Total Pageviews

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Looking Closely in the Rain Forest, written and photographed by Frank Serafini. Kids Can, 2010. $16.95 ages 4 and up

"There are over 30 000 different types of orchids in the world. This orchid is named for its petals, which look like moth wings. When a moth orchid blooms, its flowers will last for several weeks at a time.

Orchids love shady, warm and humid places. This is why they thrive in many of the world's rain forests. These colorful plants can grow on rocks, creep over the ground and even climb up trees."

I have written about this exemplary series before, and continue to be impressed by the quality of the design, the accessible text and the gorgeous photography. They provide journeys to places that young readers will have access to, and some that they will not. From the first page they are drawn into the guessing game. A round 'eyeglass' shows a close-up photo of something that is described in a series of questions.

"Look very closely.

What do you see?

A flamingo?
Pink grapefruit?
What could it be?"

The questions may elicit a myriad of other guesses, before turning the page to reveal a hibiscus.

Kids are naturally curious and they love these types of books that have them looking closely to try to determine the right answer before the page is turned. Because the text is repetitive, it won't be long until they are reading it on their own. While the language of the guesses made is more sophisticated, you can hear them making up their own questions related to what they are seeing through the looking glass. Sounds like a class book in the making to me.

Once the guessing is done, we flip the page to find the focus of the camera lens. The informative paragraph displayed to the left of the three-quarter spread image provides just enough text to garner interest and to add to the child's current store of knowledge about this habitat. The final full page spread shows the wonder of the rain forest vegetation, suggesting its unique ability to sustain its many inhabitants.

It is Frank Serafini's belief that we must look closely at nature to make us more aware of its beauty and to encourage us to take an active role in protecting what we have. His beautiful photos speak to the love he has for his subject and seem almost magical. I can only imagine the patience and time needed to get that 'just right' image to share with us. 

No comments:

Post a Comment