A cumulative rhyme describes the components of a prairie from soil partners, roots and pollinators through plants, grazers and predators to the sky-high lightning that brings revitalizing fire.
Longtime prairie fan Lorbiecki offers an informative look at an ecosystem that once covered much of the Great Plains. Beginning in the dark, thick prairie soil, her poem moves upward and outward, building and repeating until the climactic storm. In the calm after the storm, both world and poem have changed. The writing is lively and suggestive, describing “critters / that worm and squirm,” “birds…chomping the insects” and the “fire / So red-hot and swift it moves without tire.” Her story ends with a child and dog out walking, appreciating this special place. Unfortunately, the author repeats one common misconception. Monarchs travel to Mexico in one generation but not from Mexico; it takes them more than one generation to reach the prairies she’s describing. Morrison’s digital illustrations are full of identifiable creatures and tiny details. While the text will read aloud nicely, the images are worth the careful attention a child reading alone can give them. The end matter includes a “Prairie Primer” that reveals the book’s underlying organization as well as follow-up activities and further research sources.
A vivid introduction to a vital habitat. (Informational picture book. 4-9)