Rhyming week on Great Books for Kids Reviewed by Michelle Marcotte, continues with this hardcover book Mountain Night Mountain Day by Anthony Fredericks and illustrated by Kenneth Spengler. This book is an easy-to-read showcase of all the animals living in mountain regions. Every two page spread opens to one clever and cute rhymed sentence about the mountains or to describe the life of an animal. And the illustrations are as massive and bold as the mountains themselves.
Although the text is perfect and fun, this book’s illustrations are the real show-stopper. Not only do we see large and small wild animals, but they are shown in huge, bold colors that include and reflect their habitat. The animals roam, leap, hunt, run and care for their young in a background of forests, mountains and streams. The pages are all cleanly and purely colored, a great reflection of nature that has not been spoiled. These are not Disney or cartoon animals but powerful and realistic paintings of animals that have also managed to be not scary for young kids.
And the illustrator has done something that is really fun for kids. Each page has a hidden mouse to find. Kids love racing to find the mouse before the parent can find it. Each page also has a hidden hint of the animal that was highlighted on the previous page. This means the child will want to flip the pages back and forth to take some time to really study the illustrations. Illustrations this good, this bold and complex deserve extra time to really enjoy the book.
Many kids do not have much experience seeing animals in nature habitats. This book gives a glimpse of nature that is difficult to find, even for a kid who lives in a mountain region.
The last page of the book offers field notes of night time and day time animals for readers to learn about animals in more detail. I bought this book in Yellowstone National Park, which helps back up my recommendation that this book would be a terrific gift to any family planning a trip to the western part of North America, perhaps to visit one of the great national parks in Canada or the United States.
For the exceptional illustrations, the easy readability of the text and the field guide, I think this book suits ages 3-9, which is a fairly wide age range. So, this book will be read and then referred to over a few years.
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Published by Rio Chico, of Rio Nuevo Publishers, Mountain Night Mountain Day is available from the publisher’s website, from Amazon or wherever smart books are sold.