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I just read (for the millionth time! My ds LOVES it!) "On the Mountain" by Maurice Pledger and thought it was so fantastic I had to share it with you.

It is a story for toddlers/preschoolers and is so great in every way. At the basic story level, it is a touch-and-feel AND lift-the-flap story of a trail up the mountain side. They have fuzzy moose antlers and fluffy goat beards... But running through it is also a "Where's Waldo?" style preschool level hide-and-seek with a lynx and a chipmunk, making the book great to read to both levels, even together (ie. toddler and preschool siblings), as each has something to discover on each page. The story is in a lovely rhyme with really nice words. It is also made of sturdy cardboard for little hands to help turn pages.

But the thing that really sets it apart is that it is so amazingly biologically accurate. I'm an environmental bioloist and teacher and I was floored at how acurate the drawings are. You can identify the birds, plants and insects, they are so clear and specific! Almost textbook quality! And beautifully artistic. The trail goes up the mountain, and each scene is acurate about what you would find at each ecological strata going up the mountain. It starts out in a temperate woodland and ends in a frozen mountain top, reflecting where we live (the Rockies) and each scene change reflects the subtle differences of the altitude and temperature change and the accompanying biology. The words are simple (and fun even if you don't know any names of anything), but if you know what you are looking at, you can point out to baby raspberry plants, columbine, dragonflies, golden eagle feathers, etc. and give them all real names! It has endless possibilities for talking about "real animals and nature"!

If you are a nature buff, this book is GOLD!
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