Thursday, January 21, 2016

Environmental Book Club

Anyone else notice I tend to cover a lot of picture books in this feature? I think what's happening is that most of the YA environmental books I've come upon are dystopian, a genre I'm not fond of. Middle grade environmental books  often fall into a save-an-endangered-species-from-an-evil-company category. Yeah, I've read enough of those.

Picture books cover a little more ground--biography, seasonal talk, and gardening, for instance. I appreciate the variety.

Today's books both deal with fall. Fall lasted forever in New England this year. It only ended after Christmas.

Winter Is Coming deals with a child observing a forest and the creatures in it late in autumn, when "winter is coming." The writing by Tony Johnston  is elegant, but maybe a little too much so in places. I don't know what the line "A lynx with Egypt eyes" describes. The same with "My mother says wild things are full of lights." But overall the text works well with the illustrations by Jim LaMarche, which feature the animals the child narrator is watching.

Fall Leaves by Loretta Holland is far more technical, covering things like the Earth's rotation around the sun and how trees make their own food. I particularly liked the page describing why smoke from chimneys stays low on snowy days. Did not know that. At the same time that readers are getting all these facts, they are also seeing word play with "fall" and "leaves."  Elly MacKay's artwork focuses on children and uses autumn colors.

Same subject but handled differently in written and visual style.

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