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Last night I read the book, “Who Needs a Prairie”, by Karen Patkau.  This is a children’s book which is meant to help teach children about the grassland ecosystem.  Living in the prairie lands the book was focused on, I really had high hopes for it.

prairie book

 

The pictures in the book are nicely done.  Unfortunately, that was the best part of the book.  As I was reading, I felt as though it had been written by someone with ADD.  When describing one scene, it read as though the author was making a list instead of describing a picture.  Jumping from one thing to another in her “list”, it reminded me of a conversation with someone who can’t stay focused on topic.

Books, such as this one, are great opportunities to bring a child to a place they may never have the opportunity to visit in person.  I feel that the author missed her opportunity to transport children to the prairie through her words.  At one point, I actually fell asleep reading the book.  If I cannot stay awake while reading the book, how can I expect my kids to be interested in it?

As a homeschooling Mom, I am always on the lookout for books that we can incorporate into the children’s resource collection.  I had truly hoped that this book would be one we could add.  There are several more books in this series that focus on the other ecosystems and habitats.  After reading this one, I am reluctant to try the others.

Another issue that I had with the book is that the author had used terms and names for wildlife that are not common here in the US.  It took looking into the book’s glossary to try and guess what she was talking about.  One such example is her constant referral to one species as a Pronghorn.  Now, I have lived in the prairie ecosystem area for over 20 years and have never heard the term pronghorn.  The glossary description gave me a clue when it mentioned the size of antlers the males and females have.  It was a search on the internet however that confirmed that pronghorn are antelope.  If a child were to be reading this, would they have known that she was talking about antelope?  I highly doubt it.  Yes, as homeschool parents, we often encourage our children to look things up.  I feel however that in books that are meant to inform, children shouldn’t always need to have a secondary resource to interpret the book that they are reading.

 

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