Habitat Spyby Cynthia Kieber-King, Christina Wald
Told in rhyming narrative, Habitat Spy invites children to find plants (or algae), invertebrates, birds, and mammals living in thirteen different North American habitats: backyard, beach, bog, cave, desert, forest, meadow, mountain, ocean, plains, pond, river, and swamp. Children will have fun discovering the characteristics of each habitat as they “spy,” identify, and count the resident plants and animals and learn about the interactions between living and non-living things.
Meet the Author
Cynthia Kieber-King (Habitat Spy, Spring 2011) has always been inspired by nature and science, and has degrees in zoology and biological oceanography. Before becoming a children's author, Cynthia worked as an environmental consultant studying wetlands and conducting ecological risk assessments. She loves to travel and explore all kinds of habitats and learning about all the different plants and animals that live there. Cynthia lives and writes in central New York State with her wonderful husband and son. Habitat Spy is her debut picture book.
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Can you explain what a habitat is? If you answered that it is a community of plants, animals, and non-living things which interact in a certain locality, you're right. Go to the head of the class! Author Cynthia Kieber-King's rhyming narrative invites youngsters to look for plants, invertebrates, birds, and mammals living in thirteen different habitats, such as your backyard, a meadow, a pond, a forest, a river, a swamp, a cave, a bog, the plains, a mountain, the desert, the beach, and the ocean. What are some things which you think that you might find in your own backyard? This is an excellent tool to introduce beginning readers to the concept of habitat. As with other Sylvan Dell books, there are four pages of learning activities in the back, including further information about habitats and food chains, plus true-false questions about how animals and plants adapt to their habitats and an odd-one-out exercise on classification and habitats. More free material, with "Related Websites," "Interactive Math, Reading, and Comprehension Quizzes," and "Teaching Activities," is available at Sylvan Dell's website to help parents and teachers expand the learning possibilities. Children will enjoy hunting and counting all the different plants and animals in illustrator Christina Wald's colorful, life-like drawings.
If you were to take your binoculars and take a look at the natural world around you, you'd be able to find many interesting things. In your backyard you can see that it is a "habitat" or environmental area where many plants, animals, and insects make their home. A bumble bee and a monarch butterfly flit among the pink cone flowers, while a squirrel skitters up an oak tree to its nest. A robin keeps watch over its fledglings and a raccoon peeks around the edge of an awning to survey the area. A boy lifts his binoculars to take a peek: "Let's spy in the backyard . / maples stretch, / bumble bees bump, / robins hop, / squirrels jump." Can you think of any other critters, plants, and insects that might be in your backyard? Habitats are "communities of plants, animals and non-living things that interact in certain locations." If you "spy" in a meadow you might get a chance to see jackrabbits scamper thought a field of grasses, black-eyed Susans, and milkweed. Birds flutter around and glance over at Holsteins grazing. A nearby pond is alive with many critters who make it their home. "Let's spy at the pond . lily pads float, / dragonflies hum, / ducks dip, / beavers drum." In this book you can also "spy" in the forest, along the banks of a river, a critter filled swamp, in a dark cave, in a busy bog, over the plains, up on a mountain top, in the desert, at the seashore, and over and under the ocean waves. This is a beautifully illustrated book of a wide assortment of natural habitats. The stunning illustrations embrace the flora, fauna, and inanimate objects that could live in each habitat. The pages are quite busy and will keep the young reader exploring and identifying the life on these pages. This would be one of many easily identifiable activities that I could see just by browsing these pages. The narrative is actually a story in rhyme that points out a few inhabitants in each habitat. In the back of the book is an extensive exploration and activities section that teachers or homeschoolers can use while working with the book. Cross-curricular activities are offered up on the publisher's website. Quill says: This is an excellent book to introduce the natural world of habitats to the young student. It would be a wonderful addition to your homeschool or classroom shelves!