Written and Photographed by: Doris Dumrauf
Publisher: Raccoon Creek Press
Publication Date: August 2016
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Beautiful birds, intriguing insects, and all sorts of interesting plants - all enjoying your backyard habitat. Wouldn't that be wonderful? In author Doris Dumrauf's new book, Create Your Own Backyard Wildlife Habitat, she introduces young readers to many amazing creatures and gives ideas on how to create the perfect environment to attract them to your home.
Create Your Own Backyard Wildlife Habitat opens with a page describing some basic things that wildlife and plants need to survive. Nectar for insects, water for birds, and what is hiding just below the water's surface? Accompanying the text is a vibrant photograph of a backyard habitat with a small pond complete with water lilies.
The bulk of this lovely book is devoted to showcasing various birds and insects that might be found in a backyard setting. First up is a very happy looking cedar waxwing with a bright red berry in his mouth. We learn that the bird makes a "zit-zit" whistle to announce his arrival. Compare to the Eastern bluebird - on the opposing page - who works hard all day catching crickets and other insects for his chicks.
There is a great selection of different birds and insects, including moths, caterpillars and butterflies within the pages of this book. On one page we meet both the hummingbird clearwing moth and his once caterpillar self, with a close-up picture of both and text describing how it drinks nectar and what type of flowers both forms enjoy.
Want to know what a chipmunk or squirrel need to survive? How about an American hover fly? These animals and numerous others grace the pages of this book. Each page features one creature, with one or two photographs, along with text briefly pointing out an interesting fact or two about that creature. Within the text are snippets the author has cleverly inserted that will help readers understand and prepare a habitat that will encourage that featured bird, moth, squirrel, etc., to come visit. Additionally, there is a two-page spread at the back of the book with "things to remember when you start your own habitat."
No review of this book would be complete without mention of the great photographs. Yes, I mentioned them above, but really, they deserve more as they are really fantastic. Close up views of so many creatures, down to the drops of water flying around a robin as she enjoys a bath and the "eyes" on the back of a spicebush swallowtail caterpillar. They really add a lot to this book and will undoubtedly entice many youngsters to explore its contents.
Quill says: A wonderful, instructional and enjoyable book for young readers.