My first clue that I might love this book came from a small row of words across the bottom of the front cover. I was promised ‘ear-tickling poems’ and ‘eye-tricking photos.’ I knew by the title, Where in the Wild?: Camouflaged Creatures Concealed…and Revealed, by David M. Schwartz and Yael Schy, that this would be a book about animal camouflage. The tease of fun poems and tricky photos drew me in. But when you’re a seasoned mom like me, who’s spent the better part of 15 years reading animal books to your nature-loving kids, you tend to be skeptical.
I have to say this book was a pleasant surprise. Indeed, each page has a fun poem, many of them are printed in engaging shapes. And the pictures are truly tricky. The youngest child in my house just turned ten and he was immediately drawn into the game of hunt and find. He and I pored over each page, lifting the flap to reveal the hidden animal only if we just couldn’t find it ourselves.
We’ve shared many camouflage animal books before, but this one was the most challenging one we’ve ever seen. It truly had us stumped on a couple of pages. Once we gave up and opened the flap, we shared a combined, “Oh there it is!” then were able to read more about that animal on the fact filled page behind the flap.
Here’s a sample, just in case you think you could never be stumped and my son and I need a couple of eye exams. This picture actually contains three animals. Can you find them? Need some help? I thought so.
I’m impressed by this book for several reasons. It showcases amazing creatures from the animal kingdom and explores in depth how each of them survives by playing a daily hiding game. The pictures and learning potential reaches a broad range of geek children, from the curious preschooler who is mostly interested in pictures and verbal discussion, to the older elementary age child, like my son, who devoured the fun facts and was excited to share his new knowledge with anyone and everyone who would listen.
It is also a great demonstration of how poems can convey knowledge, in a fun, interactive way. The word play is entertaining, the shaped poems are visually interesting, and the clues are cleverly mixed into the text.
The best part about this wonderful book is not the fact it will be a relevant part of your child’s personal book collection for many years, but that it has a sequel that is just as special. It’s appropriately titled Where Else in the Wild?: More Camouflaged Creatures Concealed…and Revealed, by the same authors.
Be sure to pick up a copy of this book at the library. It’s a fun one to share with your child and will open up many opportunities for discussion. And once you fall in love with it, like I have, you just might want to buy a copy of your own (It retails for $16.99).