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RIVER DISCOVERIES by Ginger Wadsworth

RIVER DISCOVERIES

By Ginger Wadsworth (Author) , Paul Kratter (Illustrator)

Age Range: 8 - 10

Pub Date: July 1st, 2002
ISBN: 1-57091-418-4
Publisher: Charlesbridge

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)