Friday, August 06, 2010

Eco Mazes: 12 Earth Adventures by Roxie Munro


And for those kids who prefer to be doing something rather than reading about it, Roxie Munro's EcoMazes: 12 Earth Adventures (Sterling, 2010) is the next best thing to taking a nature walk through twelve of Earth's amazing biomes.

Concentrating on the fauna of these far-flung areas--both polar regions, a Middle Eastern desert, a coral reef, an Alpine high meadow, a Eurasian tundra, South American rain forest, a North American wetland, and African savanna, to name a few-- her large-format new book provides a great jumping-off place for the study of twelve diverse ecosystems. Each double page spread provides maze-like trails for young naturalists to follow and a list of native animals to spot as they make the trek. Kids who love Where's Waldo? or I Spy books, as well as mazes and other visual puzzles, will quickly jump in to be the first to arrive at the finish line with the complete list of sightings, a few easy to spot and others well hidden in the natural environment. Some, such as lions and camels, are familiar to most kids, but others, such as the fennec and roseate spoonbill, may send them to reference sources to find out just which unusual animal they are watching for along the trails.

If anyone is stumped by the search, there are "solution" maps in the appendix to help them spot missing animals, each one offering a brief, clear description of the ecosystem along with the sights and sounds (a glacier "calving" in the polar Antarctic biome, for example) to provide a "you-are-there" experience for young readers as well as a brief list of the sites where each ecological area can be located on the globe. The appendix also offers recommended books and web sites for further study, making this useful book a great adjunct to the curricular study of Earth's many ecosystems.

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