Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 7 to 10
- Grade: 2 to 5
Tundra introduces the first three books in its important new ecosystems series. Each title celebrates the world’s diversity by presenting a different ecosystem: its land and water, its animals and plants. The art is brimming with creatures and ecological features, described in fact-filled notes at the end of each book and in a useful glossary and map.
Who Needs an Iceberg? The Arctic ecosystem is changing rapidly. The Arctic Ice Cap is melting, the habitat for the creatures that live in the north is shrinking, and the earth is warming up. The impact is enormous for all of us.
Not only is each book informative and beautiful, but it is a call to action for everybody who cares about the world in which we live.
About the author
KAREN PATKAU has been writing and illustrating picture books, with a focus on nature and non-fiction, for more than thirty years. She won the Ezra Jack Keats Memorial Medal for her first book, Don’t Eat Spiders by Robert Heidbreder, and since then her titles have appeared on lists including Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books, Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award finalists, Green Book Festival Award finalists, Ontario Library Association Best Bets and White Ravens selections. Karen has also illustrated Forest: A See to Learn Book. She lives in Toronto.
“Nonfiction picture books are not nearly as common as they once were, but author and illustrator Karen Patkau proves that the genre is not dead. Her beautiful illustrations and maps present information in an easy to understand format for young readers…. Each book includes simple text for beginning nonfiction readers supported by detailed illustrations of the plant and animal life in each ecosystem…. All of the books in this series contain valuable information supported with illustrations that help young readers understand the content. The message in each is clear. We need to care about these different ecosystems.”
—Highly Recommended, CM Magazine
“Karen Patkau explore the importance of these vastly different regions, and the unique role they play in the world. Each book brims with the captivating creatures that make their homes here, ecological features, fact notes, a glossary and a map.”
—The Waterloo Region Record
Who Needs an Iceberg? An Arctic EcosystemThe area surrounding the equator is covered in tropical rainforests, and there are more kinds of plants and animals in this area than anywhere else on earth. The rainforest grows in layers that include the emergent trees, the canopy, the understory and the forest floor. In Who Needs a Jungle? A Rainforest Ecosystem we meet many of the inhabitants that live in the various layers of the jungle and learn about the life cycle of a rainforest. Author Karen Patkau also explains how the trees protect the land and how the jungle affects weather. Finally, she explains how the rainforest supplies us with valuable oxygen, food, medicinal ingredients and raw materials and why we need the world’s rainforests to be protected.
In a vast cold place on the top of the world, known as the Arctic, glaciers that are thousands of years old can be found. In Who Needs an Iceberg? An Arctic Ecosystem we learn how icebergs form and that the Arctic tundra is a great treeless plain that receives little precipitation. We meet the fascinating inhabitants that live on land and in the sea and discover the stark difference between summer and winter in this polar region. Patkau also explains how global warming is contributing to the melting of the Arctic Ice Cap and how this will affect our world.
Although swamps may often be seen as dangerous, useless places, the draining of them to create farmland or to rid an area of insects ruins a unique habitat for the plants and animals that live there. Swamps also protect shoreline and clean water, which improves the quality of life, both on land and in the sea. In Who Needs a Swamp? A Wetland Ecosystem we meet the glorious creatures that inhabit wetlands and discover how swamps prevent flooding, protect soil and play an important part in the earth’s water cycle.
Patkau explains the importance of each ecosystem with clear and concise details, using computer-generated artwork to bring the flora and fauna of each system to life in this new series from Tundra Books. Each volume explains what makes a particular ecosystem unique, discusses the food chain and contains a four-page section with pictures and brief descriptions about the ecosystem’s inhabitants. A world map to show where each particular ecosystem can be found and a glossary of relevant terms is also included in each book. Written at a Grade 2 to 5 level, the books are 32 pages long and the text is limited to one quarter of the page, which is an attractive feature for reluctant readers. This series should prove to be a useful resource to introduce young students to the world’s ecosystems and their importance to our survival.
Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2012. Volume 35 No. 2.