Monday, October 6, 2014

Nonfiction Monday: Swamp Chomp by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Paul Meisel

Simple, bold text describes the life in a pond until the last few pages, when an orgy of eating breaks out and the food chain progresses from mosquito up to alligator. I really would have liked more text - it's so extremely minimal that you don't really realize you're looking at a food chain unless you start with the endpapers or until you get to the end. Example, "Mosquitoes flit. Sit./Dragonflies swoop. Dip." It goes like this throughout the book - one page is just sounds, "Simmer Bellow Drone" etc. Some of the text doesn't clearly match the pictures. When it says "Crayfish crawl. Carry." there is nothing shown in the crawfish's claws. "Bullfrogs wait. Lay." doesn't explain if the bullfrog is laying eggs? Or just....laying?

However, the pictures do a good job of showing swamp life. There are lots of animals, many small and hidden, and activities and details in the art to discuss. I have to say, honestly, that Meisel isn't one of my favorite artists; I'm not really a fan of watercolors in general (I don't like Brian Floca much either) but it really does work for this book. Especially in the end, when all the animals jump into chomping action, the pictures are lively (but not scary) and I can see kids getting really interactive with this part.

Verdict: Maybe not a definite first purchase, but if you do any kind of nonfiction for storytimes you'll want to add this. I'm already thinking of ways I can use it as a flannelboard, interactive game, etc.

ISBN: 9780823424078; Published 2014 by Holiday House; Borrowed from another library in my consortium; Added to the library's wishlist

1 comment:

Miss Michelle said...

"orgy of eating" just made my day. lolz