Each double-page spread of this gorgeous book is densely-packed with colorful watercolors showing different ecosystems. These include rainforests, mountains, reefs, deserts, the world underground, caves, freshwater habitats, oceans, grasslands, and skies. Within each picture, readers are encouraged to locate the endangered species common to that ecosystem. A guide to what species to search for is given on the left side. For example, the panel on the rainforest page asks readers to find the golden lion tamarin, hyacinth macaw, jaguar, cross river gorilla, and sumatran orangutan. Thumbnail sketches of each species at the back of the book describe the animals and explain just how many are left and why they are endangered.
Thus we learn, for example, there are only around 250 riverine rabbits in the Karoo Desert in South Africa, and an astonishingly low number – 64 – of white-headed langurs, which are found in Vietnam. Some of the species detailed have “Unknown” written beside the heading “Numbers Left.” Sadder still, the most common reasons given for their endangerment are habitat loss and poaching.
The dazzling pictures created by the author/illustrator were made using a Pantone color matching system to enhance their aesthetic appeal. In addition, the book has a linen spine and embossed lettering on the cover, with sturdy pages within that will hold up for repeated perusals.
Evaluation: The beauty of the packaging may convey the meta-message about the splendor of the natural environment, and how much is at stake if we don’t do a better job preserving it. There are also a lot of interesting facts for kids in this book, which definitely will appeal to eager learners. Only one small critique: I would have liked to see links to sites suggesting actions feasible for kids to help mitigate the devastation of the environment and protection of these species.
Published in London by Cicada Books Limited, 2016