PreS-Gr 3-This book offers two-page vistas that incorporate animals found in a variety of habitats, including a mangrove, a tide pool, and a reef. As viewers move from flying pelican to gliding barracuda, Toft creates ever-widening perspectives to reveal how various ecosystems relate to one another. For example, after introducing air, rain forest, and river, she provides a spread that shows all 15 animals previously introduced. This process culminates in an impressive four-page, foldout panorama that includes all 45 animals. The minimal text cumulates as well in a "house that Jack built" structure: "This is the rain forest that filters the air that circles the world that we want." Of course, the underlying message is how easily the intertwined ecosystems can unravel. That idea is reinforced on the concluding five pages. Toft talks about the threats to various habitats and offers a few facts about each animal included in her illustrations. Although some of these creatures are unique to her native Australia, many can be found in other parts of the world as well. The arresting, brilliantly hued illustrations were drawn and painted on silk. This title could serve as an introduction to or culmination of an environmental study or be perused by individuals or small groups trying to locate the animals on each page.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
In a "house that Jack built" pattern, Toft introduces readers to the many habitats that overlap to support the multitude of life on "the world that we want." The rain forest filters the air, the reef feeds the tide pool, the mangrove follows the river. From air to ocean, she highlights the interconnectedness of aquatic habitats in the basic text, but the conservation message hinted at in the title is only clear in the notes at the end. "Many of the habitats in this book are threatened by pollution, deforestation, or climatic changes. If these habitats are destroyed then each one of the species that lives there is put at risk." The unique artwork is painted silk, giving the effect of cloisonne. Older readers will be challenged to find the 45 rich, jewel-toned creatures hidden amongst the flora and beautiful watery backdrop. Brief informational notes correspond to the numbered animals in miniaturized versions of the illustrations. A gorgeous look at the interdependence of life on this earth, and a treasure to share with a youngster. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-9)