Friday, August 9, 2019

Reading the Rivers

During the hot days of August it sure would be nice to jump into a river - or at least get our feet wet. Here are two books looking at rivers and the animals that live in and around them.

theme: rivers, nature, wildlife rescue

About Habitats: Rivers and Streams
By Cathryn Sill; illus by John Sill
48 pages; ages 2-6
Peachtree publishers, 2019

Rivers and streams are places where fresh water flows across the land

From babbling brooks and mountain springs to the mighty Amazon river, this book offers a glimpse into river habitats. We see how rivers form, how they shape the land – and are shaped by it, and the diversity of wildlife and plants that live along and in these waterways. Author Cathryn Sills also emphasizes the importance of conservation, because people depend on healthy rivers too.

What I like about this book: Informative text is paired with engaging illustrations. While some are scenic, others are filled with details that will have kids spending time on the page. For example, one page introduces the concept that rivers provide food and shelter to animals – and the caption lists some animals for the reader to find in the illustration.

There is back matter! As with other books in the About Habitats series, this one has six pages of more detailed information about each river illustration. There is also a glossary and a list of books and websites for further discovery. And there is Front Matter: a labeled diagram showing parts of a river basin, with simple definitions.

River Rescue 
by Jennifer Keats Curtis; illus. by Tammy Yee
32 pages; ages 4-9
Arbordale Publishing, 2019

On shore, two big pelicans hop rather than fly. See how black their bellies are? They are covered with oil.

When there is an oil spill, workers rush to the scene to clean the water and shoreline. But who cleans the animals? This book shows how the Oiled Wildlife Response Team at Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research in Delaware responds to an oil spill. It also shows how oil spilled into water affects the birds, turtles, salamanders, fish, and other animals living in and near the water. We see the wildlife rescuers cleaning birds – flushing oil from their eyes and mouths, washing and rinsing oil off feathers. It can take two or three people about an hour or more to wash and rinse the wings and body. And then they need to dry them with heat lamps and blowers – another couple hours. Then the birds need to stay under their care until they have preened and water-proofed their feathers and that might take another week.

What I like about this book: I love the up-close-and-personal view into wildlife rescue. I didn’t know it took that long to wash and rinse off gloopy, sticky oil! I like the back matter: a section about preventing oil spills, a wildlife identification challenge, and an interview with the director of the rescue center.

Beyond the Books:

Visit a river or stream near you. Notice the kinds of plants growing near it. Can you identify any of them? Look for animals in the water and along the shore. Try to find some birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, insects, and mammals. Take photos or draw pictures to make a book about your river. More activities here.

Play “Jump the River” game. Here's how.

Today we're joining other book bloggers over at STEM Friday, where you can discover other cool STEM books.
Review ARC (About Habitat) and copy provided by the publishers.


  1. Love your review of these books Sue. I am going to have to go look for them. Thanks.

  2. I love the About Habitats series. I think I have read them all. River Rescue looks like an important book for kids to read. Thanks for the post.