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Deep in the Desert Review by Brandi Tesreau

By Rhonda Lucas Donald
Sylvan Dell Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A-2
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464

Why read about the desert when you can sing about it? Deep in the Desert features songs and poems about the desert--all sung to familiar tunes like "I'm a Little Teapot," "The Itsy, Bitsy Spider," "Yankee Doodle," and more. Children will have so much fun learning about animals and plants that that make the desert their home.

My family and I live in the desert, and we know there's more to the desert than rocks and dirt! Sherry Neidigh does a superb job bringing desert animals and plants to life with detailed, colorful illustrations. In this beautiful 32-page paperback, bats pollinate green cactuses with large, white flowers; orange and white fennec foxes hunt at night; a pink and black Gila monster hisses near quail eggs; and javelinas eat hot pink cactus fruit--just to name a few topics.

Parents and teachers will love the educational extras provided at the end. Activities include "The Desert Habitat," "Desert Fun Facts," "Map of the Deserts of the World," and "Match the Desert Adaptations." The website provides a teacher's guide that includes sheet music to the songs, comprehension questions, and more. A Deep in the Desert quiz and related links can also be found on the website by clicking the cover of the book.

My first-grade daughter and I had fun singing and learning together about the desert. There were only a couple of tunes with which I wasn't familiar, but I just read those songs aloud. My daughter does have some trouble trying to sing the unfamiliar lyrics on her own, so I encourage her to read those lyrics instead.

For preschool and elementary children, this book would make a great addition to any desert study. Singing songs makes discovering the desert fun and interesting, and $8.95 is a fair price for getting more than just a picture book!

Product review by Brandi Tesreau, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2011