This surprisingly engaging look at a habitat not often covered in science curricula and popular nonfiction series strikes a harmonious balance of conversational language, factual text and informative illustrations.
On the full-bleed spread preceding the first page, Raye paints a watery woodland scene, in a multitude of greens and browns, with a population of creatures that depend upon the vernal pool for survival. Children will be amazed at how vital this place is for owls, rabbits, ducks, raccoons, robins, turtles, toads, tadpoles, snakes, dragonflies, deer, skunks, squirrels, frogs and salamanders. The vernal pool speaks from the beginning, “A shimmer. A twinkling. Do you have any inkling of what I am?…you might mistake me for a puddle—which I most certainly am not!” Each spread features captivating narrative that explains this “watery jewel” on a child’s level on one side and on the other provides more scientific information in a smaller font. Topics covered include the definition of a vernal pool and highlights about the various animals that begin or spend their entire lives in this relatively small biome. The book proceeds from the earliest days of spring through an entire year, dictating the order in which creatures are introduced. Readers will be amazed to learn that wood frogs can freeze into “frogsicles” during winter only to thaw out in the spring and that “fairy shrimp eggs can last up to fifteen years before hatching!”
Share with budding naturalists or use as an excellent guide for a woodland walk when the first rains of spring awaken this diverse and fascinating ecosystem. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 5-8)