Rare and Blue
Constance Van Hoven, author
Constance Van Hoven received her MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College. She is the author of The Twelve Days of Christmas in Minnesota and Hello! Minnesota. She lives in Bozeman, Montana.
Read more about Constance.
Alan Marks, illustrator
Alan Marks is the illustrator of many books for children, including Daring Dozen, Boston Globe – Horn Book honor book A Mother's Journey, and Carnegie Medal winner Storm. He lives in Kent, England
Read more about Alan.
- Coming soon!
Describing all the endangered flora and fauna of the U.S. is a Herculean task, and this book illustrates our country’s multitude of rare plants and creatures by narrowing in only on blue ones. The opening pages, for example, show children on the hunt for a patch of lupine, where they find Karner blue butterflies, which have been largely squeezed out of their habitats by human development. Next, it’s off to an oasis pond where, readers are told, Quitobaquito pupfish live —they’re now found in just one pond in the U.S., though they were once much more common. Covered in a similar way (i.e., habitat description followed by endangerment details) are the cerulean warbler, eastern indigo snake, bluestem prairie grass, blue bear, and blue whale, with extra facts about each, a general glossary, and an explanation of words related to endangerment closing the work. The short but pithy details about each species will be enough to pique children’s interest to learn more, and the dreamy watercolor images of beaches, ponds, and animals—the blue whale illustrations are especially striking—make this a gorgeous read.
School Library Journal
The color blue can be found all throughout nature, including birds, lobsters, prairie grass, and the Earth itself. This picture book examines familiar creatures and their many shades of blue. The narrative takes readers on a journey, starting with a field of Karner blue butterflies and ending in space with an aerial view of Earth. Each spread uses simple prose and spotlights a new animal or aspect of nature. A paragraph of text provides facts, such as an animal’s scientific name, details about its habitat, or its classification as an endangered species in the wild. The artwork complements the text well, adding detail to the animals, wildlife, and outdoor settings as if readers were looking at realistic scenes recreated from photographs. The humans that are depicted throughout are mostly seen from a distance but are both white and non-white. The back matter includes categories of species, a glossary, additional facts, and a selected bibliography. VERDICT Filled with dreamy watercolor images of nature and bite-sized information to encourage thoughtful reflection, this title is a solid purchase for elementary nonfiction collections, especially where nature and life science texts are popular.
ISBN: 978-1-63289-849-4 EPUB
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Page count: 48
10 x 10