5-Minute Nature Stories

Abrams. Oct. 2023. 112p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781419767753.
PreS-Gr 3–This British import features 10 informational stories in metered verse sparking delight and curiosity on the everyday miracles of nature, such as those found in mushrooms, a forest, honeybees, and moths. Dawnay, a science writer and poet, weaves together the symbiotic existence of the inhabitants of the stories through rhyming quatrains. Going a step beyond, she introduces poetic and scientific vocabulary like “crepuscular” and “murmurations” in a concluding page at the close of each informational poem-story. The visual design and the transitions between stories are handled with great grace and the book brims with charming illustrations. Playful art posits the anthropomorphized fungi and plants as sentient creatures and enjoins engagement. Text and art are well-matched. Where this volume trips is a split personality about audience: the stories are five minutes long and perfect for reading aloud by younger children but hand the book over to an older person for help with the informational pages that follow each section. Additionally, the choice to represent all external dialogue in the semi-cursive Bakerie font further may confuse the younger end of the audience of emerging readers.
VERDICT This has read-aloud potential but may require hand-selling to circulate.

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