A Woodland Counting Book
By Claudia McGehee
(University Of Iowa Press, Hardcover, 9780877459897, 32pp.)
Publication Date: November 2006
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Towering oak and hickory woodlands once fringed the tallgrass prairie of the Midwest. In a wondrous mixture of plant and animal life, big mammals like black bears and cougars thrived alongside gray foxes and ovenbirds. But as more people arrived, the woodlands, like the tallgrass prairie, were cleared with amazing speed. Now only small portions of this special habitat remain, and many of its animals and plants are endangered or extinct. Despite the great loss, many people are working to restore and enlarge what remains so that woodlands can continue to support a rich wildlife community. And so we can all enjoy a walk in the woods. A Woodland Counting Book helps children learn about the woodland family. From one splendid white oak to fifty busy carpenter ants, illustrator Claudia McGehee counts the wonders of the woodlands in this beautifully illustrated companion to her previous children’s book, A Tallgrass Prairie Alphabet. As she follows spring to summer to fall to winter, returning at the book’s end to springtime in one woodland community,” McGehee introduces more than twenty species of plants and animals. From the white oaks that tower overhead to shelter the woodland citizens to the delicate showy lady’s-slipper orchid and from the barred owls with distinctive hoots and calls to tiny evening bats which roost in hollow trees, we meet a wild world of woodland life. We find luna moths and serviceberries, shagbark hickories, blue spotted salamanders, wild turkeys, red squirrels, orchard orioles, and a host of other familiar and not-so-familiar plants and animals. A section of woodland notes gives common and scientific names of and interesting information about all featured species. These vibrantly colored scratchboard illustrations reveal the beauty of our woodland communities, guiding nature lovers and children of all ages through a much-loved landscape.
Claudia McGehee of Iowa City is the author of A Tallgrass Prairie Alphabet (Iowa 2004), which was named a Midwest Favorite by the Upper Midwest Booksellers Association. She has been a professional illustrator, working mainly in scratchboard, for many years.