Animals’ shapes, coloring, and behaviors allow them to conceal and reveal themselves.
Arnosky uses his considerable artistic talents to demonstrate how animal camouflage works using examples from across the animal kingdom and throughout the year. Acrylic paintings (including foldout spreads) and occasional pencil studies show animals in their natural habitats, where colors, patterns, and the play of light work to allow them to seem to vanish. He suggests looking at these paintings from across the room to see how a Florida panther can vanish in the grass or a moose into a forest. He uses familiar examples such as a spotted fawn on a forest floor or a female blackbird in the reeds as well as surprising ones: a bittern stretched tall like the grasses around it; a scorpion fish blending in color and texture with its perch on a mound of coral. He discusses the role of the countershading—dark above and light below—so often found in birds and marine animals. Pencil drawings show how some insect shapes mimic parts of plants and how a fawn’s spots will disappear over time. Loosely organized into chapters with short introductions, his examples are captioned with short explanatory paragraphs. Most come from his own observations and experiences over many years of exploring and researching the natural world.
Read aloud or alone, this will heighten anyone’s appreciation for “Nature…the ultimate artist.” (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 4-10)