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Br-r-r-ing the Tundra to Life in Your Classroom!

Share "For weeks and weeks, the sun barely shines. An icy-cold winter wind wails and blows, arranging and rearranging the snow." That is January on the arctic tundra. Luckily, the visit you make will be a literary one!

Book Cover Image "Travel north to the roof of the world and discover the arctic tundra," Ginger Wadsworth exhorts readers in Tundra Discoveries a new book from Charlesbridge Publishing. With this book, you won't just visit -- you'll spend an entire year there!

Beginning in April, any April, "tens of thousands of caribou start to migrate north to the tundra." The following April, grizzly bears awaken and lumber out of their dens. Tundra Discoveries provides a month-by-month view of the tundra, its climate, and its residents.

Beautifully illustrated by John Carrozza, Tundra Discoveries clearly describes and illustrates the physical attributes and specific characteristics of the tundra's permanent -- and seasonal -- residents. The nearly poetic pictures are so vivid, it's hard to believe you aren't actually looking at the real thing.


There's more to Tundra Discoveries than its literary value. The book is also a terrific, well-organized teaching tool.

From April to April, each month of the year gets an entire two-page spread. The highly descriptive informational text on the left side of each spread discusses the tundra's landscape, climate, animals, and daily life. The book also includes a thermometer depicting the month's average temperature and a calendar-pie chart showing the typical amount of daylight for the month.

The right side of each spread contains a simple activity designed to focus students' attention on the information they've read. Questions include "What are the two arctic ground squirrels doing in their burrow?" and "Why are the musk oxen standing in a circle?" The questions are very simple compared to the reading level of the text; few students old enough to read this book without help will find them challenging. The information and illustrations are interesting and appealing enough for all elementary school students -- and many middle school students as well.

You might read the book aloud to younger students; they will enjoy counting the caribou or naming the animals of the tundra.

The last page of the book provides a glossary of such tundra-related terms as biome, lichen, tussocks, and permafrost.

From April to April, from cover to cover, Tundra Discoveries is a beautifully written and illustrated book -- a terrific addition to any classroom or school library.

Article by Linda Starr
Education World®
Copyright © 2000 Education World

If you are unable to locate a copy of this book in your local bookstore, ask your bookseller to order it for you or contact the publisher directly.
  • Tundra Discoveries, written by Ginger Wadsworth and illustrated by John Carrozza, is published by Charlesbridge Publishing, 85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472.