cover image The World That We Want

The World That We Want

Kim Michelle Toft. Charlesbridge Publishing, $6.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-58089-115-8

In intricately detailed, resplendent paintings rendered in ink and dyes on silk, Toft (One Less Fish ) depicts nine habitats and the wildlife and vegetation native to each. Sounding a subtly cautionary note, the simple, cumulative text reflects the interrelationship among the environments: ""This is the beach / that meets the mangrove/ that follows the river/ that weaves through the forest/ that filters the air/ that circles the world/ that we want."" After a separate visual introduces each locale, a stunning double-page foldout portrays the habitats together, effectively underscoring their interconnectedness as well as the urgency of the author's message, written as an endnote: ""If these habitats are destroyed then each of the species that lives there is put at risk. All living things need to be kept in balance if we are to keep the world that we want."" The final pages present smaller images of the habitats, below which Toft briefly describes the pollutants that threaten them and identifies the 45 species spotlighted, along with their behavior and feeding habits. Yet it is the book's luminous artwork, whose use of color creates a 3-D quality, that will most impress readers. Ages 4-9. (Aug.)