Match an animal with its habitat in an innovative two-books-in-one format.
In this board book’s center, a rectangular cutout acts as a small book within a book, with pages that turn independently of the larger book. Though it’s a stretch to see this as “Two books in one!” as the cover promises (the small book alone is fairly underwhelming), it works well as a matching game, allowing readers to connect the animals to their neighbors in the larger book. Each of the six different habitats has a simply patterned but atmospheric background in a distinctive color, ranging from lightly dappled temperate forest to rich teal waves. It’s easy to match the sandy camel from the small book to its tan-backgrounded, desert-dwelling buddies in the larger book. Predictably organized pages present four clearly labeled side views of animals native to that environment, one per quadrant, with a fifth species to match in the center, inside the small book. Like the no-nonsense format, the lightly detailed animals are equally efficient. Though they lack any spark of life, they are handsome and cleanly silhouetted, with rich, mottled colors and shading that contrasts well with the backgrounds. When the book strays from its tidy organization, such as an owl that flies dynamically out toward readers, it’s a welcome diversion.
Though this early nonfiction feels a tad generic, the interactive format is fun. (Board book. 1-3)