Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Nature in the Neighborhood

Nature in the Neighborhood

Gordon Morrison
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 9
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008   ISBN: 978-0547015484

A warm sun is shining and the snow is melting. Snowmelt seeps into the ground and a seed begins to grow, brought to life by the warmth and the water. Spring is here and creatures and plants are appearing all over the neighborhood. Worms wiggle their way out of their burrows, and robins, tired after their long flight north, fly in to land on the school playground.

A month after the first robins arrive there are nests full of eggs in the trees, and one female robin has even set up house in an alarm box. Soon she and her mate are busy feeding their new chicks. In just twelve days, these babies will be ready to leave the nest.

Some weeks pass by and it is warm enough to put laundry out on the line to dry. The oak tree is all leafed out, and on its branches the young squirrels that were born nine weeks ago are now big enough to leave the nest. They are learning how to climb, run, and leap

When summer arrives, Monarch butterflies can be seen visiting the milkweed plants. They have laid eggs on the leaves of the plant, and when the caterpillars hatch out, they eat the milkweed plants with great enthusiasm. They have to grow a lot before they are ready to make their miraculous transformation from a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly.

In this simply written and beautifully illustrated picture book, the author shows young readers that city neighborhoods are great places to watch nature's wonders. As they read, children can see how the landscape changes as the months go by. On each double page spread, the author gives his audience the story of the unfolding year, numerous color illustrations, notes about the plants and animals show on that page, and black and white drawings.