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Understanding Habitats

by Mary Miché & illustrated by Consie Powell

Age Range: 4 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-58469-169-3
Publisher: Dawn Publications

More a collection of loosely related definitions than an elucidation of habitats as the subtitle implies, this is nonetheless beautifully illustrated.

Stunning watercolor quilts of different patterns dominate Powell’s double-page compositions. A large center scene is surrounded by tiny blocks that each house lifelike depictions of the plants and animals that make up a habitat: forest, desert, ocean, rainforest, etc. A list of the flora and fauna on each page can be found on the publisher's website (not seen). Unfortunately, Miché’s text does not match the level of the artwork. Beginning with a simile comparing nature to a patchwork quilt of different habitats, the author presents some of those habitats while introducing environmental vocabulary: interdependence, niche, food chain, adaptations, biodiversity, deforestation and domestication, among others. But the quilt metaphor quickly breaks down, becoming just a way to arrange the illustrations. Boldface words are sparsely explained within the text, and nothing is given in-depth coverage; readers and teachers may wish for a glossary with more detailed definitions. As is characteristic of the publisher, extensive backmatter includes activities and resources for further information and learning extensions, though they are aimed primarily at the adults who are sharing this title with children. One spread sure to spur further investigation presents the portraits of 22 environmentalists with tantalizing clues as to their areas of involvement.

Skip the rudimentary introduction to the environment and purchase this solely for the artwork and extended learning. (Informational picture book. 4-9)