Before I introduce my book of the day, I'd like to announce the book giveaway winner from last week: Merry won a copy of "Can I Come Too?". Congratulations, Merry, and now on to ...
The Prairie that Nature Built
by Marybeth Lorbiecki; illus. by Cathy Morrison
32 pages; ages 4-10
Dawn Publications, 2014
Themes: nature, habitat, ecological relationships
"This is the prairie that nature built." Starting with the critters that worm and squirm under the prairie, and the diggers that burrow, to the plants and insects, birds and beasts... all playing essential roles in maintaining the prairie.
What I like about this book: it's fun to read. Everyone has a role: tunneling, rooting, providing food, hunting to keep the population in balance... every part is important to the whole. I also like the detailed illustrations, and the way Cathy Morrison uses the page. Sometimes you need to turn the book to get the full length of it all, from root to sky. I also like how, in the end, author Marybeth Lorbiecki brings the prairie home to us, as a place where a child and her dog could roam and explore.
As with all Dawn books, there is great back matter. This book ends with a "Prairie Primer" and some more detailed notes about the soil partners, grazers, flowers and other life essential to the prairie ecology. There's a page full of Prairie Fun activities, and some resources: books, websites and more.
Beyond the book - if you live near a prairie, get out and explore! What plants, animals, and bugs can you find? Take along your nature journal so you can sketch what you see. If you don't have a prairie nearby, see if there's a botanical garden nearby with some prairie grasses and flowers.
Plant some prairie seeds. Even if you don't live near a prairie, you can plant some prairie flowers in your yard - or in a paper cup. Here's a list of some of the flowers found on prairies: larkspur, purple coneflower, black-eyed susan, goldenrod, asters, anise hyssop, blue lobelia, milk vetch... you can find prairie seed mixes here and here. Fall is a good time to plant prairie seeds if you want to turn a patch of your back yard into a habitat for birds and butterflies.
Read an interview with author Marybeth. She talks about growing up on the prairie, and her efforts to restore prairie landscape.
Today's review is part of the STEM Friday roundup. Drop by STEM Friday blog for more science books and resources. We're also joining PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books.
On Monday, we'll join the roundup over at the Nonfiction Monday blog where you'll find even more book reviews. Review copy provided by publisher.