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This is a beautiful book. I had seen it at a friend's but was only able to glance very quickly at it so bought my own copy. Once in my hands with time to spend looking at it, I found it to be somewhat useless, like a coffee table book, a novelty. Pretty but not a go to for information.
This book is somewhat simplistic, which, I suppose, is in line with the theme of Rothman's books. I would rate the reading level, both from a content and vocabulary viewpoint, as 7th grade or younger. My second grader has no problem understanding the text and does enjoy the illustrations.
There are a few problems with this book but the most egregious is the suggestion of any edibility for mushrooms. In fact, it is criminal in my opinion. A person that has not had years of practice with the identification of mushrooms in the field, or otherwise, has no business eating any wild mushroom. The risks are too great. The inclusion of a cooking recipe compounds the issue.
The snake illustrations leave much to be desired and are useless. They are terrible, really.
Positives include the shoreline zonation, moon cycles, butterfly parts, etc.
Regretfully, the choice of some material as touched on above and the overly simplistic approach make it difficult to recommend this book for any age group. I have annotated my copy and my youngest kids are fighting over time for reading. I have to change my review based simply on the fact that it is providing another tool to interest them in the world around them.
I just ordered Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World by Julia Rothman. Her books were highly recommended by Patty Palmer, art teacher and website designer of Deep Space Sparkle. The book was not what I expected. The author is a New York City girl and finds Nature with her walks through Prospect Park with her friend and partner John Niekrasz who "provided such great ideas and intriguing facts. He raised the bar with his knowledge, research, and well-crafted words." Her mother helped her paint some of the pages, her dad scanned them. She also thanks her sister and assistant painter Sarah Green—plus others. It seems to have been a group effort.
Little bits of science are nicely illustrated to draw the reader in, like Layers of the Earth, Minerals, The Rock Cycle, Fossils, Landforms, (I can clearly see what the difference between a Plateau, Mesa, and Butte. There's a very simple explanation of plate tectonics and some drawings. Many of the scientific explanations are almost too simple, but if the child is interested there are more advanced books. There are two pages of Snowflakes—the drawings are OK and the text somewhat overly simplified and somewhat confusing. "As a crystal grows, the molecules do not stack together with perfect regularity." Author assumes the child will know what molecules are??? A much better book is Snowflake Bentley for children to understand the entire process. Phases of the Moon, OK. Constellations—not so much.The flower section of the book was better. Nice drawings with the common name and the Latin name. Rothman tries to cover too much with not enough depth in some parts and then others with too much information for a child. I am not certain of her audience, children, teachers, parents or the naturalist? It felt like a hodgepodge of information and simple drawings. The section on Butterflies, there was suggested the Butterfly Bush, a plant that is considered invasive and not recommended.Teachers and children will be better served researching the flower, plant, animal, or whatever they are interested in and looking at the actual flower, plant or animal itself. If this is not possible, actual photos will be more informative. In other words look at the actual bird nest or the specific fir or pine cone. There was one art lesson on printing leaves. There was also a recipe on how to make a Seaweed Facial Mask — we all need that! This book was somewhat disappointing. The creative classroom teacher will find some way to use this book.