Sunday, August 19, 2012

Book #232: Deep in the Swamp by Donna M. Bateman, Illustrated by Brian Lies

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Set to the familiar tune of “Over the Meadow” this non-fiction picture book introduces readers to the plants and animals of the Okefenokee Swamp. Count your way from one to ten through a stunning variety of birds, reptiles, and mammals that live in this cypress swamp, located in southern Georgia and northern Florida. An alphabetical glossary of facts is included at the back of the book.

The rhyming text of this book not only introduces readers to the swamp flora and fauna, it also uses some great vocabulary expanding words, such as “bask” and “trilled.” The painterly illustrations are accurate and detailed, but never stilted or stiff. There is wonderful movement and a sense of playfulness as the animals soar, jump, swim, and fly through the lush swamp landscape.

If you’re using this book for a storytime, read the back matter before reading the book out loud. This way you’ll be ready to explain new terms and answer questions. Although the text and illustrations show mothers and babies, the glossary of facts is quick to point out that some animals do not raise their young. Before you read the book, ask kids what kind of animals live in swamps and what they think a swamp is like (hot, cold, dry, wet, etc.). Check out the Scholastic Lesson Plan for good discussion questions.

Use this book as an introduction to a unit on Florida or Georgia. Pull out a map and point out the location of the Okefenokee Swamp. If you live near a swamp, follow up with a field trip to observe the flora and fauna.

Check out the Okefenokee Swamp Park website for more information about the plants and animals that live in the swamp.

If you don’t mind the kids getting messy, make a sensory swamp tub, as outlined on No Time for Flash Cards. Make sure the plastic toys you use are big enough that they won't be swallowed.


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