Large fold-out flaps open to transform a set of seemingly empty scenes into landscapes teeming with wildlife.
Collective titles offer hints for each of the five spreads. The sky over a row of suburban houses fills with “A flock of birds” (identified in a key at the end as starlings) when the flap is lifted, an apparently deserted patch of woodland is suddenly home to “A pack of wolves,” and four other social species are likewise revealed on other spreads. Along with the highlighted animals, Milner adds assorted other creatures and items to her painted scenes for viewers to spot—the cutaway view of a rabbit warren is a positive archaeological treasure house of bones, broken pots, and ancient coins—and Peto strews factual snippets throughout, which are capped by a “factfile” at the close. As an early foray into the natural world, though, this has some issues. Not only are some of the fauna, such as a bear, a moose, deer, and a bald eagle in the wolf scene, left unidentified, but the collective of leaf-cutter ants are drawn with anthropomorphic eyes and wrongly dubbed an “army” rather than the more generally accepted “colony.” Moreover, an alternative term for “flock” of starlings, “murmuration,” is misspelled.
Fun as a peekaboo, but the language and natural history alike are both shoddy. (Informational novelty. 2-5)