The narrator tells readers in a simple, expository present-tense what a riffle and a pool are and why the presence of “aquatic macroinvertebrates” shows that water is healthy. They find a dragonfly nymph, a water penny, a mayfly nymph, and a caddisfly larva as they pick up rocks and sift through leaf packs. Their process of careful inquiry is as informative as their findings in this instructive exploration of a natural habitat. The text is rendered in a large font, good for precocious readers, and the pictures combine painted line drawings of the children and the environment with clear, enlarged images of the invertebrates in question. The backmatter includes drawings of additional macroinvertebrates, a field-notebook page, a life cycle matching activity, and a link to online quizzes and games...A handy companion for outdoor exploration.
While not everyone has access to a creek they can conveniently explore, the book could still be used in a science unit to discuss what a hypothesis is and how they are created. Recommended - Eileen Wright, Reference Librarian, Montana State University, Billings Montana
Small streams are often overlooked and underappreciated, but they provide ample opportunities for curious kids to learn what it is like to be a scientist. In Creek Critters, a girl whose name we never learn invites her younger brother Lucas to explore a stream one might find in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The pair turn over rocks and scoop up rotting leaves in search of aquatic macroinvertebrates that ecologists use as indicators of a healthy ecosystem. Most of this short book focuses on insects, especially in larval forms, describing their sizes and shapes along with appealing, detailed illustrations and photographs.
Beautifully illustrated by the artwork of Phyllis Saroff, and deftly written by Jennifer Keats Curtis in collaboration with the Stroud Water Research Center, "Creek Critters" is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library Pets/Wildlife picture book collections.
My kids are no strangers to creeks. I've taken them there to play several times when they were young'uns. There's a lot of interesting critters and foliage to find in creeks. We always did it for fun, but there's a lot of learning facets to be found in creeks as well.
Jennifer Keat Curtis, partners with the Stroud Water Research Center to bring young learners the book, “Creek Critters.” This book, tells the tale of a brother and sister checking out the life in their creek. These two are trying to find out if the creek near their home is healthy. This can be done by seeing what types of lifeforms are found there. Love the illustrations by Phyllis Saroff. These along with full the book’s full color photographs, show readers some of the multitude of life that inhabits healthy creeks.
The text of the book appeals to the young reader with simple sentences and short paragraphs made more vivid through onomatopoeia, descriptive imagery, and detailed illustrations to enhance the narrative. For example, “Galumph! We step right into the water,” with an accompanying illustration of the girl in her blue boots and bucket taking a giant step into the creek, with its grasses, rocks, and water ripples flowing and dripping off her boots. Furthermore, scientific terms are introduced with simple definitions that expand interest and vocabulary, such as “Macro means big; in this case, big enough to see with our eyes. No microscope needed.” Perhaps most notably, the characters model a self-reliant and joyfully inquisitive spirit, while still realistically teasing as siblings do. My children could relate to the characters easily, and more importantly, wanted to join them! The only drawback that my daughter noted, was that she wished the pages were numbered; however, I can see how page numbers would detract from the illustrations.
Photographs of the critters can be found alongside some of the illustrations and in the Matching activity at the end of the book, to provide further detail. More educational activities included that reinforce the text are a scavenger hunt, field notebook, and critter sensitivity chart. Curtis’s book qualifies not only as fun at-home and bedtime reading for children, but also as a helpful tool for educators and conservation classrooms.
The illustrations are so vivid and realistic. The story itself is easy to follow and understand. It also connects to what students can also connect to as a real world situation. It is meaningful and can spark many conversations on all different levels!!