The spare beauty of the woodblock and watercolor illustrations work well with the text. Each suggestion of what you might like to grow in your own pocket of prairie is accompanied by an image of the plant and the animal(s) that it might attract. Everything from grasshoppers and butterflies to Great Plains toads and chickadees are depicted - eating, drinking, zipping about, or guarding eggs in a nest. The explanation of why prairie ecosystems have become so rare includes a map showing how far they once stretched, back when herds of bison roamed the area. Each type of life (plants, insects, birds, etc.) is grouped together in the back of the book with the common name, scientific name, and a brief description of each plant or animal that is mentioned. There are also definitions of the terms "endangered", "threatened", and "of special concern."
This would be a great book for studying ecosystems and discussing how everything within the system is interrelated. The back matter helps with the academic vocabulary associated with this area of science and provides additional details not included in the main text. A class could imitate this approach and create books for other ecosystems as part of a thematic study.
I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley. The book will be published April 15, 2014.