Reviewed by Nancy McDonough
1st and 2nd Grade Teacher
In a place where the air gets too cold to carry a scent, fir trees send warnings to one another triggering protection against budworms, and billions of birds converge to raise their young. The boreal ecosystem, covering one-third of the Earth’s total forest area, is as big and important as the tropical rainforest. It's so big that when maximum growth occurs in spring and summer, worldwide levels of carbon dioxide fall and oxygen levels rise.
Text rich with information and poetic imagery combines with sumptuous illustrations to bring readers into the world of lynx and weasels, sphagnum moss and pitcher plants, and Tennessee warblers and whooping cranes. We visit lakes teeming with fish and bogs swarming with insects. We endure the winter with beavers living under the ice and voles scurrying through snow tunnels. We celebrate spring with a moose eating 50 pounds of plants a day to replace lost fat and a warbler arriving from Mexico.
Like the rest of the planet, this fragile, harsh environment is in danger as it suffers the disastrous effects of human activity. Loggers, miners, and peat harvesters are among the threats, and the book’s message is clear. We have precious little time left to preserve one of Earth’s last old-growth forests. This NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for 2010 will raise both knowledge and commitment to the protection of this ecosystem.
Review posted on 2/18/2010