Who lives in the wetlands? This collection offers 18 short poetical answers.
“The salamander and her kin / sneak around in slimy skin, / and as for status, live within / the family amphibian.” Readers also learn their blood is cold and they live on pond and land. The frog poem is a rhyming list of nicknames that give clues to their habits. Some poems offer less information than others. The dragonfly and its metamorphosis are smartly described in an almost-haiku, whereas the turtle is merely compared to a capsized boat. Readers learn what a raccoon eats and that ducks don’t mind the rain. The snail has “A helmet home / upon her back, / a head, / a tail, / a silvery track. / A single foot / to scoot along, / without a whispered word / or song.” Garter snakes, diving beetles, herons, the cattail, and the fiddlehead all get a page or two of short-lined rhyming text. Harper’s watercolors in washes of greens and yellows or with realistic wetland backdrops show mostly realistic flora and fauna (the beaver and otters are a bit anthropomorphized) in fine detail. The absence of aftermatter or supplemental information limits its flexibility.
A tight little collection of verse with a purpose. (Picture book/poetry. 5-10)