By Cynthia Kieber-King Illustrated by Christina Wald
Sylvan Dell Publishing, $16.95, 32 pages

Wouldn’t it be fun to be a nature spy? You could travel all over the world, discovering plant and animal species, learning about what they need to survive. Author Cynthia Kieber-King takes young readers on a search for plants, invertebrates, birds, and mammals. Visit 13 different North American habitats: backyard, beach, bog, cave, desert, forest, meadow, mountain, ocean, plains, pond, river, and cypress swamp. Told in a rhyming narrative, Habitat Spy invites boys and girls to explore the natural world around them. Discover the characteristics of each area. Kieber-King, with a degree in zoology and biological oceanography, combines a fun story with important educational and ecological lessons. Parents and teachers can utilize free online resources for the book. The use of creative adjectives to describe animal and plant behavior will strengthen any readers’ vocabulary. Christina Wald’s illustrations are spectacular. Kids will spend hours studying the brilliant drawings on each page, searching for and counting the flora and fauna. A “For Creative Minds” section features four pages of learning activities. A true or false game about adaptation teaches how living things behave in their environment. A diagram on food chains explains terms like predator and prey. Readers use what they’ve learned to take the information a step further.

Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin