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A Day in the Salt Marsh Review by Amy M. O’Quinn

A Day in the Salt Marsh
By Kevin Kurtz
Sylvan Dell Publishing
976 Houston Northcutt Blvd., Suite 3
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

In our homeschool, we enjoy using whole "living" books as much as possible, especially in the area of science. A Day in the Salt Marsh by Kevin Kurtz is a delightful picture book that certainly falls into that category!

This high-quality, softcover book (aimed at ages 4-8) gives the reader a peek into the ecology of a salt marsh, and it also introduces the various plants and animals that live in this particular habitat (hard cover also available). The focus of the book is showing children how a salt marsh can change hour by hour, depending on whether the tide is coming in or going out.

The rhyming verse format of the book is lively and fun, but the scientific information included is far from being fluff! On the contrary, even I learned about new things such as Spartina grass, which is covered by salt water every day but has special glands to "spit" the salt back out! And the full color illustrations by Consie Powell are outstanding. There are inset drawings within the larger drawings, providing the reader with greater detail to view, examine, and study. They give lots of scope for the imagination, yet they are very realistic as well.

There is an educational section at the end of the book called "For Creative Minds," which provides multiple choice questions to check the child's comprehension if the parent desires to use them. There is also a Tide Animals Activity and more information about what causes tides and why salt marshes are important as well as an extra page about Spartina grass and its adaptations. Of course, all these extras are optional, and the story itself is very enjoyable and can stand alone.
Overall, I highly recommend the book A Day in the Salt Marsh. We have personally had the opportunity to visit a salt marsh in the past, and this book certainly reinforces and expands upon what we learned there. But if you have never had the opportunity to visit one, Mr. Kurtz's book will allow you to "experience" a salt marsh from the comfort of your own home. And who knows? After reading this book, you may decide that a field trip to a salt marsh needs to be on your homeschool agenda!

Product review by Amy M. O'Quinn, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April 2008