Deep in the Swamp

Donna M. Bateman, Author, Brian Lies, Illustrator , illus. by Brian Lies. Charlesbridge $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-57091-596-3

Newcomer Bateman puts a swampy spin on a familiar riff in her ode to the Okefenokee. "Deep in the swamp, in a hollow cypress knee,/ Lived a mother flame bird and her little chicks Three./ 'Sweet-sweet!' trilled the mother. 'Sweet-sweet,' trilled the Three./ So they trilled loud and long in their hollow cypress knee." The predictable rhythm and realistic spreads of swamp mamas and their babies (wearing just a hint of a smile) create a soothing tone. The adapted counting rhyme highlights the flora and fauna of the cypress swamp found in southern Georgia and northern Florida. Readers come eye to eye with alligators, nocturnal marsh rabbits and blue herons in flight. Damselflies emerge from their nut-brown cocoons in a bright, blue-hued scene that offers a skyward view of the cypress canopy. Lies's (Bats at the Beach ) use of reflected light creates a dramatic contrast with the shadowy swamp undergrowth. In one spread, dark clumps of cypress along a narrow waterway cast murky, olive-green reflections that play up a cloud-white sky and gold-flecked flame birds. The final third of the book contains brief descriptions and handsome spot illustrations of the animals and plants featured, illuminating terms such as neverwet plants and cypress knees ("All cypresses have... heavy roots that reach out to keep them standing firmly in the water. Knees often grow up from the roots and poke out of the water"). An attractive introduction to an exotic locale. Ages 3-6. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/15/2007
Release date: 02/01/2007
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FORMATS
Open Ebook - 978-1-282-16427-7
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-57091-597-0
Open Ebook - 978-1-60734-023-2
Open Ebook - 35 pages - 978-1-306-38832-0
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