The A Day In… series expands with these snapshots of animal life throughout an entire day in a forested wetland.
Neidigh’s incredibly detailed, realistic illustrations, all double-page spreads, are the real draw here, giving kids up-close views of the animals: the delicate wings of a darner as it captures a mosquito, each leg sporting tiny hairs; a fish’s individual scales; the brown bat’s fearsome-looking teeth. Many of the animals are hunting and/or catching prey; the bobcat carries a rabbit to her kittens. Unfortunately, Kurtz’s text is not a good complement. The rhyme and rhythm frequently seem forced and off. “It’s sunrise in the wetland. / A woodpecker flies from a tree. / She just brought her children breakfast. / They never stop feeling hungry.” A caddisfly’s (nonbifurcated) case is referred to as “armored pants” to rhyme with “plants,” and peepers’ song is compared to the sound of jingle bells. Not all the vocabulary introduced in the text is defined in context (“snag,” “larval,” “mandible”), but other opportunities are bypassed (it explains echolocation without ever using the word); there is no glossary. Backmatter introduces the concept of a keystone species (here a beaver), compares and contrasts the four types of wetlands, and asks readers to identify animals in an illustration from their descriptions. Answers are right-side-up at page bottoms. A Spanish-language edition publishes simultaneously in paperback.
Stellar artwork mismatched with weak rhyming verse. (bibliography) (Informational picture book. 4-9)