Here in Maine, the birds play it safe — and so do the bugs. A short summer means a short life-cycle, so blend in and live! That’s why a cardinal or an oriole at the feeder is a show-stopper, and the annual flurry of monarch butterflies will stop my tomato picking and leave me standing slack-jawed in the garden every time. I’d never get a thing done if I lived with my friend Judy Bowen in Togo, West Africa.
Last Saturday, my ten-month-old grandson and I accepted Miss Judy’s invitation to “stand still and consider the wondrous works of God,” (Job 37:14). Unbelievable, right? Between diaper changes and shoveling gallons of carrots into Raymond’s mouth, we found time to visit some West African birds, bugs, and butterflies through Judy’s African Backyard Safari Series.
All grandmotherly gushing aside, I was delighted with Raymond’s response! The bright pictures captured and held his attention long enough for me to read the one-sentence-per-page narrative, but there’s more here between these paperback covers than awe over creation — although that’s there in abundance! Judy’s pictures and words (penned in collaboration with her sister, Debbie Chubbuck) are unique in their communication of an awe for the God who made it all, who designed and provided for our great salvation, and who continues to hold all things together.
As a homeschooling mum who, at one time, was teaching science to four different grade levels, I can see a multitude of uses for the four books that Judy has produced:
- Babies and toddlers will love naming colors and creatures and answering simple questions; e.g. “Which bird is bigger?” or “Where is the moth?”.
- Preschoolers will be able to identify characteristics, comparing and contrasting the creatures’ unique physical traits and habits such as what they eat and how and where they nest.
- For early elementary students, the sky’s the limit, depending on the child’s interests. As an avid photographer, Judy’s pictures have been featured in Astronomy magazine, and her photos demonstrate the patience and eye for detail of a seasoned photographer.
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