A Sea of Grass: The Tall Grass Prairie

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9780027332452: A Sea of Grass: The Tall Grass Prairie

A fascinating look at the tallgrass prairie. Accessible, poetic text describes a year within the prairie borders, from the golden-brown days of autumn to the thunderstorms of spring. Compelling full-color photos complement the descriptions, adding their magic to this unusual look at a dynamic environment.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

In outstanding color photos accompanied by a spare descriptive text, a naturalist whose specialty is the prairie depicts a year in the tallgrass prairie that once extended west from Ohio. According to a note, an estimated 1% of its area survives, including preserves like Kansas's Konza Prairie Research Natural Area, where ``most of the photos in this book were taken.'' This fecund habitat supports a wealth of animal species and myriads of flowers; most of those depicted in the beautiful close-ups here are identified by common names. (Ironically, the different grasses are not named.) Though brief, the text provides a sampling of sound introductory information about species' interrelationships and the seasons' cycle. But the glory of this book is its photos, with their inspiring vision of the landscape's broad sweep and the entrancing, multitudinous living things that comprise it. Readers whose interest is kindled here can go on to Staub's America's Prairies (below) for the kind of detailed information that turns enthusiasts into informed advocates for such endangered habitats. List of prairie preserves and restorations. (Nonfiction. 5+) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 1-4-This attractive photo essay shows the flora, fauna, and seasonal changes at the Konza Prairie Research Natural Area near Manhattan, Kansas. Postcard-quality, full-color double-page spreads in luminous, lush shades delight the eye. There are also interesting smaller insets of fascinating animals and plants taller than a young person. The photos of the frost-covered bergamot flower and the frozen leaves of the prairie dock plant are reminiscent of Ansel Adams's work. The text reads like a poem or a drama, but the writing is not always consistent: on one page, the term nectar is explained, but "plant pollinators" is not. The lack of transition in the last three pages also mars the ending. Frank Staub's America's Prairies (Carolrhoda, 1993) is much more comprehensive and suitable for young researchers; this one doesn't rise above coffee-table book status.
Susannah Price, Boise Public Library, ID
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Dvorak, David
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