Wednesday, December 4, 2013

"The Swamp Where Gator Hides" Children's Book Review

            Welcome back to my mini sneak preview session of Dawn Publications Spring 2014  book releases! We're continuing our theme of special ecosystems today with a children's book by Marianne Berkes titled The Swamp Where Gator Hides. In this wonderfully and colorfully illustrated book, we meet many of the creatures living in the Florida Everglades. Aside from the main focus of the story, which is obviously the alligator, children will also be introduced to egrets, voles, bobcats, white-tailed deer, and many other interesting characters.
            I have to admit, even as an adult I still enjoy poetry and children's stories that rhyme. (What can I say? I like the way it flows.) That is one thing I liked about The Swamp Where Gator Hides: the cumulative rhyme. For those of you who may not be familiar with the term, the author explains that a cumulative rhyme "repeats each part of a story from beginning to end." Besides just being fun, in my opinion, I think it will help the story appeal to younger children (this book is also suggested for 4-10 year old children) and help them remember what they're reading and learning as well.
            I loved the illustrations in the book as well. On each page (well, until you get to the end, but you'll just have to check it out for yourself to see what I'm talking about ;) ) you can find just the gator's eyes peering above the surface of the algae covered swamp water. You could turn it into a fun little search and find game for younger children.
            Besides the fact that most children enjoy learning about animals, I think the suspense will also appeal to them as well. Throughout the book the gator is hiding as we meet the different animals and learn about their activities, such as the snoozing turtle and the bobcat who stalks the vole who peeks out of his hole. The story culminates with finding out which of the unfortunate creatures is going to be gator's lunch!
            As usual, there are resources for parents and teachers at the end of the book. The author shares some of her activity ideas, such as having children make their own gator. You can also find more on Dawn Pub's website as well under "Activities". There is also some more information about the featured animals at the end of the book as well. 

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