Last year, Portland publisher Craigmore Creations put out the first in their Little Naturalist series, Flowers by Number (reviewed here). They have just published two more titles in the series, one being Letters of the West: An ABC BOOK of the Many Plants, Animals, and Other Curious Features of the West, the other Tracks Count: A Guide to Counting Animal Prints.
In Letters of the West: An ABC Book of the Many Plants, Animals, and Other Curious Features of the West (Craigmore Creations, 2014, 32 pp), Michelle E. Walch and John Maddin – husband and wife – combine simple yet interesting information about natural history with pleasantly bold illustrations. From the light of Alpenglow to wading Herons, and hoarding Squirrels to Zigzag, Oregon, the flora and fauna of the west are captured in this splendid book. While the entries cover the west generally, readers in the Pacific Northwest will relate to Beaver, Spotted Owl, Trillium, and Waterfall. A nice touch is that for plants and animals that are featured, they have included the scientific, Latin name. Books about science and nature that share concise information with visually appealing artwork can light a curiosity flame in the minds of young readers. May the Little Naturalist series and Letters of the West do just that, while helping preschoolers learn their alphabet.
Likewise for Tracks Count: A Guide to Counting Animal Prints (Craigmore Creations, 2014, 32 pp) by Steve Engel and illustrated by Alexander Petersen. Learning to count often involves a child’s fingers and toes. So why not also count animal toes? Engel, who previously oversaw adult education at the Audubon Society of Portland and now at the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve in Hillsboro, not only shares animal tracks that can be found in the Portland area, but some from around the world too. The numbers 1 through 5 are shown as single tracks from an individual animal, while 6 through 1o are represented as tracks from two animals. A moose has 2 toes, while a rhinoceros leaves a three-toed pad depression. Raccoons leave 5-toed tracks, while the toes of a wolf and bear crossing paths adds up to 9. Following the track counting, Craigmore Creation’s naturalist/author David Shapiro provides information about all of the animals featured. The artwork by Petersen of the tracks and the animals in their habitats is warm in its earthy tones.
Alright, so we have flowers, natural history of the West, and animal tracks teamed up with counting numbers and learning the ABCs. I look forward to seeing what’s next in the Little Naturalist series.