Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I am a huge fan of Nic Bishop. His work is stunning. Nic Bishop's work is engaging and accessible to children. I was thrilled to see this new book FOREST EXPLORER: A LIFE SIZE FIELD GUIDE on the shelves at Cover to Cover.

This book is a bit different from Bishop's other books. Same size but a different look and a different format. This is truly a field guide for children.

The first pages are a great Table of Contents with photos to support young readers. Following the Table of Contents, there is a page called, "How To Use This Book". Every other 2-page spread is a giant photo (life size) of a part of the forest. Readers are encouraged to study it and notice things before turning the page. Upon turning the page, Nic Bishop has written 2 pages of "field notes" sharing information about the previous scene. Brilliant, don't you think? The field notes include some photos, bold words, labels and information about so many things in each photo. It is amazing how much information each photo holds for explorers. The photos show parts of the forest such as "In the Treetops" as well as times in the forest such as "After Dark" and "The Fall". Such a variety of things to learn about.

At the end of the book, several pages are dedicated to a section called, "Be a Forest Explorer" which gives hints and projects for readers who want to explore the woods. Nic Bishop shares info about keeping a forest journal, safety tips, and things to expect at different times of the year.

The picture index at the end of the book also serves as an invitation to readers to find various animals in photos throughout the book. This will give kids a chance to revisit the book over and over.

I worry that so many of the nonfiction books we share with children are similar in form and purpose. So many of the field guides I have seen are not really accessible to kids. This one is definitely accessible and engaging. A great addition to our nonfiction library!


  1. I love this one and have been using it for a while in PLT workshops. (I think it was published in 2004 or 2005.) He has another book similar to this called BACKYARD EXPLORER. It's also terrific.

  2. Having just published a kids' nonfiction, I have been discussing with another author alternative formats for NF books. When I read your post about your concerns that so many are so similarly formatted, I was intrigued. I'd love to hear your ideas about what kinds of NF formats would work well for your kids!

  3. This looks like something my 6 year old would love! Thanks for sharing! :)

  4. Let's just hope that Nic creates a dessert book...and then a swamp book...He is such a talent; my kids love his Explorer books too!


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