Books by Paul Kratter

RIVER DISCOVERIES by Ginger Wadsworth
Released: July 1, 2002

The author introduces 13 animals that live (or lived) near North American rivers, including the common dragonfly, water beetle, blackbird, raccoon, and catfish as well as the less common moose, river otter, water shrew, osprey, beaver, trout, salamander, and mountain lion. She describes how the different animals use the river from morning to night to find food, play, and raise their young. Each page is devoted to a different animal, the left page showing a full color portrait and providing text, while the right shows the animal in the pond at a specific time of day. The same painting of the pond appears on each right-hand page, only the changing light and shadow indicates the passage of time as various animals come and go throughout the day and evening. While the technique is interesting, it is not entirely successful here. The pale colors used and the sameness of scene sap the river of vitality. The effect is of a museum diorama rather than viewing a river first hand. Like the author's previous titles, Desert Discoveries (1997) and Tundra Discoveries (1999), there are some interesting facts provided, for example, the shiny water beetle sticks its bottom out of the water to draw air into a special cavity. Underwater, the air is released from the cavity via tiny tubes, allowing the beetle to jet along and avoid its enemies. A question is provided on each page to encourage careful listening. The title concludes with a double-page spread with all the animals present in the pond and a brief glossary. While the author's appreciation of the natural world is evident, the text is livelier than the illustrations. (Nonfiction. 8-10)Read full book review >
Released: March 15, 2002

Butterfly fans will flutter happily about this tale of a child joining the annual nationwide butterfly census in hopes of spotting a once-common, now-rare regal fritillary. Identification guide in hand, Amy floats through the fields of wildflowers and high grasses that used to be her great-great-grandmother Nora Belle's farm, and is now run by a prairie reclamation project. She sees mourning cloaks and monarchs, painted ladies, red admirals, and black swallowtails—but not the fritillary that was Nora Belle's favorite. To Amy's evocative roll call, Kratter (A World Above the Clouds, not reviewed, etc.) adds naturalistic watercolor portraits, both in leafy natural settings and in a final section of captioned close-ups. Collard (A Firefly Biologist at Work, not reviewed, etc.) brings Amy's quest to a satisfying end in the old family plot where Nora Belle is buried—one of the few patches of prairie that has never been plowed. He adds more about the yearly Fourth of July Butterfly Count at the end, along with safety-conscious advice for young naturalists interested in attracting and observing these flighty wonders. (Picture book. 7-10)Read full book review >