Trees leaf out and change color, wildflowers bloom, birds nest, and fawns and fox kits grow through a four-season round.
The hand of man never appears in Taylor’s deciduous dells, and they teem with wildlife for young viewers to spot. Maskell’s bland text, set in noodle-shaped captions, helps by pointing out highlights or setting easy challenges: “A woodpecker drums on a tree trunk calling for a mate”; “The leaves turn red, orange, and gold”; “Can you count 12 birds with yellow chests?” If the natural history is sometimes a bit vague (“Minibeasts live inside this tree trunk, and others creep up underneath”) and much of the flora and fauna goes unidentified, still the sylvan residents are at least naturalistically depicted. Also, though the woodland biome doesn’t change, each scene is slightly different, as though viewers were turning in place. The artist varies the quality of light from tableau to tableau as well, and the pop-up trees create tantalizing depths and shadows. The covers can be folded back and tied with a ribbon to create a turnable panorama. Most animals will be recognizable to residents of the temperate zones of North America despite the book’s European setting.
An idyllic view of the conventional annual cycle. (Informational pop-up novelty. 5-8)