Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Wildlife Gardening

Wildlife Gardening

Martin Cox
For ages 8 to 12
Dorling Kindersley, 2009   ISBN: 978-0756650896

Being able to watch wild animals as they go about their lives is incredibly rewarding. Many of us have bird feeders hanging in our yards and gardens, but there are other things that young people and their families can do to create “a haven for all kinds of birds, bugs, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.” You don’t have to have a big garden to create such a haven either. A window box, a mini pond in a wooden tub, or some pots of flowering plants are all you need to create a wildlife habitat of your own.

The author begins the book by explaining why one should become a wildlife gardener in the first place. He then goes on to show readers what to do to get started. First, he introduces readers to some start-up plant species that will attract wildlife to your garden. Next, he shows us how to create a pond. All you need is a container, sand, some basic tools, stones, rocks and gravel, and water plants. If you have the space, plant a tree. Trees provide animals with homes, food, and shelter.

In addition to offering his readers planting projects, the author also encourages children to observe the animals that they attract to their gardens. He shows them how to keep a nature diary so that they can keep track of their animal guests, and how to detect and track which animals visit their habitat. Then there are the numerous “Make it” projects. Children who like insects and spiders will learn (among other things) how to make a bee hotel, a spider web catcher, and a butterfly house. If you are more interested in birds, you will learn how to make an owl nesting boot, a birdhouse, a bird bath, and a bird feeder.

This excellent title will inspire children to look at their gardens, patios, porches, and windowsills in a whole new way. The book is packed with information, creative projects, full color annotated photos, and every project includes a supply list and excellent directions with photos. This is the perfect book for young naturalists.