Author/Illustrator Karen Patkau
Tundra Books 2014
Prairies are wild and rugged grasslands, whose inhabitants depend on each other and their surroundings. Author and illustrator Karen Patkau takes us on an amazing journey through one of the earth’s most important ecosystems. Discover the plants and animals that thrive in its unique conditions – from pincushion cacti, prairie crocuses and sagebrush to burrowing owls, dung beetles and yellow-bellied racers – and how they interact with their grassland environment. Find out about the prairie’s vital role in food production for the world’s population.
AWARDS & HONOURS
• Silver Falchion Readers Choice Award Nominee 2015
• Green Book Festival 2015 Honor Book
• Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books Spring 2015 Selection
• Resource Links 2014 Year’s Best List
• “These titles recommended here look at … ecosystems … with a keen respect and awareness for the world we live in. … Much of the world’s food is grown on grassland, and the importance of protecting this ecosystem is highlighted in Karen Patkau’s Who Needs a Prairie? (Tundra, 2014; Gr 1-3). The book jacket is a call-to-action and inside, the message is relayed in flowing, lyrical text and artistically painted landscapes. Author/illustrator Patkau renders the temperate prairie seasons accurately, as well as emotionally, such as deer foraging in a blizzard, creatures fleeing a grass fire, and a meadowlark singing after a rain. … Other ecosystems in the series include: Who Needs a Desert?, Who Needs an Iceberg?, Who Needs a Jungle?, Who Needs a Reef?, and Who Needs a Swamp? — all great to read-aloud choices for content vocabulary and text-to-picture connections.” – School Library Journal’s Curriculum Connections
• “Who Needs a Prairie? is a wonderfully complete look at the large, western prairie that many children have never seen. … Karen Patkau’s book provides all of the information a teacher or parent needs to introduce this unique, often overlooked ecosystem. … children can also use this book as a helpful resource in researching the ecology of a prairie. The digital illustrations are particularly well done … Patkau handles the factual language beautifully – she understands her audience, and keeps the language straight forward, simple, yet interesting. … answers the question in the title most effectively in the end by looking at the larger world, and showing what might happen if vast food-growing grasslands disappear from the earth. Who Needs a Prairie? We all do.” – Green Teacher Magazine
• “Every continent, save Antarctica, has prairies providing great benefits. Prairies constitute a special ecosystem unlike any other. A variety of flora and fauna are native to grasslands and create a circle of life, both beautiful and interesting. Karen Patkau, author/illustrator of this book in a series of eco-system books, has put together a beautiful book that will be of great interest to youngsters of elementary school age. Each spread in the book has just enough text to not be daunting to youngsters. The text focuses on a particular group of plants and animals illustrated in glorious detail that, at first glance, might be mistaken for a photograph, but on close examination, is a painting. Kids will be fascinated by all the creatures that make their homes on and under the prairie, how the seasons affect the prairie wildlife, and even how fires can be beneficial.
This book is chock full of interesting facts children are curious about. The plants and animals are identified in the back of the book with thumbnails from the larger paintings rather than on the spreads … this is a terrific book.” – San Fransisco Book Review
• “… written for younger and older children alike, this book captures the attention of children and fires their imagination at the same time.
Different aspects of a grassland ecosystem are illustrated and explained, and every creature, plant or landscape feature shown in the pictures is mentioned in the accompanying text.
The overall message … is that of conservationism – it explains the ecosystem as it was, as well as what has become of it, and what endangers it. In this particular book, global warming, overpopulation and excessive farming are mentioned and duly criticized.
Our children have been picking up this book over and over again … before and after it was read to them. If you are looking for a science series to add to your home schooling curriculum, these books are a good choice.” – LibraryThing Early Reviewers
• “ … a great introduction to what an ecosystem is and its importance not only to the wildlife and creatures that call it home, but to all of mankind as well. … wonderful addition to a late elementary science or geography classroom.” – LibraryThing Early Reviewers
• “Nonfiction picture books are not nearly as common as they once were, but author and illustrator Karen Patkau proves the genre is not dead. Her beautiful illustrations and maps present information in an easy to understand format for young readers. … Each book includes simple text for beginning nonfiction readers supported by detailed illustrations of the plant and animal life in each ecosystem. … All of the books in this series contain valuable information supported with illustrations that help young readers understand the content. The message in each is clear. We need to care about these different ecosystems.” – Highly Recommended – Canadian Materials
• “… Patkau offers a series of vibrant scenes … striking illustrations. The text both interprets the visual content … and offers paragraphs of diverse facts.” – Booklist
• “Patkau explains the importance of each ecosystem with clear and concise details … Each volume explains what makes a particular ecosystem unique … Written at a Grade 2 to 5 level, the books are 32 pages long and the text is limited to one-quarter of the page, which is an attractive feature for reluctant readers. This series should prove to be a useful resource to introduce young students to the world’s ecosystems and their importance to our survival.” – CANADIAN CHILDREN’S BOOK NEWS “The Classroom Bookshelf”
• “… Karen Patkau … has created six Ecosystem Series books exploring the value of spaces that we North Americans once considered “wasted” — the prairies and swamps — and also looks at why humans, as much as animals, need reefs, icebergs, jungles and desert. The books are recommended for young people, ages seven to 10, but the wisdom behind the text is multi-generational.” – Prairie Messenger