Books by Barbara Bash

DIG, WAIT, LISTEN by April Pulley Sayre
Released: May 31, 2001

A patient spadefoot toad waits in her desert burrow, listening for rain so she can come forth to mate. Sayre's (Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out!, 2000, etc.) onomatopoetic text, aided by energetic typeface shifts, presents the many sounds the toad would hear, from the "skitter, skitter, scratch" of a scorpion, to the "tap, tap, tap" of a gila woodpecker on a cactus, to—at last!—the "plop thunk, plop thunk, plop thunk gussssshhhhhhh!" of a sudden desert rain. The simple question-and-answer format ("What's that sound now? Is this the rain at last? No, it's a rat . . . ") builds tension and involves readers directly in the toad's experience. Bash's (Phantom of the Prairie, 1998, etc.) expressive pencil, pen-and-ink, and watercolor illustrations shift back and forth from the toad's burrow to the action above, occasionally layering the two views until the rain brings the toad's confinement to an end and she is out in the blessed, drenched open. The text and illustrations describe the lifecycle of the spadefoot toad in detail (including toad sex), the tadpoles' swift metamorphosis in the drying puddles leading to a retreat to their burrows to wait for the next rain. Finely detailed illustrations capture the desert's denizens in motion, complementing the aurality of the text and contrasting with the ever-patient toad, which they invest with a remarkable amount of personality. This is top-notch nonfiction for the very young, introducing readers to desert wildlife in general and in particular to the remarkable spadefoot toad, who may wait in her burrow for up to 11 months for the next rain. (author's note, additional facts on desert neighbors) (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

A fascinating look at the social, spiritual, and ecological significance of the banyan tree in the life of an Indian village. The banyan tree in the center of the village is known as the ``many-footed one'' because its aerial roots form pillars when they touch the ground and take hold. The tree expands to form a virtual forest, and under its canopy, life thrives. The banyan is a place for egrets to nest, villagers to barter, owlets to sleep, children to play, monkeys to chase each other, bats to feed, elders to meet. In this entry in the Tree Tales series, readers come to appreciate the value of the banyan, and to gain a glimpse of the interconnectedness of all living creatures. Bash (Ancient Ones, 1994, etc.) has created a harmonious story, written out in calligraphy and warmly, colorfully illustrated with authentic scenes that firmly root this tree's importance in the facts. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-10) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1994

From the author of Desert Giant (the Saguaro cactus) and Tree of Life (the African baobab [both 1989]), another handsome, meticulously detailed portrait of nature. In full-bleed spreads broken only by a neatly boxed text, Bash portrays an old-growth forest in the Pacific Northwest from a human perspective on the ground and gazing into its lofty heights, then focuses on the species-rich habitats of canopy, snags (dead trees), the forest floor, and a nearby stream. She concludes with the extraordinary circumstances—fire plus a symbiotic relationship with a particular fungus—required to foster new growth. Elegantly rendered in Bash's calligraphic hand, her text is a lucid, well- organized guide to the many species shown in her lovely paintings. Inserts display a few larger than life size, the degrees of magnification carefully noted. A beautiful and informative book that makes a wonderfully effective plea for this magnificent habitat. Author's note. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 5+) Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1993

The author-illustrator of several outstanding science books (Urban Roosts, 1990) brings her sensitivity to natural history and design to the life cycle of a common North American bat. An artist's eye is apparent in each dramatic spread here—velvety black bats swooping against blue-black skies, with text and moon glowing in silver-white; rough-grained barn beams drawing the eye to a life-sized bat with a naked pink pup clinging to her fur; hibernating bats clustered near the ceiling of a gray cave. In her brief text, Bash describes the bats' birth and migration and explains how they use echolocation to find prey. A final section shows some unique bat noses and ears, the hopping movement of the vampire bat, and a bat house that readers can make. Beautiful and informative. (Nonfiction. 7-10) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

Ten woodland species that share one habitat are introduced in a simple text couched as a series of questions, accompanied by watercolor illustrations that strike a nice balance between representation accurate enough for identification and a touch of sentimentality for popular appeal (e.g., the rabbit and the fawn). Identifications (not always specific: which tree/woodpecker/butterfly?) are given at the end, where a bit more information is also included. An attractive corollary to the many pet and farm animal books. A companion volume presents creatures of the ocean. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 3-8) Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1990

The author of two other beautifully illustrated nature books—including Desert Giant (1989)—surveys the surprising variety of birds that, "as their natural habitats have been destroyed," have adapted to city living: sparrows and finches that find crevices suitable for nesting in traffic lights, statuary, or laundry on a line; snowy owls that recognize airports' similarities to the arctic tundra; pigeons, which originally inhabited rocky cliffs; and even the peregrine falcons that have learned to nest under bridges and on gravel rooftops while they prey on the pigeons. Bash's accounts of the birds' behavior are fascinating; they also tellingly demonstrate the kinds of problems that must be solved for adaptation to be a success. Her illustrations, clear enough for identification, are especially pleasing: combining vignettes with larger vistas, and decorative passages with solid information, the pages are handsomely composed. An excellent contribution. Read full book review >