Sandra Morris is the award-winning author and illustrator of both picture books and children’s nonfiction. Sandra has introduced Kiwi kids to many of our native birds, reptiles, trees and insects through her engaging books. In her latest book, North and South, Sandra compares and contrasts the wildlife that lives in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
In North and South we learn about the differences in seasons between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and how the animals that live there deal with the changing seasons. Sandra highlights the effect of the rapid heating of our planet on the habitats of these creatures, as well as the effect that it has on migratory habits and the sex of hatching reptiles. Starting in January and going through until December, each double page spread presents an animal from the Northern Hemisphere and one from the Southern Hemisphere. As well as focusing on the month and the season, each spread also focuses on a different aspect about those animals. The spread for March focuses on Mothers and Babies and compares the polar bear (in the Northern spring) with the saltwater crocodile (in the Southern autumn). The warming seas and melting ice mean the polar bears need to swim and walk further for a meal. The hotter temperatures also affect the sex of the crocodile hatchlings, with warmer temperatures meaning the hatchlings will be male. There is a handy mini map with each animal so that you can see where they live, and Sandra also explains the threats to each animal. At the back of the book there is a concise glossary, an index and suggestions of where to find more information and how you can help the wildlife.
North and South is a perfect children’s nonfiction book, that is engaging, cleverly designed and gorgeously illustrated. This is the kind of book that can be read cover-to-cover or easily dipped into. There will animals that children know, but others that they will discover for the first time. They’ll also discover astounding facts about these animals that they’ll want to share with their friends and family. The layout is really kid-friendly because the illustrations are large, there’s just the right amount of text, and there’s a mini-map on every spread. It’s a great book to not only learn about animals and their differences, but also to highlight the differences in the seasons of Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
This book made me go ‘Wow!’ so many times! I found it fascinating how the sex of crocodile hatchlings can change with a difference in temperature. I had heard of the Lyrebird before but had no idea how cool this bird is. It can mimic other birds that it hears, as well as other sounds, including drills and chainsaws. I was so astounded by this that I spent quite a while watching YouTube videos of these birds. I laughed so hard listening to them!
Sandra Morris’ illustrations are stunning and the design of the book is superb. It’s a beautiful book to look through and read. One of my favourite aspects of the book is the maps. The end papers are a world map with animal icons, showing where they live, and the mini-map on each spread shows this too.
I love North and South! It is a book that should be on the shelf of all animal lovers and is an invaluable resource for schools. I know that this book will be pored over in my school library and I’ll be promoting it to all of my classes.
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