February 15, 2016 Booklist 69 www.booklistonline.com
formative tidbits about the owl’s wide-ranging
binocular vision, its flexible talons, and its
14-boned neck. Complete with a glossary of
terms, index, and suggested-reading list, this
book—true to its swooping subject matter—
is swift, exacting, and sure to hook any reader.
Prairie Dog Song.
By Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore.
Illus. by Susan L. Roth.
Apr. 2016. 40p. Lee & Low, $18.95 (9781620142455).
599.36. Gr. 2–5.
The team behind Parrots over Puerto Rico
(2013) has returned with a conservation
tale about the prairie dogs of North America. Two narratives tell the story. One, a
song to the tune of “And the Green Grass
Grows All Around,” sets the scene: prairie
dogs, burrowing owls, black-footed ferrets,
bison, and nineteenth-century farmers. It
also emphasizes the cumulative dependency
of each piece of the ecosystem. The second
describes the history of the North American grasslands: the balance of the wildlife,
eventual decimation due to aggressive farming practices and culling of prairie dogs, and
the steps that were taken since the 1990s
to rebuild the ecosystem in Janos, Mexico.
The mixed-media collages are in a palette
of grassland browns and sunset oranges,
expansively spread across the pages. The supplemental materials, which include music for
the song, prairie dog facts, a time line, and
an extensive list of sources, are illustrated
with color photos. A combination of simple
verse and detailed context makes this well
suited for children of various reading levels.
You’re Pulling My Leg! 400 Human-Body
Sayings from Head to Toe.
By Pat Street and Eric Brace. Illus. by
Mar. 2016. 48p. Holiday, $18.95 (9780823421350);
e-book, $18.95 (9780823436286). 428.1. Gr. 2–4.
From over your head to soles of your feet,
English idiomatic expressions relating to
body parts color our descriptive language
about emotions, situations, and relationships to ourselves, each other, and the world.
Street and Brace offer an entertaining tour,
anatomical region by anatomical region,
with page spreads filled with colorful spot il-
lustrations featuring cartoon creatures acting
out idioms. A few miss the mark, but that
just makes the discussion possibilities broad-
er. Browsers drawn in by the tumbling bugs,
monsters, animals, and anthropomorphic
hearts and livers will stay for the linguis-
tic exploration, and young word-lovers can
giggle over seeing some common expres-
sions depicted in concrete terms, such as a
thumb flipping pages (thumb through a book)
or a boy with dollar bills emerging from his
nostrils (paid through the nose). The index
is arranged by body part, which makes this
worthy of a place in the nonfiction section of
elementary-school libraries and classrooms,
though casual reading from head to toe is
likely, too. —Francisca Goldsmith
At the Marsh in the Meadow.
By Jeanie Mebane. Illus. by Gerald
Feb. 2016. 32p. Sleeping Bear, $17.99 (9781585369584).
577. K–Gr. 3.
A freshwater marsh is much more than just
standing water. From the mucky mud and
the reeds growing in it to mayflies nibbling
algae and the eagle swooping down to catch
a fish, the marsh teems with life. Using the
cumulative style and cadence of “This Is the
House That Jack Built,” Mebane has created
a fascinating look at the food chain in the
marsh. The text is made up of short lines
with the last word in each printed in colorful
ink for emphasis. Guerlais’ vibrantly colored
illustrations are eye-catching but sometimes
lose an accurate sense of scale when featured
creatures are enlarged to show detail. The information in the book is light but conveys
a good sense of the relationships among the
marsh’s living things. A glossary and appended notes about this ecosystem and its food
chain extend concepts from the main text,
though no references are provided. Pair with
Gail Gibbons’ Marshes and Swamps (1998)
for a more informational look at marsh life.
—J. B. Petty
Crossing Niagara: The Death-Defying
Tightrope Adventures of the Great
By Matt Tavares. Illus. by the author.
Apr. 2016. 36p. Candlewick, $17.99 (9780763668235).
920. K–Gr. 3.
This picture book details the accomplishments of Jean François Gravelet, also known
as the Great Blondin, a renowned rope walker
who crossed Niagara Falls by tightrope several times during the summers of 1859 and
1860. Despite predictions of certain death,
Blondin was determined to do something
previously thought impossible. His thrilling
performances attracted huge crowds, and
Blondin steadily incorporated more challenging aspects. After two years, Blondin decided
he had proven his point and moved on. His
career continued for another two decades, but
he never returned to Niagara. The extra-large
format and several full-page illustrations help
young readers grasp the enormity of the Falls,
especially when Blondin appears as a tiny
figure over the great expanse. Dramatically
illustrated scenes also allow readers to understand the difficulty of the task, including the
careful preparations, en route maneuvers, and
evident relief upon returning to solid ground.
This would be an inspirational read-aloud for
a unit on dreamers and adventurers—those
daunting individuals who somehow make the
impossible possible. —Kathleen McBroom
★ “A thorough and
engaging study of two
female scientists worth
their weight in radium.”
—Booklist, starred review
How Irène Curie & Lise Meitner
Revolutionized Science and
Changed the World
“Luminous and fascinating.
A lovely companion to Steve
—School Library Journal
ALSO BY WINIFRED CONKLING
ALGONQUIN YOUNG READERS
978-1-61620-196-8 HC • 978-1-61620-550-8 PB
PASSENGER ON THE PEARL
The True Story of Emily Edmonson’s
Flight from Slavery
Continued from p. 67