Monday, February 14, 2011

Interesting patterns

Before & after: a book of nature timescapes by Jan Thornhill (577.5 ThB 2005 PIC BK) is an interesting resource if you’re looking for an unusual science book that combines measures of time, observation skills, and nature.

The author has selected seven types of environments from different parts of the world (coral reef, savannah, Australian forest, tropical rainforest, wetland, meadow, and school yard) and shows how each changes with varying shifts in time. 

For example, the first set of pages shows a brightly coloured and highly detailed ‘snapshot’ of a coral reef.  There are many species of tropical fish, various types of coral, starfish, octopus, sea urchin, etc.  This is the ‘before’ shot.  Turn the page and we see what the same location would look like ‘after’ a few seconds.  Pretty much everything has moved except the coral, as you would expect. 

A little further on in the book, we look at a wetland at dusk.  Again, many animals, birds, insects, reptiles, fish, plants, etc. are depicted going about their lives as night is about to fall.  Turn the page and the scene is an hour later.  We see a pair of moose and group of raccoons that had not been visible in the preceding illustration and the heron that had been predominant in the ‘before’ illustration is now gone.

The last set of illustrations show a schoolyard that is about to undergo a transformation from barren yard to a vegetable-producing, bird-attracting, insect-laden garden as cultivated over the span of a year.

Each duo of pages is framed with the creatures that are, or will be, in attendance in the next set of pages, providing kids the opportunity to identity the wildlife and see what changes occur over a specific period of time.

Though young children ages 5 and 6 will enjoy looking at illustrations, I think kids even up to grade 5 will take pleasure in identifying changes between ‘before’ and ‘after’ in these timescapes.

Today is Nonfiction Monday hosted at Wrapped In Foil.  This is a weekly roundup of children's literature that is focused on nonfiction children's literature.  Well worth a look.  


Sue Heavenrich said...

sounds like the kind of book I would love to read!

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