Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - One Night in the Everglades

Author: Laurel Larsen, PH.D.
Illustrator: Joyce Mihran Turley
Publisher:  Taylor Trade Publishing (May 16, 2012)
Source: Copy for Review
Read Aloud: 3rd to 5th
Independent Reading: 4th & 5th
Nonfiction *Environmental Science * Nature

Description from GoodReads:
Follow two scientists as they spend a night in the Everglades collecting water samples, photographing wildlife, and sloshing through marshes in an attempt to understand this mysterious ecosystem. Part of a long-term effort to return the Everglades to a natural state after a century of development, the scientists try to figure out what the river of grass was like prior to human settlement. Along the way, they deal with razor-sharp sawgrass and alligators and turtles and are even surprised by the sudden presence of what is known in the Everglades as a frog gigger one who hunts and collects frogs for food Published in cooperation with the Long Term Ecological Research Network, which is funded by the National Science Foundation.

My thoughts on this book:
One Night in the Everglades is a story about two scientists - one being the author - who spend the night conducting research and experiments in the Florida Everglades.  It is evident that Larsen cares deeply about the Everglades.  It is also evident from her writing that she is quite knowledgeable about this topic.  

The book is written almost as two books in one.  One part is a story of the two scientists, their work along with the history of the Everglades.  The second part consists of key vocabulary accompanied by definitions and also interesting facts.  I would almost recommend reading this book at least twice.  The first read could be the story about the scientists followed by a reading of all of the definitions and scientific facts.  

Turley's paintings accompany each page of text and could certainly be considered an important part of visual literacy and a story element of its own within this book.  Children could spend time just flipping through the illustrations for a third or fourth read through.  

Though this is a picture book, the text and amount of technical information included in the book really makes this a book for older children.  I sometimes wonder if books like this shouldn't be formatted differently.  I could see even Middle School students benefiting from the information but not willing to pick it up because it was a "picture book" (or teachers not encouraging it for older children because it is a picture book).

Look for One Night in the Everglades in your local library or consider purchasing it for your school library.  

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