Children's Literature - Barbara L. TalcroftWith controlled vocabulary and short, simple sentences, this "Explore the Biomes" series is intended to engage the interest of middle readers with below-expectation reading levels and help them access information about varied ecological communities called "biomes." Each book contains five or six short chapters defining the biome, introducing native plants and animals, exploring the role of humans in that ecology, and then offering a "field guide" (quick facts) and a profile of a scientist who works in one of the biomes being studied. Following this formula, the authors have managed to make the brief text as lively as possible; color photos are generally well selected and of much greater interest than is usual in a series from this publisher. Readers will be able to identify tropical and temperate grasslands on a world map and learn about plants like prairie grasses and purple blazing star. Another chapter introduces grassland animals; for example, bumblebees, chomping grasshoppers, zebras, and lions. Stressing conservation, the chapter on savanna people like the Masai and farmers in central North America explains the fragility of grasslands and their destruction by human encroachment. Especially striking are the photos of a fire raging across a dry prairie and a milk snake swallowing a skink lizard whole. Readers will meet Dr. Con Slobodchikoff, a scientist who studies prairie dog sounds in northern Arizona. These visually attractive books present biome overviews that should be colorful and appealing enough to inspire further research. Each title contains a glossary, a short bibliography, and an index.
Discusses the plants, animals, and characteristics of the grassland biome.
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