________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 23. . . .February 18, 2011


Backyard Encyclopedia. (Crabtree Connections).

Rufus Bellamy.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2011.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $7.95 (pbk.), $18.36 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-9967-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-9945-0 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Garden ecology-Juvenile literature.
Garden animals-Juvenile literature.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Natalie Schembri.

**** /4



It is important to make backyards as wildlife-friendly as possible. There is a lot you can do—from putting up a birdhouse, to making sure there are plants that provide food for insects, birds, and other animals.


The nonfiction title, Backyard Encyclopedia, by Rufus Bellamy, provides an extremely effective and comprehensive text and image layout for children and educators from which they can retrieve information about various backyard and natural world terminologies. This children's text has attractively divided contents, such as "On the Lawn," "In the Vegetable Garden," and "By the Pond," to resourcefully organize the outdoor vocabulary words according to their respective backyard designation.

      Backyard Encyclopedia functions as a good resource for teachers and librarians to educate young children about the natural world. The "Spotlight" feature of the text appealingly highlights interesting facts about plants, insects, and animals in the natural world. Specifically, Backyard Encyclopedia uses the spotlight feature to emphasize facts about animal homes, snowdrop flowers, slugs, mayflies, and dragonflies. In addition to the encyclopedia aspect of the book, Backyard Encyclopedia provides readers with a broad glossary of useful terms that will assist children in learning about the bolded vocabulary presented throughout the text. To further clarify unknown subjects for children, this glossary includes vocabulary, such as amphibians, carbon dioxide, and deciduous. An index is also available to easily locate desired backyard subjects found in the text.

      An extremely valuable aspect of Backyard Encyclopedia, a feature also observed in other "Crabtree Connections Backyard" series texts, such as Backyard Heroes and Backyard Cookbook, is the "Further Information" page. "Further Information" outlines additional web sites and books about the backyard, animals, insects, plants, and the natural world for children, teachers, parents, and librarians to discover and supplement the foundational knowledge outlined in the illustrated text.

      Backyard Encyclopedia presents an extremely colourful, bold, and attractive page layout. The page presentation inspires an engaging learning experience. I would highly recommend Backyard Encyclopedia both for library and classroom use because of its attractive page layout and fun-filled educational content.

Highly Recommended.

Natalie Schembri, a Masters student living in London, ON, enjoys cultivating carrots, peas, and potatoes from her backyard garden.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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