From the Publisher
Review, Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2010:
"This third in the series of highly acclaimed books that began with Where in the Wild? offers a clever twist on the original idea."
Review, School Library Journal, September, 2010:
"...This tidy package from a talented trio will delight children (and teachers of whole curriculum, too)."
Review, Booklist, September 15, 2010:
"The clever verse, curious photos, and guessing-game element will engage children, while the clear explanations and photos of details will enlighten them."
Review, The Children's Book Review, November 15, 2010:
"An engaging and mind-tingling book for young readers."
Review, The 4:00 Book Hook, December 2010/January 2011 issue:
"... one could teach an entire year (at least) of math and science using the books that David M. Schwartz has had a hand in making, and WHAT IN THE WILD? Surely validates that idea. It’s a picture book but budding scientists or poets of all ages will find it fascinating."
Children's Literature - Kristin Harris
There are many mysteries in nature. This book is for the detective/adventurer who likes to find odd things and discover their secrets. Each puzzling mystery is presented with a photograph and a poem. The photograph is on a page that flips up to reveal the answer to the mystery. There are 10 mysteries included in this collection. What are those small round clumps of dirt? The lumpy mounds are earthworm castings. Earthworms are nature's plows. Decomposers as well, earthworms are very important recyclers. What is that small green "apple" in the oak tree? It's an oak apple gall. A wasp injected its eggs into the leaf tissue of the oak. When the egg hatches, the larva will feed on the leaf tissue. There is a hole by the riverbank? What lives in there? What are those small bubbly blobs on that plant stem? What is that pile of leaves doing way up in the top of that tree? Is that a brown marshmallow stuck on that bush? It looks like bones and feathers and teeth, what can it be? These mysteries are all revealed with photographs and full page of information about each specific topic. Mystery posing poems are for beginning readers, explanations are for more advanced students. Reviewer: Kristin Harris
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4—A nifty combo of poetry (often of the concrete variety), super color photos, scientific information, and a guessing game (complete with whole-page flaps for lifting). For example, a verse printed in wavy lines reads: "We're long and lithe, we wiggle and writhe. Of dead things we dispose./We daily toil to plow the soil, and help stuff decompose!" Lift the flap to reveal a photo of an earthworm depositing another cast on the pile and several paragraphs of information on the vital work done by these beneficial creatures. The punch line of "Cliff Dweller" says, "My home is warm, but kind of smelly/From scraps of fish once in my belly!" The flap showing a hole in a riverbank reveals a belted kingfisher feeding its young in its burrow and a description with a lot of data including the reason for the stinky aroma. Fun as a read-alone or for one-on-one sharing, this tidy package from a talented trio will delight children (and teachers of whole curriculum, too). —Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
Read an Excerpt
These lumpy mounds upon the ground, you may not recognize.
They're left behind once we have dined—that's how we fertilize!
We're long and lithe, we wriggle and writhe; of dead things we dispose.
We daily toil to plow the soil, and help stuff decompose!
What are they?
They're earthworm castings.
Sample "naturalist note" to support photos after creature is revealed:
Long and thin, squirmy and moist, lowly earthworms do mighty work. By spending their days 'worming' through the earth, wiggling and wriggling right and left, they work the soil much like a plow. That alone is a big job, but earthworms do even more. They are "decomposers"—creatures that consume dead plants and animals. The health of our planet depends on the work of decomposers.