Over and Under the Canyon

Chronicle. Sept. 2021. 56p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781452169392.
K-Gr 2–Keeping with the style and format of Messner’s previous “Over and Under” books, this entry introduces readers to the animals and wildlife that live in desert canyons. Readers follow a mother and son as they hike through the colorful and mysterious landscapes above and hidden below the canyons. The pages contain gorgeous artwork that captures all the wonders the mother and son find on the journey. Children will see a hawk as it flies over the canyon in search of food; a roadrunner as it catches its rattlesnake lunch; and the footprints of a horned lizard alongside the main characters’ footprints. The text is simple but packed with information about the ecology and animals of this region. The mother and son make observations about their surroundings while connecting with nature.The author’s note tells readers that this book is based off a trip she took with her family to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California and how her family camped there just like the characters in the story. The artwork mostly features brown-skinned mother and a lighter-skinned son duo who then meet up with a white-skinned father. There is also an “About the Animals and Plants” reference piece in the back matter that describes all the animals noted in the text. This is a wonderful introduction to this habitat and nocturnal and diurnal animals.
VERDICT A great addition to science collections for young readers and where the previous titles are popular.

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