“There is a wild and beautiful place where an ancient rainforest meets the ocean.…Come and explore the Pacific west coast” via the ABCs.
The promise of the above introduction is more than fulfilled. Two or three sentences narrate each letter: “B is for bears that den in the rainforest. At low tide, a hungry black bear ambles down to the beach and flips over rocks to find tasty crabs to eat.” Each statement is descriptive, informative, and handsomely illustrated with watercolors and colored pencils in expansive double-page spreads. Only a few letter choices will be familiar to most kids, such as E for eagles, F for fish, P for Pacific Ocean, and R for rain. For the most part, Hodge handles the more challenging letters well: I is for invertebrates, K is for kelp, Q is for quillback rockfish, and Z is for the intertidal zone. Only two entries are so obscure as to be real stretches: X is for Xiphister (a prickleback fish), and V is for “Velella velella, or by-the-wind sailors.” An author’s note provides further general information, and there is a short list of websites and books for further exploration.
To say the book is simply a nature alphabet is an understatement. Altogether, the 26 selections create a panoramic experience in print—East Coast dwellers will want one of their own. (Informational picture book. 5-8)