawk. Shot down but not killed, the injured raptor is brought to the wildlife center where the white author works. Thus begins a long relationship between an exceptionally patient and caring scientist and a wounded animal. Through dramatic full-page color photographs and straightforward narration, Hagedorn describes how she enabled the hawk, named Sunshine for her happy disposition, to live a life in captivity as naturally as possible. In a large, purpose-built aviary, bird and scientist together construct a nest in which the bird lays two eggs. Although the unfertilized eggs will never hatch, the mother bird faithfully incubates them. This process continues for several years, when Hagedorn tries the experiment of substituting two fertilized chicken’s eggs for Sunshine’s own eggs. With great excitement, hawk and woman watch the chickens hatch. The bird’s maternal instinct wins over her predatory nature, and she feeds and raises the two roosters as if they were her own offspring. Hagedorn concludes by reminding readers that ‘we can all overcome challenges and adjust to new situations with the help of others!’ A well-told personal story with a positive environmental message.” (author’s note, glossary) (Informational picture book. 6-10)”Kirkus Review

K-Gr 4—”When a bullet forever impairs Sunshine, a beautiful red-tailed hawk, she is cared for in captivity and given a second chance at life. Author and zoologist Hagedorn tells the story of how she adopted this magnificent wild creature, and how she helped Sunshine heal from the terrible injury that eliminated any chance of the hawk surviving in the wild. Though no longer in pain, Sunshine’s life in captivity limits her ability to act on natural instincts, the strongest of which are to nest and nurture young. Hagedorn explains, in accessible language, how she was able to help Sunshine become a surrogate mother to two young chickens. She uses clear language and highlights new terms for readers, who are then able to define those terms using the glossary in the back of the book. VERDICT A softhearted read for young naturalists, or any children interested in animal behavior, recommended for elementary school libraries.”—School Library Journal

“Sunshine, a red-tailed hawk, can no longer fly. Her left wing is broken from a gunshot wound and she can no longer care for herself. She is taken to the vet where she meets Kara, a zoologist, who adopts her and takes care of her. When Sunshine lays two eggs, Kara knows the eggs are infertile and will never hatch into chicks, but Sunshine takes care of them anyway. Then Kara gets the idea to let Sunshine incubate two fertile chicken eggs, she’s unsure of how Sunshine will react to the baby chicks when they hatch, because they look and behave differently than baby hawks. But Sunshine surprises everyone when she takes care of the baby chicks as if they were her own. A great story about overcoming challenges and adjusting to new situations.”—KidsBookshelf

“Thoroughly ‘kid friendly’ in organization and presentation, profusely illustrated with full color photography, “Hawk Mother: The Story of a Red-tailed Hawk Who Hatched Chickens” is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book Pets/Wildlife collections.”—Midwest Book Review

Cat in the Night

Readers Choice Award Named a “Children’s Choice” by the International Literacy Association
and Children’s Book Council 

Cat in the Night is the real deal. This is a great little book.”—John Bradshaw, bestselling author of Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet.

PreS-Gr 2—”Rusty the cat is just waking up as his person, a little girl named Gwen, is falling asleep. He slips out an open window. “There he smells night-blooming jasmine, an overflowing garbage can, and the scents of familiar neighborhood animals. But tonight, something is…different. It is the scent of an unknown cat.” Rusty is on the case! During his search, he meets a skunk, raccoons, a mouse who turns into a midnight snack, and an opossum. Observant readers will delight in spotting the “intruder” in a number of scenes, which builds suspense and anticipation. Brunet’s gorgeous, full-spread illustrations perfectly set the moonlit tone. The depictions of cats and other animals are realistic, with lots of details for readers to pore over and discover. The two felines finally meet, and the inevitable tussle ensues, with Rusty managing to successfully chase off the culprit. The sun is just coming up when we see Rusty making his way back home for a quick bite to eat before curling up in bed with Gwen again—the story satisfyingly comes full circle. This tale will speak to children’s imaginings of pets or toys having another life while they sleep. VERDICT A quiet and suspenseful nighttime adventure that will appeal to cat lovers.”—School Library Journal

“This book, beautifully illustrated by Joshua Brunet, is a wonderful story. Rusty, Gwen’s sweet docile cat, goes exploring at night while Gwen is asleep. She has no idea that Rusty sneaks out and explores the neighborhood―meeting raccoons and opossums, and catching mice. He even protects the house from other cat intruders. Even though this is a suspenseful and enjoyable narrative, children will also learn about cat behavior. It would be a great read-aloud for any child who loves animals or an educational read for the elementary science classroom.”—School Library Connection Reviews

“A cat relies on his senses during a nocturnal foray. As a little black girl falls asleep, Rusty, her cat, wakes up, slips out the window, and instantly smells an intruding cat. Intent on the other feline, Rusty avoids a skunk and leaps onto the backyard fence. Leaving his scent as he “tiptoes along its ledge like a tightrope walker in a circus,” Rusty tracks the cat’s scent into the neighbor’s yard, where two raccoons are playing. Temporarily diverted by a high-pitched squeak and quick mouse hunt, Rusty watches an opossum disappear into the bushes. Finally, a scratching sound lures Rusty onto the garage roof, where he confronts the alien cat. A feisty feline fight with hissing and screeching ensues, then Rusty chases the intruder across the street. Homeward bound as dawn breaks, battle-weary Rusty finishes his kibble and crawls into bed as the little girl wakes up, unaware he’s been on the prowl. Realistic illustrations created with acrylic, oil, and colored pencil capture the drama of Rusty’s nighttime adventures. His taffy-and-white fur jumps out against the dark shapes and shadows of the backyard, highlighting his activities. Double-page close-ups and unusual perspectives invite a cat’s-eye view. A “More About Cats” page reinforces the textual and visual focus on feline senses. Intriguing peek into the secret life of cats.”— Kirkus Reviews

“Deftly written by Madeleine Dunphy and charmingly illustrated by Joshua S. Brunet, “Cat in the Night” is an impressively entertaining story about a little girl falls asleep just as her cat wakes up. Children ages 5 to 9 who have ever wondered what their cat does at night will experience the night-time world through the cat’s eyes, ears, nose, whiskers, and feet as he travels the neighborhood, meeting up with other denizens of the night. Thoroughly ‘kid friendly’ and wonderfully entertaining from first page to last, “Cat in the Night” is very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.”— Midwest Book Review

“As Gwen sleeps soundly, her curious cat, Rusty, stalks the neighborhood using all of his feline senses to explore, in Madeleine Dunphy’s “Cat in the Night.” Bright stars and flashing eyes flicker across the deep blues and purples of Joshua S. Brunet’s nighttime illustrations, creating a hushed, peaceful tone for Rusty’s sniffing, slinking, stalking, and searching. Children are encouraged to look out for all the critters Rusty encounters on his way as well as instances of his heightened use of hearing, vision, touch, balance, and smell, all integral cat behavior, whether snuggling with a friendly little human or getting ready to pounce on a backyard predator.”— Foreword Reviews

Here Is the Tropical Rain Forest

NSTA_AwardNamed an “Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12” by the National Science Teacher’s Association (NSTA) and Children’s Book Council

“Both the pictures and language are worthy of note . . . The words read aloud with a distinct rhythm, and Rothman’s artwork, in a palette of subduedgreens and browns, shows readers the  connectedness of plants and animals. . .” — Booklist

“Children will be drawn into this exotic world by both the rhythmical text and the lush illustrations that fill the pages.” — Language Arts

“The exceptionally realistic and lush color drawings of Michael Rothman help this stand apart from the usual tropical rain forest considerations, making it a fine introduction with simple yet appealing descriptions and fine visuals.”
— Midwest Book Review

“This cumulative tale starts in the rain forest, adds creatures great and small, and ends with the rain that fills the rivers. Rothman’s lovely illustrations, done in the lush greens of the wet tropics, accompany the sing-song verses. . . . As a picture book, this title serves to illustrate some of the rain forest’s creatures and to acquaint children with this  important part of the world . . . .” — School Library Journal

Here Is the African Savanna

NSTA_AwardNamed an “Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children” by the National Science Teacher’s Association (NSTA) and Children’s Book Council

“This is an attractive, effective way to introduce ecology to young readers.” — The Horn Book Guide

“A lovely, circular, cumulative tale evokes the landscape and animals of the Africa savanna.  Dunphy’s wording is a pleasure to read, and her . . . . structure is musical. Leonard’s artwork is equally engaging.” — Kirkus Reviews

“A classic style of cumulative verse builds the text as it weaves the story of the food web of the African savanna. The strength and survival of the animals is illustrated by luminous paintings featuring the interdependence of each strand of the food web.” — Science and Children

Here Is the Coral Reef

NSTA_AwardNamed an “Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children” by the National Science Teacher’s Association (NSTA) and Children’s Book Council

RRbow_stamp_allReviewed on Reading Rainbow!

“Set beneath the coral sea of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, this forceful cumulative rhyming tale introduces some of the striking residents of the coral reef ecosystem: “Here is the coral/of all colors and shapes/that lives in clear waters/in this vivid seascape.” Each spread adds two lines of rhyme about another resident: parrotfish, wrasses, cod, clownfish, black-tipped reef shark, manta ray, Hawksbill turtle, remoras, Moray eels, anemone, and sponge. Some drama is inserted when the Moray eel must escape from a shark, but all ends well. The text appears on the left quarter of the spread, framed in a pale blue border. Leonard uses the rest of the space to present undersea paintings in a vivid, nearly neon palette. The artist varies perspectives, giving viewers the impression that they are not only underwater at eye level with the reef’s inhabitants, but sometimes at tooth level.”(Picture book. 5-9)—Kirkus Reviews

“Beginning simply with “Here is the coral reef,” a cumulative text builds to describe various attributes of this colorful environment . . . this vibrant, idealized picture of the southern hemisphere reef will grab and hold the attention of young viewers.”School Library Journal

“This vividly illustrated book presents the interdependence of the various inhabitants of the ecosystem that is Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.  The repeating verse style will engage young readers as they gain an appreciation of the plants, fish, and other sea creatures that live in and around the reef.”— Science and Children

Here Is the Southwestern Desert

“Using a repetitive cumulative structure, this book excels in demonstrating the interconnectedness of the various species that inhabit the Sonoran Desert.”— Horn Book

Information on the Sonoran desert is presented in a cumulative fashion a la The House That Jack Built, e.g., “Here Is the lizard/who is spied by the hawk/that perches on the cactus/that is covered with spines. . . . ” The book is beautifully designed . . . saturated with dazzling desert light.— School Library Journal

Here Is the Southwestern Desert is a cheerful introduction to a desert theme, or to any ecological study.” — Teaching K-8

Here Is the Arctic Winter

Teachers_ChoiceNamed a “Teachers’ Choice” by the
International Reading Association

NSTA_AwardNamed an “Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children” by the National Science Teacher’s Association and Children’s Book Council

“In blue, black, and white illustrations, attributes of the Arctic winter unfold. Double-page spreads contain brief text describing an array of animals; lyrical and cumulative, the story is good for reading aloud.” The Horn Book

“Snowy owl and caribou, narwhal and polar bear, surviving in the ice at the end of the world. The hypnotic text and paintings by the renowned wildlife artist mark the collaborators’ stunning debut.” Smithsonian

Here Is the Wetland

NSTA_AwardNamed an “Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12” by the National Science Teacher’s Association (NSTA) and Children’s Book Council

Here Is the Wetland by Madeleine Dunphy makes this world appealing for younger readers and listeners. . . . Children love this type of repeating book so that will make this a nifty and popular introduction to an important ecosystem. The pictures are beautiful and the frog on the cover should make this a book readers will want to pick up.” Library Talk

“The rhythmic cumulative text of this book introduces readers to the interdependence of plants and animals in a wetland habitat. Uncluttered watercolors convey a sense of balance and harmony. . . .”— Horn Book

Here Is Antartica

NAUTILUS SILVER - BESTAwarded Nautilus Book Medal
for for best children’s picture book. 

“A rhythmic, cumulative text and detailed acrylic paintings emphasizing the pinks, blues and grays of the icy sea and sky introduce the relationships among animals in the Antarctic ecosystem. [T]he familiar, House-that-Jack-Built pattern will appeal to young listeners, and the repetition is a boon for early readers. Teachers will welcome this appealing introduction….” —Kirkus Reviews

“This is a great book. The paintings are beautiful, realistic, and full of detail. The final two pages identify the illustrated species and give more detailed information on Antarctica, including how icebergs are formed and threats to the continent. My three-year old daughter and I both love this book.” — Science Books & Films

The Peregrine’s Journey: A Story of Migration

“This well-illustrated, well-written book provides a wealth of information about peregrine falcons, bird migration, and predator-prey relationships. It would be an excellent addition to a school library or to a child’s personal library. I recommend The Peregrine’s Journey highly.”— Editor’s Choice, Science Books & Films

“Madeleine Dunphy treats both her reader and the peregrine with dignity and respect. The pictures are starkly realistic, but Kest also catches a subtle, appealing cockiness in the peregrine’s poise.”— School Library Journal

“Madeleine Dunphy’s Peregrine’s Journey presents a young peregrine falcon’s year migration beginning in Northern Alaska and ending in Argentina. It reads like fiction but is filled with facts.” Childwatch

At Home with the Gopher Tortoise: The Story of a Keystone Species

NSTA_AwardNamed an “Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12”
by the National Science Teacher’s Association (NSTA) and Children’s Book Council

Bronze_Moonbeam_LR Awarded the “Medal for Environmental Issues”
by Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards.

NAUTILUS SILVER - BESTAwarded Nautilus Book Medal
for Children’s Nonfiction. 

“Educational without being didactic, this picture book is an engaging introduction to the concept of a keystone species—an animal on which many other species depend. Rothmans’s eye-catching, full-bleed acrylic paintings depict a wide variety of creatures utilizing the gopher tortoise’s burrow. Almost every spread features a beautifully illustrated example of yet another animal, bird, or insect—from skunks to owls to scorpions—that relies on the gopher tortoise’s burrow for shelter, nesting, and protection from predators. Dunphy’s clear text adds additional interesting details (“The loose soil created by the tortoise’s digging is perfect for growing plants”). With a map showing the tortoise’s range of habitat in the southeastern United States and an end not relating that the animal is a threatened species, this attractive book effectively demonstrates the interdependent nature of the animal world.” —Booklist Reviews

At Home With the Gopher Tortoise: The Story of a Keystone Species is an illustrated nature/conservation book for children featuring a unique “keystone” species. With 360 different species of animals dependent on it for survival, the gopher tortoise presents a fascinating study of ecological interdependency. Because the gopher tortoise digs burrows for its dens in parts of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and other Southeastern states of the US, many other species including skunks, birds, frogs, mice and snakes depend on the burrows for their own protection and survival of their young. Even burrowing owls use the gopher tortoise’s burrows to shelter their fledgling owlets. Other insects use the burrows and other birds eat the insects that thrive in the burrows, completing yet more circles of interdependency. Even a bobcat may use a large burrow to hide and cool itself, while birds such as bobwhites, rabbits and lizards also find refuge in the burrows. In the soil loosened by the gopher tortoise’s digging grow plants such as the scrub mint which provides a pleasant fragrance. In this way the life activities of the gopher tortoise provide protective, favorable habitat for a whole spectrum of living creatures who depend upon the continued survival of the gopher tortoise species for survival. At Home with the Gopher Tortoise: The Story of a Keystone Species shows how one humble species can be at the center of a vast web of creatures’ lives. The beautiful detailed illustrations show many of the different animals in their natural settings, enhancing appeal to an audience of children ages 5-9.”  —Midwest Book Reviews

 “This book gives a simple yet in-depth look at the importance of an unassuming and often overlooked animal.  Surprisingly, the gopher tortoise significantly affects more than 360 different kinds of animals that depend upon its burrows for shelter, food, or a place to raise young.  This is a fascinating look at how one species can affect the fate of many.” —Science & Children