Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Nature's Patchwork Quilt: Understanding Habitats

Nature's Patchwork Quilt: Understanding Habitats

Mary Miche
Illustrator:  Consie Powell 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Dawn Publications, 2012   ISBN: 978-1584691709

A patchwork quilt is a bed cover that is made by sewing together lots of pieces of fabric. When the pieces are sewn together they create a picture or a pattern; the shapes, the colors, and the designs in the fabric complement one another to make a beautiful whole. Nature is similar. Many animals and plants live together, depending on one another. Together they make our planet a very beautiful and special place.

Understanding the science of nature can be difficult for young children, but in this book the author finds unique ways to help young readers grasp what a habitat is. Children will see how the animals in habitats are interdependent, and how, within habitats, animals and plants adapt to fulfill a “special role, called its niche.”

After a brief introduction, the author looks at some of the Earth’s principal habitats, including grasslands, forests, oceans, seashores, and lakes. In each section she explores some aspect of ecology: explaining what food chains are, what camouflage is, why animals adapt over time, what a food web is, and how important it is for animals and plants to have survival mechanisms.

The narrative ends by looking at the role humans play in the natural world. Children will learn that we humans have created our own habitats, unfortunately often taking over areas that serve as homes for wild animals and plants. Encouraged by the efforts of environmentalists such as Sylvia Earle and John Muir, humans are slowly coming to appreciate that we, just like all animals, need to adapt so that we live in harmony with the needs of our planet, and so that we do not harm the plants and animals who share our world.

At the end of the book the author gives her readers tips on how to become an environmentalist, how to learn more about nature, and more.