In the Woods

Candlewick. Apr. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763697839.
PreS-Gr 2–Journey into the woods with Elliott’s picturesque poems paired with Dunlavey’s lavishly illustrated forest animals. Author and illustrator collaborate to create a gorgeous homage to the animals of the forest as they cycle through the seasons. The book opens with a bear waking from its slumber and then follows a fox, a scarlet tanager, skunks, a fisher cat, a moose, and other animals as they go through their days. Some poems are very short. Some rhyme, a few have rhythm, and some are free verse—all are filled with figurative language that brings the creatures to life. These poems are complemented by Elliott’s watercolor renderings which incorporate greens, browns, and grays. Yet all scenes clearly represent the change of seasons in the forest. One animal is spotlighted on each spread. This book gently introduces some scientific vocabulary and is a good starting point for discussions about learning new words. All of the animals have short profiles on the final pages offering fun facts that may not be common knowledge (for example, fisher cats are the only North American animal that eat porcupines).
VERDICT Highly recommended for elementary libraries and elementary science and language arts classrooms.

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