An Arctic Tundra Food Chain

9781608185382. ea vol: 80p. (Odysseys in Nature). bibliog. glossary. index. photos. Creative Education. 2015. lib. ed. $42.80.
Gr 5–8—These reissues of "Nature's Bounty" (Creative Education, 2009) have been repackaged. These offerings are smaller in size and feature new covers and titles and a rearrangement of photos; otherwise, they're the same, including the selected bibliographies. Each volume examines a different food chain from a North American biome: for instance, Rainforest begins with the cacao tree, then discusses the leafcutter ant (which collects the cacao's leaves), moves on to the anteater, and finishes with the boa constrictor (which preys upon the anteater). Full pages devoted to different animals are inserted throughout. While informative, these inclusions interrupt the flow of the main text. The well-written prose uses analogies such as "about the size of a sixth-grader's thumb" to describe the size of a queen leafcutter ant and wonderfully descriptive phrases, including "salmon…pluck the sardines off like grapes" that will draw readers in. The captioned photos, while dramatic, play a minor supporting role. They often don't provide wide full-body views of the subjects or labels.
VERDICT Purchase these for the wealth of information in the writing.
Illustrated with glossy, artistic photos, each slim volume features a continuous, sequential narrative of a food chain, beginning with a producer (plant) and moving through varied predators. For example, Prairie starts with bluestem grass and progresses through the differential grasshopper, prairie shrew, bull snake, and badger. Whole-page inserts about other species, such as the red-tailed hawk, somewhat interrupt the narrative flow. Bib., glos., ind. Review covers these Odysseys in Nature titles: A Desert Food Chain, A Mountain Food Chain, A Prairie Food Chain, A Rainforest Food Chain, An Arctic Tundra Food Chain, and An Ocean Food Chain.

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