This series profiles a number of different habitats. Each spread has a simple, informative sentence on one side and a beautiful painting on the facing page, illustrating the concept. There is also a caption describing the predominant elements of the painting.
So, for example, we read "The trees and other plants in forests are different sizes and grow in layers". We see a picture of a lush rainforest, labeled neatly "tropical rainforest" and on the painting itself the forest floor, understory, and canopy are designated.
The book opens with a map, showing forested areas across the world, and ends with thumbnails of each plate with a paragraph about each concept described in the original sentence/illustration. There is also a glossary, bibliography, and websites as well as a handy guide to the rest of the About series, which includes animals as well as habitats.
The book itself starts out with a simple description of forests and includes pictures of all different types of forests and the animals who live in them. It moves on from a general description to move specific explanations of canopy, understory, and forest floor, seasons and weather, animals that live in forests, and finally several pages on the importance of forests to all living things.
The cover picture I have here doesn't really give a good idea of the rich colors and exquisite detail that goes into the paintings. Each one is beautifully designed to perfectly illustrate the concept given in the text while not isolating a single tree or animal. I can't decide which is my favorite, but I think it might be the otters! I used the F&G (folded and gathered) early review copy to create a flannelboard/game and the four year olds that I used it with loved identifying the animals, discussing the different kinds of forests, and matching up the thumbnails to the big pictures.
Verdict: These are the ideal books for young children to learn about animals and habitats. I've used them in storytime over and over, made flannelboards of them, handed them to enthusiastic 4K and Kindergarten teachers, and even older kids love the art and additional information in the back. A must-have series for your library and this latest addition is no exception.
For the next stop on the blog tour, hop on over to Tolivers to Texas or visit the Peachtree Blog