A handbook for children inspired to take nature walks of their own by the classic picture book and its 2016 TV adaptation.
Illustrated with a rich mix of line drawings, diagrams, and stills from the animated film, this trim and tidy manual aspires to give readers all of the basics required to see and to appreciate the natural world. The result is, no surprise, a vastly uneven jumble in which elementary statements such as “Stars are huge balls of glowing gas,” and “Soil covers much of the earth’s land,” mingle with close looks at the working parts of flowers, insects, and feathers; types of clouds and of mountains; explanations for why the sky is blue (or sometimes red); and causes and effects of global warming. Likewise, descriptions—sometimes just verbal—of tracks, scat, and other signs are limited to just a few representative creatures. Suggestions for activities range from a bald “Sponsor an endangered animal” and a (presumably) nonserious but startling “you should be all set for a bear hunt of your own” (this is an import from Britain, where there are none) to detailed directions for making mud bricks, a worm farm, baked apples, and bear-paw cookies (the last three with adult help). A companion “explorer’s journal” publishes simultaneously, with writing prompts and blank pages to draw in for those readers who venture out.
Budding naturalists may find parts of this inspirational as well as instructive, though most digestible in small doses. (Nonfiction. 7-11)