Big Belching Bog

Big Belching Bog

by Phyllis Root, Betsy Bowen
     
 

Cold, wet, and acidic, bogs appear to be extremely hostile to life, yet numerous plants and animals have adapted in fascinating ways in order to survive there. In Big Belching Bog, Phyllis Root lets us in on the secrets of the mysterious bog, describing such special inhabitants as plants that eat insects, bog lemmings, and frogs that stay frozen through the

Overview

Cold, wet, and acidic, bogs appear to be extremely hostile to life, yet numerous plants and animals have adapted in fascinating ways in order to survive there. In Big Belching Bog, Phyllis Root lets us in on the secrets of the mysterious bog, describing such special inhabitants as plants that eat insects, bog lemmings, and frogs that stay frozen through the winter and thaw out in the spring. But what's that coming up from the bottom of the bog?

The biggest bog secret of all, we learn, is the remarkable process of methane gas belching out of the bog. The gas is created by decaying peat moss and forms a bulge in the surface of the moss six inches or taller before breaking through. Does this "belch" make a sound? No one knows, says Root, because no one has ever heard it. In fact, bogs are known as some of the quietest places on earth. Maybe you will be the first to hear the big bog belch!

Illustrated by renowned woodcut artist Betsy Bowen, Big Belching Bog also contains a section of bog facts, including more information about the plants and animals mentioned in the book as well as tips for visiting a bog. Big Belching Bog will stir the imagination of young readers and teach them about the landscape and environment of these mysterious and, ahem, gassy places.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A beautiful thing. Big Belching Bog is a science book, really, but a science book wrapped in Root’s poetic words and Bowen’s unmistakable illustrations." —Star Tribune

"Phyllis Root does a bang-up job of conveying pond-loads of information in short stanzas, walking readers comfortably through the flora, fauna, and science of bogs. The illustrations by Betsy Bowen reflect the tone and mystique of these oft-overlooked portions of our north woods. More detailed descriptions of plants, animals and bugs make this a wonderful teaching tool plus give older readers even more to sink their teeth into. . . . A great book to have on a north woods shelf." —Lake Superior Magazine

School Library Journal
Gr 2–3—Couching the adaptations of plants, insects, and animals that live in the Big Bog in Minnesota as secrets of survival, this oversize picture book becomes a real page-turner. Readers learn that lady's slippers get the nutrients they need from fungi, and that frogs sleep through the winter without freezing because they have a sort of antifreeze in their blood. The stunning full-color woodblocks, many full spread, are beautiful enough to frame. The deep purples, browns, and teals are highlighted with stark white circles heralding the biggest secret of the bog. An expressive hermit thrush on every page finally spreads its wings in shock as a white bubble of methane gas works its way to the surface of the sphagnum moss and belches free into the quiet air. However, since no one has actually ever heard a bog belch, the story ends with a morose-looking thrush challenging readers to become the first person ever to visit the bog and hear the sound. A glossary of species and bog terminology is included, as is a two-page summary of bog facts.—Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA
Kirkus Reviews
With its curious plants, resilient animals, tiny old trees and ghostly tracks, the Big Bog of Minnesota has many secrets. The biggest of all--the belch of the methane gas--has yet to be heard. In simple, lyrical prose, the author builds suspense and an air of mystery appropriate to "the loneliest, quietest place on earth." Matching the slow pace of natural action in a bog, she reveals some: Labrador tea plants keep their leaves, some insects live unharmed inside carnivorous pitcher plants, wood frogs can stay frozen alive and more. A hermit thrush leads the way into the bog in Bowen's bold woodcuts, done in dark colors with heavy black lines and frames. At first the boxed text (surrounded with varying details) appears opposite the oversized illustration. Deeper into the bog, illustrations spread full bleed over two pages for a while. The backmatter includes further information and four pages of plant and animal identification, useful as a key for the pictures but lacking details. Not a nature guide but a lovely appreciation. (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780816633593
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
Publication date:
09/24/2010
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
1,306,832
Product dimensions:
12.20(w) x 12.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Phyllis Root is the author of more than thirty books for children, including If You Want to See a Caribou and Big Momma Makes the World (winner of the Boston Globe Horn Book Award).

Betsy Bowen is a Minnesota woodcut printmaker who illustrated Borealis, Great Wolf and the Good Woodsman, and Antler, Bear, Canoe: A Northwoods Alphabet Year, which she also wrote.

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