Swamp Chomp

illus. by Paul Meisel. 32p. ebook available. Holiday House. Apr. 2014. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780823424078.
PreS-Gr 2—The sounds of the swamp come alive in this look at the creatures that live and feed there. At first, "water ripples." Creatures are introduced with an active verb following: "Crayfish crawl. Carry," "Turtles bob. Dig." Clearly, the creatures are all deftly aware of their surroundings as the center spread reveals a sudden cacophony of sound and each creature begins to feed ("Dragonflies circle. Slurp." "Bullfrogs pounce. Gulp."). And then, once again, "Water ripples in the swamp." The illustrations reveal a multitude of flora and fauna in various mediums of pen, ink, acrylic, and pastels in tones of green, brown, and orange. Detailed images entice young readers to explore for hidden treasures within this ecosystem. Endnotes detail the composition of the swamp and its place in the balance of nature. A large-spread illustrates the framework of the food chain within the area. A satisfying introduction to ecosystems and food chains.—Carol Connor, Cincinnati Public Schools, OH
By brief, pointed text ("Dragonflies swoop. Dip") and colorful multimedia illustrations, the book first introduces seven swamp creatures. Its second half shows them sequentially feeding on each other, from mosquito to alligator, thus illustrating a food chain. Though arguably appropriate for the wetland setting, it isn't always visually clear what's underwater and what's above. An endnote on swamp ecology bolsters the information-skimpy narrative.

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