West Coast Wild Babies
West Coast Wild Babies
Downy gray eaglets hatch high in a nest overlooking the ocean. The parents shred small pieces of fish for the babies to eat. Once their long flying feathers grow in, the young eagles will learn to soar and dive and hunt for their own food.
Black Oystercatcher Chicks
The parents dig out a nest, called a scrape, on a rocky shoreline and take turns sitting on their speckled eggs. When the fuzzy chicks hatch, they feed on mussels, limpets and other shellfish that their parents capture with their long red beaks.
This engaging companion book to the award-winning West Coast Wild is created by the same team of author Deborah Hodge and illustrator Karen Reczuch. Readers are introduced to the young (and the terms pups, fawn, cubs, chicks, fry, calf) of 14 creatures found on the Pacific west coast, everything from wolves and cougars to hummingbirds and treefrogs. Each animal merits a double spread showing parent and young, along with a concise factual paragraph about their particular birth habitat and early development. Stunning watercolor and color pencil illustrations bring the subjects into sharp focus in authentic settings. Fine detail and depth in each drawing invite the curious reader to engage in the animal family’s lifestyle. There’s special appeal, for instance, in the comforting image of a sea otter mom cuddling her “fluffy newborn” in a kelp bed. The illustrator has also included non-intrusive human observers—an adult and child on the first and last pages. Take note of the end papers too: a pair of speckled eggs (oystercatchers?) at the front have hatched at the back.
Hodge concludes West Coast Wild Babies with a brief analysis of the spectacular west coast environment shared by all the animals and a plea to support conservation efforts. A list of websites and books guide readers to explore additional information about the area and its wild inhabitants. Readers can look forward to a promised third book, West Coast Wild at Low Tide, scheduled for 2022. This series is a wonderful way to foster in young readers an appreciation of the awesome nature of the west coast.
Gillian Richardson is a freelance writer living in British Columbia.