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Monday, June 18, 2012

another star for Out On The Prairie

BATEMAN, Donna M. Out on the Prairie. illus. by Susan Swan. 32p. CIP. Charlesbridge. July 2012. RTE $15.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-377-0; pap. $7.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-378-7; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-1-60734-456-8. LC 2011025782.
PreS-Gr 2–Using the traditional rhyme scheme of “Over in the Meadow,” this book does its predecessor proud, and then some. Children will encounter possibly unfamiliar flora and fauna (yucca and grama grasses, howdy owls and pronghorns) in this beautiful exploration of a prairie. “Out on the prairie where the wispy clouds soar,/Lived a mother prairie dog and her little pups Four.” A different native animal is showcased in each lavish spread. Swan’s illustrations are unique and quite astounding; made using collages of digitally scanned objects, found objects, and hand-painted papers, they are vibrant and have an almost 3-D quality to them. The grasshoppers seem to be jumping off the pages to spectacular effect. Back matter includes an extensive section, “Prairie Flora and Fauna Facts.” This book would be a great choice for any prairie ecosystem lesson, and it would make a sweet habitat storytime paired with Christopher Gunson’s Over on the Farm (Scholastic, 1997) and Marianne Berkes’s Over in the Ocean (Dawn, 2004).–Alison Donnelly, Mississippi Valley Library District, Collinsville, IL
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