North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres by Sandra Morris
Hemispheres can be a very tricky, mind-blowing, phenomenon to our children. The concepts that parts of the world undergo opposite seasons at the same time of the year is a hard one for little ones to comprehend.
Fortunately, North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres, by New Zealand author and illustrator Sandra Morris, comes to the rescue.
Morris uses the two hemispheres to provide contrasts to the ways some of the world's animals adapt to changing seasons, while illustrating how warmer temperatures affect migratory habits of animals and insects.
She says that book has been a year in the making, during which the world has changed dramatically. As such, issues such as environmental and climatic changes, as well as the conservation status of each animal featured, is included in the book.
End pages featuring our planet, with pictorial emblems to map the animals, direction and the equator allows younger readers to instantly grasp the concept and 'read' the book themselves.
Morris breaks tricky concepts down into easily manageable and understood text. Colour-coded conservation statuses further simplify matters.
She uses different concepts to highlight how animals adapt - camouflage, parenthood, defence mechanisms - and compares and contrasts an animal from each hemisphere. It sounds a little complicated but, for example, a double spread about 'feisty fathers' looks at Alaska's caribou in summer and New Zealand's kiwi in winter. A monarch butterfly's migration in autumn in the northern hemisphere is compared with a bar-tailed godwit's return to New Zealand in spring.
Morris's illustrations are gorgeous, full of detail with a touch of whimsy. It is obvious she adores our natural world and readers can't help being swept up in her delight.
A helpful glossary at the back of the book provides definitions to some of those trickier words, while websites are provided for further research. Morris helpfully includes some ideas on ways children can help protect our planet too.
Children will be captivated by the book, as they explore the concept of hemispheres. North and South will excite and inspire children to further explore the wonders of animal behaviour and how they deal with seasonal changes, as well as inspire younger readers to take action.
Reviewed by: Rebekah Lyell
Walker Books, RRP $29.99