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WILD AND SWAMPY by Jim Arnosky


by Jim Arnosky & illustrated by Jim Arnosky

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 2000
ISBN: 0-688-17119-2
Publisher: HarperCollins

“Every mammal sighting in a swamp is a surprise,” notes Arnosky as he takes the reader and viewer exploring. The well-known science author/illustrator once again proves himself a helpful wildlife guide. In similar adventures, with the help of his alter ego, Crinkleroot, Arnosky has introduced birds, mammals, trees, butterflies, snakes, and a host of other wildlife. Here, he combines pen-and-ink sketches from his travel journal, and more elaborate full-color acrylic paintings to show the reader and viewer the swamp as he sees it. The brief text boxes embedded in the paintings engage the reader and captures the moment, pointing out how a snake bird swims underwater to spear fish, or how the mangrove crab climbs high into the mangrove tree to escape predators. The paintings, often with unusual perspectives, invite the viewer to experience the swamp along with the artist. For example, one double-page layout presents on the center fold the smooth gray trunk of an enormous tree, rising from the mirrored surface of the swamp, from one side pokes the head of a white heron, the rest of the bird is hidden from view except for one stilt-like brown leg and a fringe of white tail feathers. Another painting has the viewer eyeball to eyeball with a huge gray-green alligator. His palette includes some paintings set in the murky twilight; others capture an unreal orchid-pink dusk, or an orange-gold sunset, with wildlife a near black shadow against the orange sky and water. A first look at an unusual habitat and some of its inhabitants. (Nonfiction. 6-10)