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In My Backyard

In My Backyard

by Margriet Ruurs, Ron Broda (Illustrator)
From the singing of little wrens in spring to paper wasps building their nests in summer; from baby bats drinking mother’s milk in fall to baby possums climbing into mother’s pouch in winter, In My Backyard celebrates nature and backyard animals through the seasons. Wildlife artist Ron Broda’s detailed paper-sculpture art beautifully


From the singing of little wrens in spring to paper wasps building their nests in summer; from baby bats drinking mother’s milk in fall to baby possums climbing into mother’s pouch in winter, In My Backyard celebrates nature and backyard animals through the seasons. Wildlife artist Ron Broda’s detailed paper-sculpture art beautifully complements Margriet Ruurs’ lyrical text, and young readers will discover a captivating variety of animals and insects.

Find the ladybug in each illustration, along with a hidden animal, which becomes featured on the next page. A detailed legend and helpful hints on how to turn your own backyard into an inviting place for animals to live make this book a must-have for wildlife and nature lovers alike.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In brief text and lavishly colorful illustrations, Ruurs and Broda demonstrate the diverse abundance of wildlife that frequents our backyards…Ruurs’ new book reflects her admirable desire to help children learn to appreciate the majesty of their natural surrounds…Recommended.”
—CM Magazine
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
We are welcomed to a backyard that is "a busy place—all year round." As spring arrives, a young wren sings, toads call; snail, spiders, and snakes make their presence known. Wasps build their nest, baby birds clamor for food, butterflies dance by day, bats soar at night. As winter approaches, possums dig in the compost pile, and baby mice sleep in their nest. With just a brief sentence or two per double page, Ruurs vividly sets the scene for Broda's amazingly realistic depiction of the creatures in their natural settings, all done with paper sculpture. On one page he provides a full-color scene of the animal or insect in action, mostly in the pursuit of food. On the facing page is a vignette created in gray tones, a close-up of some activity such as a wasps building a multi-chambered nest or a hummingbird feeding its young. An added visual feature is the challenge to find a ladybug and a "preview" of the next page in each scene. The final spread is a view of a garden that might well be the spot for all the previous events. More information on each included creature, plus steps to make a garden attractive to them, follows the last illustration.
Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
This interactive book invites children and adults to share the joys of discovery. The opening pages present a monochromatic view of the back of a house and its yard. Each of the following double-page spreads then focuses on one detail in that yard. A wren is shown on the left side of the next layout in shades of gray accompanied by a brief text. The facing page in full color features the wren in front of a red birdhouse in a large flowering tree overlooking a pond with a swimming duck. A tiny ladybug is hidden in each illustration. In addition, readers are invited to look for clues in each picture about the creature that will be featured when the pages are turned. The toad on a rock is the subject of the next facing pages. This format continues with introductions of snails, spiders, hummingbirds, snakes, wasps, swallows, butterflies, bats, opossums, and mice. The closing spread shows a boy and girl looking out the window of the house observing the backyard in full color. Factual information about each of the creatures appears in the back, and readers are then given suggestions for nurturing wildlife in their own backyards. The appeal of this book is in Broda's detailed paper sculpture illustrations. They are beautiful in both the single-color and full-color formats. This is a book for one-on-one sharing. Finding the clues and the ladybugs requires close-up concentration.
School Library Journal

K-Gr 4
Ruurs introduces youngsters to some animals that they might see in their own yards. Among the featured creatures are a snail, wasp, mouse, and wren. Broda's skillful paper sculptures enliven the pages with a colorful depiction of the animal in its surroundings; each one faces a gray-and-white silhouette above the text. In many cases, the monochromatic picture features the young, such as tadpoles and spiderlings, but this relationship does not always hold true. Notes at the end provide additional information as well as clues to encourage observers to find the creature in one picture that will be featured on the following pages. Finding an elusive ladybug on each spread poses an additional visual challenge. Ruurs also suggests ways to make backyards more inviting for wildlife. The size and type of illustrations limit the book's use with groups and might require some hand-selling to move it off the shelves. One-on-one sharing with an adult or individual reading by older children could encourage outdoor observation and involvement. Nic Bishop offers photos of over 100 creatures in the oversize Backyard Detectives (Scholastic, 2002). Those in search of a portable book for outdoor identification might consider Catherine Howell's Backyard Wilderness (National Geographic, 2003).
—Kathy PiehlCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
10.41(w) x 8.29(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Margriet Ruurs is the author of many books for children, including Wild Babies and A Mountain Alphabet. She has a Masters Degree in Education and has spent her adult life both writing books for children and teaching children about books. She has spent a great deal of time hiking and camping in the mountains and traveling. Margriet Ruurs has lived across North America and now makes her home in Oregon.

Ron Broda is a renowned children’s book illustrator and paper sculptor. With over fifteen years in advertising, art directing, and commercial illustration, Ron combines techniques in paper sculpture and watercolor to create vivid illustrations with great detail and realism. He has created unique ad campaigns and art pieces for clients like Coca Cola, Chrysler, and Xerox. He has been named one of the “top 5 Canadian Illustrators.” His award-winning children’s books are sold worldwide. Ron Broda lives in Sarnia with his wife Joanne and their children. When not in his studio, Ron makes time to tour various libraries and schools.

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