In this nonfiction picture book, a stream narrates its own natural history as it flows from its headwaters in the mountains to its mouth in the lowlands, introducing the plants and animals that line its banks and live in its waters.
Follow a headwater stream from its start as a spring in the forest on its journey to becoming a river, nourishing life all along its length. The main text, written in the first person from the point of view of the stream itself, sticks to the top or left of each spread, introducing major ideas: how insect larvae and nymphs recycle leaves; kingfishers; beaver dams, etc. Further information on, for instance, aquatic insect metamorphosis or otters’ transparent eyelids, is found underneath headings in a slightly smaller font. As the water flows downstream, children read about riffles, how aquatic insects must anchor themselves or be washed down to be a trout’s meal, the importance of trees along the stream’s banks, and the animals that find food or shelter near the water. Most but not all animal species are labeled in the illustrations, which are mostly realistic looking and come to life with masterful use of shading and sunbeams. The text alternates between rhyming and not, which can be distracting. Endpages are two halves of a map showing the course of the stream and the many sights pointed out in the text.
Young naturalists will be heading to the nearest stream to explore.