From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-Bursting with her signature bold color and textured pulp paintings, Fleming's latest tour de force affords an immersion into the backyard world below our feet. Economical and descriptive, the rhythmic text pairs with cross-section illustrations of the myriad creatures that burrow, dig, and tunnel their way underneath the earth's surface. Revealed amid the nests and tunnels, too, are other (and oft amusing) forms of subterranean deposits: seeds, root vegetables, old tools, keys, dog bones. Young readers will spot a connecting narrative arc in the artwork as a young boy helps plant and water a new cherry tree. An illustrated "Creature Identification" index is appended, offering concise information about the underground habits of the wildlife. A first-rate picture book on every level and made-to-order for group sharing, this title reveals the fascinating "squirm-ways and worm-ways" found in the natural world.-Kathleen Finn, St. Francis Xavier School, Winooski, VTα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
It’s not every illustrator who can depict bunnies, moles, and grubs with an almost equal charm, but so Fleming does in this winning, factual look at life down under, from its teeming burrows and furrows to its “squirm-ways and worm-ways.” Simple rhyming text invites readers into the often-ignored realm: “Low down. / Way down. / Under ground. / Creatures dig / and run around.” Full-spread illustrations in Fleming’s pulp-painting style bring the insects and animals of the subterranean world—and the occasional lost tool or toy—to the fore with cutaway views of the complex system of roots, nests, tunnels, and bustling action just below the earth’s surface, including not only the expected chipmunks, earthworms, and ant colonies but also lesser-known cicada nymphs and wolf spiders. Juxtaposing the doings below are aboveground activities centered around a boy and his dog playing, helping to plant a cherry tree, and harvesting vegetables on a sunny day. A “Creature Identification” page adds further value by detailing all of the subsurface critters in the illustrations. Preschool-Kindergarten. --Kristen McKulski
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