Berkes continues her “Over in the Meadow”–based series of early science books with this look at animals that live in the mountains.
This diverse habitat can be found on every continent, and Berkes does a nice job of including at least one mountain range from each and identifying and mapping it on details that accompany the illustrations as well as on a large world map in the backmatter. Most of the verses scan well, whether read or sung, though readers may stumble on the gorilla verse: “Over on a mountain / Where leaves and berries thrive, / Lived a shy mother gorilla / And her little babies five.” The animals range from the familiar—emperor penguins and pandas—to those that may be new to young readers—Alpine ibex and wombats. Llamas, snow leopards, eagles, mountain lions and yaks complete the menagerie. As with most in this series, the artwork stands out for its beauty and craftsmanship. Dubin’s textured cut- and torn-paper illustrations evoke both animals and habitats—fur looks soft, rocks look hard, and one can almost smell the greenery, though the scenes are less realistic than cute. And the backmatter adds significantly to the learning experience with paragraphs about mountain habitats, the featured animals and the bonus hidden animals. Author’s and illustrator’s notes give hints on how to extend the fun and learning and tell how the art was created.
What habitat is left for Berkes to explore? Readers and teachers will hope at least one. (music score) (Informational picture book. 3-7)