Galápagos: Islands of Change

Peachtree. Mar. 2023. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781682634967.
Gr 4-6–Volcanoes erupting beneath the Pacific Ocean long ago gave rise to these lava-based islands. Poetry, short captions, and handsome illustrations introduce a bit of island history and some of the creatures. An introductory essay preceding the quick survey of species explains how plants and animals journeyed over and under ocean waters, over millions of years to become unique residents. The entry on zooplankton is followed by activities of the marine iguana, whale sharks, penguins, blue-footed booby, sea lion pups, sharks, and more during the dry season. As the season changes to warm and wet, painted locusts, lizards, finches, hawks, ghost crabs, giant tortoises, and more appear. Plants grow, but only the prickly pear cactus is shown—the emphasis throughout the book is the food chain, with many species eating others. The closing essay explains that now dying trade winds and human visitors are parts of climate change, disrupting the food chain of island inhabitants. A final note urges readers to be earth’s stewards and protectors: “Let’s choose a sustainable future, together.” This attractive picture book array of animals will appeal to younger children, but the quick skim and terse wording in text segments and the many adult items in the generous array of end materials are for older readers. The poetry notes in the back matter might find fun use in high school English classes.
VERDICT Likely to be most useful in the hands of creative teachers.

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