Beastly Biomes by Carly Allen-Fletcher (Creston Books, 2019) is an informative picture book about biomes and the animals in the biomes nicely illustrated and labeled for an older elementary reader. With a focus on five main types of biomes (aquatic, forest, grassland, desert, and tundra), Beastly Biomes then moves into more specific groups, giving each sub-group a two-to-three sentence description with illustrations and descriptions of five to ten animals found in the biome. Colorful collage-like digital paintings give each biome a distinct look to draw in an eager reader.
The book contains many details about world biomes. Under the greater aquatic biome, the book focuses on the marine, freshwater, and wetlands biomes. Under forests are rainforests, deciduous forests, and taiga (or boreal) forests. The book discriminates between the alpine and arctic tundra and even discusses polar deserts (Antarctica) before illustrating cold deserts and hot deserts, followed by two types of grasslands (Savanna and prairie). Each of these subgroups has its own dedicated two-page spread.
The animals and the illustrations give a unique look to each biome discussed. Sweeping deep greens in a variety of shades color the rainforest, and autumnal oranges, reds, and yellow mingle amid muted green in the deciduous forest, for example. Blue and white strokes give a feeling of movement to the snow-covered taiga scenery, while some distinct strokes of orange and white fur on the Siberian tiger pop out in its midst.
With a limit to the number of animals pictured, I appreciate that the author-illustrator not only specifically named the animals she chose to illustrate, but also she included unique animals for each biome, such as jewel beetles in the deciduous forest and hoopoe birds in savannas. Further, the sentences describing each animal are specific in describing where that particular animal inhabits the named biome: “Ovenbirds build their nests in the Eastern United States” and “Bengal Slow Lorises clamber through the rainforests of India and China.” This is a fantastic way to emphasize that although biomes may be generally categories together, they still are incredibly varied throughout the world, and wildlife likewise develops and establishes itself in a specific habitat.
There is no general biome anywhere worldwide, and these “beastly” creatures in the biomes around the globe make each part of our earth unique.