Hidden Wildlife, geared towards the 6-10 year-old reader range, is an informative, beautifully illustrated book all about animal camouflage for readers of any age. There are several gatefolds in this book and the author/illustrator/naturalist Arnosky provides details and examples of several forms of camouflage. While reading aloud I found myself pausing to reflect on something I had not thought of before. While my little one is a little young for this book, he really loved all the animal illustrations and we spent time talking and “spying” all the animals “hiding” in the pictures. I also really like that this book features different/less common animals (in children’s books) and more specific names. Rather than rabbit, the snowshoe hare (that changes color with season), not just an owl but the barred owl and in a great touch-point and illustration, a drawing of the owl butterfly (illustrated ‘upside down’ to really highlight the owl-like characteristics).
My favorite section to read was the final portion on Artful Nature, drawing the contrast that sometime an animal’s coloration is more about standing out versus hiding, while still achieving a similar objective. I also loved the illustration and detail about deer fawns in the Mammal Camouflage portion. Arnosky simply and succinctly explains the spots on a fawn, their function and time frame by which the spots disappear. He mixes in some first person statements and observations (“I have often watched…”) with factual statements, in effect role modeling to the reader how to start being a naturalist. Arnosky has illustrated and written many books. You can view them on his eponymous website and also take a read through his memoir (Born in a Tree) if you are curious about his inspiration for pursing an author, illustrator, and naturalist career. I will be adding more of his illustrated books to our shelves.
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