The Picture Book Buzz

Just You and Me -Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Nature has always fascinated me. I find it so interesting all the different combinations of animals (and animals and plants) which have found ways to help each other. From protection to reproduction. This book explores eleven such relationships.

Just You and Me: Remarkable Relationships in the Wild


Author: Jennifer Ward


Illustrator: Alexander Vidal


Publisher: Beach Lane Books (2021)


Ages: 3-8


Nonfiction


Themes:

Symbiotic relationships, nature, animals, and conservation.


Synopsis:

Celebrate perfect partnerships in nature with this fascinating rhyming picture book exploring symbiosis with vibrant illustrations and fun facts that will delight young animal enthusiasts.


All over the world, unlikely pairs of plants and animals work together. Under the sea, the stinging anemone protects the boxer crab in exchange for food. In the desert, the woodpecker shelters inside a tall saguaro cactus and then distributes its seeds so more will grow. Near the water, the mighty hippopotamus stays pest-free because of the hungry egret that rides comfortably on its back. Even humans have to do our part—we depend on Earth for our survival, so we must do our best to protect our amazing planet.


Opening Lines:

Just you and me.

Just me and you.

We’re perfect pairs!

Here’s what we do. . .



Some animals and plants form lifelong partnerships

with other animals and plants, a relationship known

as symbiosis. Then they cooperate and help each

other in the most unlikely ways.


What I LIKED about this book:

Starting with the idea of helping each other, the rhyming verse and illustration focus on something familiar to a young reader - an adult and child planting a garden. Then for an older or inquisitive child, and/or the caregiver, the sidebar sets up the book's main theme of beneficial symbiotic relationships.

Text © Jennifer Ward, 2021. Image © Alexander Vidal, 2021.


This format of a rhyming couplet which introduces the featured relationship, such as a boxer crab and a stinging anemone, and a more in depth sidebar explaining the relationship continues throughout the book. Each boldly illustrated spread shows not only the symbiotic pair, but a bit of their habitat.

Text © Jennifer Ward, 2021. Image © Alexander Vidal, 2021.


It was fun to see some more unusual pairings, such as the Nile crocodile/Egyptian plover bird, acacia tree/ant, and pistol shrimp/goby fish, as well as the more typically known symbiotic examples of the crab/anemone, sloth/algae, and bees/flowers.

Text © Jennifer Ward, 2021. Image © Alexander Vidal, 2021.


After showing eleven pairs of animals (or plants and animals), the book returns to the adult and child and the sentiment that we must all protect "Earth...are our only home..." There is a short list of sources at the end. I think this will be a great book to spur further questions on these pairings and perhaps a desire to learn about other symbiotic relationships. It's a fun way to start a conversation on animal interactions and the need for all of us to practice conservation.


Resources:

- besides bees, do you know other animals that help plants pollinate? Make a list of all these animals. Do the plants help them as well?

- what are ways you can practice conservation? Do you conserve water? Turn off unnecessary lights? Recycle? Use reusable shopping bags? What other things could you do?

- can you list some other animal or animal/plant relationships - like the anemone and the clownfish? Look at How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships by Robin Page and Steve Jenkins or Odd Animal Helpers by Gabrielle Reyes for some more ideas.


If you missed it, be sure to check out Monday's interview with Jennifer Ward (here).


This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

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Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

Decorative scroll design

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