Author: David L. Harrison
Illustrator: Giles Laroche
Target Ages: 5 and up
Genre: Nonfiction Poetry
Some animals hide to hunt for food, and others hide to avoid becoming dinner. It’s easy to see why a disappearing act is important for many animals.
From the octopus to the polar bear, and from the praying mantis to the hawk, discover how and why many animals cleverly camouflage.
Sample Poems: Click on illustrations to make larger and to read the poems.
What initially drew me to this collection were the illustrations after I saw some samples in an online review. Fortunately, the vivid colors, varied textures, multi-dimensional artwork are even more stunning in person. Each two-page spread brilliantly illustrates the theme of the book from the flounder blending into the sand on the ocean floor to the copperhead snake hidden between layers of leaves to the American Alligator floating at the edge of the river waters. Adults and children will enjoy looking at the pictures over and over.
The nineteen poems in the collection blend science and art seamlessly. A wide variety of creatures from the octopus to the owl to the walking stick to the American bullfrog are highlighted. The rhythm, rhyme, and alliteration create a lovely read-aloud experience. Lines like “The octopus is slyly shy./It’s hard to spot it lurking by” and “Without a scent,/the slightest trace,/to give away/its hiding place” are smooth and pleasant to the ear.
I highly recommend Now You See Them, Now You Don’t: Poems About Creatures That Hide. The interconnectedness of illustrations and text as well as the perfect blend of science and art make it a memorable and beautiful collection.
Activities and Extension Ideas for Lesson Plans:
- Predicting: Show an illustration. Allow children to discuss their observations. Then, encourage them to predict which animal it will be about (if more than one on the page) and to guess how the animal uses camouflage.
- Science: Use poems as a springboard to teach about animals, their habitats, and habits (especially use of camouflage).
- Animal Classes: Introduce children to animal classes. Older ones can learn about the characteristics of each one and identify other animals in the same class. Use this book with a unit on mammals, reptiles, amphibians, sea life, insects, or birds.
- Animal Food Chains: Identify and draw the parts of one or more animal food chains represented.
- Classify: Classify animals based on their use of camouflage (to catch prey, to avoid prey, or both) or if they are hunters or prey.
- Language: The poems use ample rhyme and alliteration. They would be perfect for a lesson—formal or informal—on either topic.
- Context Clues: Write a poem on the board or on paper without the title. Read it together. Then, allow the students to use context clues to guess which animal the poem is describing. (If the name of the animal is in the poem, cover it or leave a blank.)
- Poetry Models: Use one or more poems as models to create original poems with students (or they can work independently). “Ghost Crab” is written using a list of words to describe what he “knows” like “scurry, hide, dig, hole.” In addition, “Copperhead” is a letter written in poetic form from the perspective of the snake. Write poems about what another animal “knows” or from different animal’s point of view in the form of a letter.