High among the coast redwoods, there exists a world within a world.
These towering giants known as redwood trees, which line a stretch of land that hugs the Pacific Ocean, hold various other plant and animal life “high in their branches, hundreds of feet above the ground.” Called a canopy, this secluded world is home to shrubs such as elderberry and gooseberry and ferns mats “soggy and heavy,” as well as sow bugs and pill bugs, “the only crustaceans that live on land,” and Humboldt flying squirrels. McLennan’s trunks-to-lichens tour of the redwoods takes readers on a vivid voyage of discovery. Two narrative threads compete for readers’ attention throughout the book, co-existing on the same spread. One narrative thread is carried in “House That Jack Built”–like verse that grows the further readers delve in; each page turn brings in a new image to name, a new shade of color to the hidden world. The other narrative, meanwhile, offers up facts for readers, interpreting each pictorial scene in reader-friendly scientific terms. However, both verse and facts fail to jell well on the page, with the informational bits often disrupting the poetic flow. Thanks to the vibrant, earthy pictures, the redwoods’ immensity and swarming life of the canopy are the highlights. Backmatter aimed at sparking “creative minds” adds opportunities to consider further.
A busy redwood outing that will nevertheless stir readers’ curiosity. (activities, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 3-8)