Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

West Coast Wild: A Nature Alphabet

Hodge, Deborah (Author)
Reczuch, Karen (Illustrator)
Groundwood Books 2015. 48 pages
First published: 2015
ISBN: 9781554984404 (hardcover)
9781554984411 (e-book)
Original language: English
Dewey: 577.5
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

The Pacific coast of Canada, the United States and Mexico is incredibly biodiverse, including old-growth forests, windy beaches and marine life galore. For each letter of the alphabet, this picture book introduces one species or aspect of the region, from A (“ancient forests”) to Z (“the intertidal zone”). Some of the animals presented are less familiar, such as the xiphister, a prickleback fish that resembles an eel and breathes air. Others, like whales, bears or sandpipers, are more commonly known. A few examples are also lyrical: “N is for newborn, a black-tailed deer seeing its first spring.”

One or two full-colour pages are allotted to each letter, and the representative images are scientifically rendered and thoughtfully detailed—three wolves pace along the shallows, for instance, one of them picking at some kelp. The colours of each illustration are deep and thematically harmonious—husky blues and greens surround a pod of grey whales, while a cougar paces in the muted purples of dawn. Those spreads on which two letters are developed feature an inset image providing a close-up of the animal in question or, as on the U-and-V page, a shot below and above the surface of the sea shows respectively urchins and Velella velella (tiny hydrozoan colonies), the two worlds linked by lazy seals.

The book also includes a section of factual geographical and ecological information about the region and suggestions for further reading.

  •  

    Examine the first two-page spread: how the picture is laid out, the colours and the depiction of the person. In your reader-writer’s notebook write a response to this image. How does it make you feel? What does it make you think about? Give evidence from the illustration to support your ideas.

  •  

    Do some research on one of the sites suggested in “For Further Exploration” on an aspect of West Coast life that interests you. Use a graphic organizer to display your learning.

  •  

    Create your own alphabet book in the same style and on an aspect of the environment that interests you.

  •  

    Start your own environmental or community project. Find a problem that needs addressing, large or small, and make a plan. Share your plan with others to get feedback on how to improve it, then get started.

  •  

    On a picture walk, discuss the many settings, animals and plants. As you go, add to an alphabox related to the West Coast and the Pacific Ocean.

  •  

    Compare this book with A, B, Sea: Deep Sea Symphony by Dianna Bonder. It explores the same region, but from a different angle. Discuss how the books are similar and different.

  •  

    Research your region. What is special about it? As a group, create a mind map of the natural environment that represents your region. Put your ideas in alphabetical order and find creative ways to complete expressions for every letter of the alphabet.

  •  

    Pick a letter of the alphabet, write a text about it and illustrate it in the same style. As all the letters are used, assemble the texts and illustrations to make a class alphabet book.

  • To solve problems
  • To use information
  • To use information and communications technologies
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Science and Technology