Julia Rothman is an illustrator, author, and pattern designer. She has written three books themed on “anatomy:” Farm Anatomy, Food Anatomy, and Nature Anatomy. I haven’t looked into the others, but “Nature Anatomy: Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World” immediately stuck out to me as something I’d be interested in.
Julia dedicated the book to her sister, who reminds her that
“there’s a whole world outside the city.”
There IS a whole world outside our cities and suburbs. Here in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, the cement stretches on for miles. It is hard to get away from it all, and often I feel suffocated by it. Lately I have been deeply saddened that my children do not spend enough time in the great outdoors, and I have been burdened to find ways to do so, even with my busy schedule as a mom who works outside the home full time, and Texas’ unpredictable and often unpleasant weather.
If you live in a suburb or a city, I beg of you, take your children OUT of it as much as you can. They need to run and play and explore, and not at a playground that is maintained by your city or a park that was engineered by neighborhood planners. Children need to be wild and free. They need adventure. They need more than a daily walk around Target or a highly supervised playdate at the playground. And let’s face it, PARENTS need time to be wild and free, too! Tap in to the nostalgia that you likely remember from your days having adventures in the outdoors—catching bugs, observing an old birds nest, or watching a caterpillar inch its way down a grassy stalk.
Let Nature Anatomy spark your own curiosity at the natural world, as well as your children’s.
I love the “nature journal” feel that the book has—with lovely illustrations of various parts of the natural world, along with explanations. The book reads like a nature encyclopedia, with elementary scientific information. Julia’s own handwriting and drawings give the book an incredibly personal feel to it. It is apparent that this book was truly a labor of love for the Julia, and even though the information inside is all factual and fairly formal, her enthusiasm for the subjects is obvious and contagious.
Nature Anatomy has a natural progression, laid out in seven chapters.
Common Ground : rocks, landforms and landscapes, layers of the Earth.
What’s Up? : atmosphere, weather, moon phases and constellations.
Come Close : “zooming in” concept featuring flowers, insects, spiders and webs, and grasses.
Take a Hike : trees “dissection” looking into the trunk, bark, leaves, flowers/cones/seeds/fruits, mosses, mushrooms, ferns.
Creature Feature : animals including aquatic mammals, underground mammals, snakes and lizards, large mammals, bats.
A Little Bird Told Me : looking closely at types of birds, feathers, eggs, nests, beaks, and bird behavior.
Head Above Water : water bodies, pond ecosystems, fish, water bugs, frogs and toads, shells, seaweed, jellyfish, and life cycles.
Truthfully, I barely scratched the surface with these lists. Nature Anatomy is PACKED—over 200 pages of pictures and information about North American nature that is easily digested for little learners. I also love to learn, and discover something new every time I open the book.
With my four-year-old, we read little portions at a time, anything that piques her interest. We might read the book as a follow up to a nature-related activity like a visit to the Texas Discovery Gardens, or to the Environmental Sciences Building at the University where I work. It is also a great book to take on a nature walk or hike and read in the woods or in a meadow, seeing what things you might be able to spot in the world around you. But Nature Anatomy is definitely a book that could grow with a child, something they could read on their own or use for school projects. I can imagine it being an excellent addition to a children’s library for both homeschooled and public-schooled families.
Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World is a wonderful tool for education and fun, for both adults and children alike.