Nature’s Patchwork Quilt: Understanding Habitats
By Mary Miché
Illustrated by Consie Powell
Finalist for the 2013 Foreward Magazine Book of the Year
2013 Children’s Literary Classics Seal of Approval
In the book Nature’s Patchwork Quilt: Understanding Habitats, readers learn that nature, “…has many different habitats all pieced together to create our wonderful planet.” By extending the quilt analogy through the entire book, author Mary Miché and illustrator Consie Powell provide a solid introduction to the world’s habitats.
The focus of the book is on animals and plants and how they interact within a given landscape. Each habitat is represented by a different quilt design. The shifts in pattern and detail encourage readers to think about habitats on both a large and small scale. In addition to basic information about the habitats themselves, the book incorporates many broadly applicable words people use when talking about ecology and the natural world. On the pages for lakes and ponds, for example, readers learn about a food web, and can begin to appreciate its complexity.
Like a carefully crafted quilt, this book provides many visual details to explore, from tiny prairie flowers to unusual insects and sea creatures. Powell’s colorful illustrations are realistic enough to communicate the tremendous diversity of our world without being overly fussy. We see not just the expected snake in the desert, but also unusual flowers and a broad array of mammals. Third grade readers will appreciate the diversity shown here.
Humans are not included in the discussion until late in the book, and there are hints of our species’ sometimes-troubled relationship with the natural world. However, a terrific double-page spread explores the community of people who have helped preserve various habitats through writing, songs, science, and other work. The list goes beyond the most familiar names, such as Rachel Carson and Henry David Thoreau, to include people such as Margaret Murie, TierynyThys, and Roger Payne. By seeing this diverse list, hopefully the young reader will be inspired to find a way to help our planet, too.
Like most Dawn publications, the back matter provides many suggestions for further exploration, such as games, math concepts, and music, all activities that second-grade readers are likely to enjoy.