Having already explored the ocean and jungle, planets, the Arctic and Australia, Berkes this time focuses her "Over in the Meadow"–derived lyrics on a temperate deciduous forest.
Readers are treated to a look at a forest habitat and its more familiar denizens, including beaver, turkey, woodpecker and ’possum. As in her previous titles, there is a nice balance between math and the animal information. Berkes introduces children to the names given to baby forest animals, indicating them with italics—fawns, joeys, hatchlings, poults, chicks and kits. The number is set in a different color type, while the numeral is featured prominently at the bottom of the page. Dubin gives readers several opportunities to practice, illustrating both the baby animals and their tracks, both of which can be easily identified and counted. In addition, she hides another forest dweller on each page. Her paper-collage, colored-pencil and pastel artwork is filled with gorgeous textures that echo the natural world of the forest. Berkes rounds out the text with educational backmatter: a list of the hidden animals, a section that reveals her artistic license, some forest facts, detailed paragraphs about each of the featured animals, the music and lyrics, notes from both the author and illustrator, activities to extend the book and resources for more information.
Formulaic? Perhaps, but none can argue with the educational value, nor the fun—what will she tackle next? (Informational picture book.3-8)