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4.7 out of 5 stars
Cactus Hotel (An Owlet Book)
Format: PaperbackChange
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
Cactus Hotel is better than a good book. It's a marvelous book. It tells, without sentimentalizing it, the story of the life and death of a saguaro cactus. Though it is the story of one plant in nature and how other animals and insects benefit from its gifts, it is a metaphor for living--for all of us. That does not mean the book is heavy or preachy. Far from it. The text is simple in the best sense of that word and lyrical. The illustrations make you feel as if you were in that desert world, living that life. Through its generous time on earth, the cactus is home to, and provides nourishment for, various desert animals--a Gila woodpecker, an elf owl, many others. It uses its span on earth to be exactly what it was meant to be. All of nature is revealed here in its wise splendor--heat, drought, rain, cold, wind, sun. I have read this book to my daughter countless times, and I will continue to read it to her. I think I love it as much--more--than she. The book is poetry. Pure poetry.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2005
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Excellent book for young and old alike. As an adult new to the desert, it gave me a good, quick understanding of the 'circle of life' of the Saguaro and the critters involved with it. It is nicely laid out, simple to read, and even speaks of spiders and other sometimes scary beings in a non-threatening manner. Really quite a good book. I even sent a copy to my good friend's 6 and 9 year olds and they, along with their folks, really enjoyed it. I highly recommend it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I love this book. My kids (ages 2 and 4) love this book. Its hard to believe a story with the main character being a cactus could be so beautiful and engaging. But it is. And, at the same time as enjoying the story it teaches the kids about saguaro cacti and desert life. When I first read it I almost cried when the giant 200 year old cactus falls to the ground in a storm.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book for children for learning about the interaction of plants and animals in the Southwestern desert environment. Many multi-disciplinary activities can be developed using this marvelous book!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 1997
Format: Paperback
This book brings to life the life cycle of the remarkable Saguaro cactus. With delightful easy-to-understand illustration, it is a "must read" for third graders studying the desert and related topics.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Cactus Hotel is better than a good book. It's a marvelous book. It tells, without sentimentalizing it, the story of the life and death of a saguaro cactus. Though it is the story of one plant in nature and how other animals and insects benefit from its gifts, it is a metaphor for living--for all of us. That does not mean the book is heavy or preachy. Far from it. The text is simple in the best sense of that word and lyrical. The illustrations make you feel as if you were in that desert world, living that life. Through its generous time on earth, the cactus is home to, and provides nourishment for, various desert animals--a Gila woodpecker, an elf owl, many others. It uses its span on earth to be exactly what it was meant to be. All of nature is revealed here in its wise splendor--heat, drought, rain, cold, wind, sun. I have read this book to my daughter countless times, and I will continue to read it to her. I think I love it as much--more--than she. The book is poetry. Pure poetry.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Even though it deals with intricate details of the life of a cactus, it has become my almost 3 year old's favorite book. The visual details are very engaging, and our little one loves to point out each of the animals, and "tap tap tap" along with the woodpecker. This book is delightful, and you will learn as much as your child will, as you read it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
Beautifully written. Beautifully illustrated. This is a wonderful story and the kids (ages 7 and 3) were enthralled. It is a science book that reads like the best kind of picture book. We learned so many things from this and had fun doing it. Very highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
A fascinating book about the Saguaro cactus that reads like poetry. Highly recommended. Warning: you will want to take a trip to Arizona.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
I picked this up at an Arizona Airport for my kids, and we've all been enchanted by it. The illustrations are gorgeous, the text simple and accessible. Cactus hotel is the story of a single saguarno cactus throughout its 200 year life-span, as it grows from a seed into a towering cactus that is home to dozens of animals, and then topples and dies, still providing shelter to small desert animals before it returns to dust. My children and I will never look at a cactus the same way again!

This is a perfect book to read during a study of deserts. In fact, I think the author and illustrator should team up and make a whole series of books about various ecosystems, just like this one, that focus on the life cycle of a marvelous plant that is specific to that ecosystem. What an educational bonanza that would be!

A++++. As a gift idea, a child might enjoy receiving a small cactus with this book.
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