Organized by habitat, this guide catalogs over 90 animals, plants, fungi, and other natural denizens of the Pacific Northwest.
After a brief introduction and tips for safely exploring in nature, Cohen introduces four organizing habitats: “Forest,” “Beach,” “Freshwater,” and “Backyards and Urban Parks.” Each section presents brief, pithy information with well-chosen facts. Most subjects garner at least one paragraph, some as many as four or five, with fascinating details sure to capture kids’ attention. To mate, two hermaphroditic banana slugs “climb a tree together and then dangle off a branch, hanging from a rope of slime.” (Humans encountering slug slime are reminded that rinsing with water will make the goo swell. “The way to get it off is to rub, and keep rubbing.”) Fylling, a scientific illustrator, provides precisely rendered thumbnail pictures. These are first presented collectively, with their common and scientific names, at the start of each habitat section, then reproduced singly for Cohen’s descriptions. Curiously, the geoduck (one of the Pacific Northwest’s most bizarre-looking creatures and the largest burrowing clam in the world) gets no illustration. Salmon merit a multipage treatment and a depiction of the chum salmon’s life cycle. The venerable orca J2, who reached the probable age of 105 in 2016, gets a present-tense mention, though she’s generally believed to have died sometime after an October sighting that year.
Overall, a fine primer for children and families ready to explore Cascadia’s extraordinary habitats. (index, seasonal timeline) (Nonfiction. 7-11)