cover image Cactus Hotel

Cactus Hotel

Brenda Z. Guiberson. Henry Holt & Company, $17.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-1333-7

The intriguing life cycle of the saguaro cactus and the complex web of life that characterizes the North American Sonoran desert is effectively explored in this involving picture book. Guiberson's text captures the reader with its steady pace and often delightful echoes of cumulative nursery tales. She weaves an amazingly large range of facts into this simple story of a fragile ecosystem, and helps children comprehend just how much plants and animals depend upon one another for their survival. Lloyd's ( The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything ) paintings evoke the desert landscape with their pastel-shaded palette, changing point of view and finely rendered scenes of native flora and fauna. Best used as a read-aloud, this is a fine prequel to Barbara Bash's more extensive and detailed Desert Giant . Ages 4-8. (May)