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Swamp Chomp

Swamp Chomp

by Lola M. Schaefer, Paul Meisel (Illustrator)

This simple and elegant nonfiction picture book introduces young scientists to food chains.


This simple and elegant nonfiction picture book introduces young scientists to food chains.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—The sounds of the swamp come alive in this look at the creatures that live and feed there. At first, "water ripples." Creatures are introduced with an active verb following: "Crayfish crawl. Carry," "Turtles bob. Dig." Clearly, the creatures are all deftly aware of their surroundings as the center spread reveals a sudden cacophony of sound and each creature begins to feed ("Dragonflies circle. Slurp." "Bullfrogs pounce. Gulp."). And then, once again, "Water ripples in the swamp." The illustrations reveal a multitude of flora and fauna in various mediums of pen, ink, acrylic, and pastels in tones of green, brown, and orange. Detailed images entice young readers to explore for hidden treasures within this ecosystem. Endnotes detail the composition of the swamp and its place in the balance of nature. A large-spread illustrates the framework of the food chain within the area. A satisfying introduction to ecosystems and food chains.—Carol Connor, Cincinnati Public Schools, OH
Kirkus Reviews
The names of several animals that might inhabit a cypress swamp, along with a plethora of verbs, adorn pages full of brightly colored animals, plants and water. The opening double-page spread depicts a half-submerged alligator, a generic wading bird, other aquatic life, a lurking, half-hidden mammal, and insects flitting about; the text reads, "In the swamp…water ripples." The final spread, similar but also purposefully including a fish in another wading bird's mouth, says, "Water ripples in the swamp." In between are close-up, cartoonlike depictions of various critters, each glossed with a few words: "Dragonflies swoop. Dip. // Crayfish crawl. Carry. / Bullfrogs wait. Lay." (It is unclear what, if any, are the objects of the transitive verbs. Carry minnows? Lay eggs?) Later, more active watercolor-and-ink drawings show animals eating other animals, with phrases such as "Bullfrogs pounce. Gulp." There is a nice interruption of rhythm when the alligators emerge on land with a sudden "Alligators CHOMP!" It is unclear until the endnote that the text and illustrations are attempting to show a cypress swamp food chain in action. The illustrations invite children to take their time finding animals and figuring out their activities; the text would sparkle equally if the author had played more with rhyme, rhythm and alliteration. (Informational picture book. 2-4)

Product Details

Holiday House, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Lola M. Schaefer has written more than 250 books for children. After teaching in elementary school classrooms for eighteen years, she is now a national writing and educational consultant. She lives in Georgia.

Paul Meisel is an award-winning author and illustrator for children. His SEE ME RUN (Holiday House, 2012) was voted a Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor book! Paul lives and works in Connecticut, where Paul and his wife and raised their three grown sons. Paul spends most days working in his studio, which has a nice view of the woods and the backyard--often filled with deer, turkeys, an occasional coyote, and once in a great while, a bobcat.

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