Monday, October 20, 2008

Book Review: Deep in the Swamp by Donna Bateman, ill.

Book: Deep in the Swamp
Author: Donna Bateman
Illustrator: Brian Lies
Published: 2007

Deep in the Okeefenokee swamp, a variety of animals and their babies go about their day. From one otter to ten crayfish, count up as you take a journey through a truly unique environment.

Brian Lies’s lush, loving illustrations of animals and plants native to wetlands first caught my eye. The pictures make me want to step in and wander around this beautiful place. It’s not just cuddly or familiar animals, either. Crayfish, rat snakes, and alligators all take their place beside the otters, bunnies, and frogs. The carefully structured stanzas create a comforting predictability that could make this book a perennial favorite, and of course, you get to count the animals on each page.

The combination of the elaborate illustrations and some tongue-twisting word choices make this a difficult choice for a read-aloud to a group. Try it for a read-together instead, because both of you are going to want to spend some time with those pictures. For older nature lovers, Bateman includes an appendix of facts about the flora and fauna of the Okeefenokee swamp.

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