A blending of natural history and fiction is what you'll find when you open the pages of Anne Mazer's The Salamander Room. Beautifully illustrated by Steve Johnson this book draws the reader in from the first page.
It is the story of a young boy who wants to brings a small orange salamander home with him, to live in his room. This of course, is not the ideal habitat for a salamander, and so the boy is questioned by a voice, presumably of a parent, how he will care for the amphibian.
The questions asked seem to make the boy, and us, think about the world from the salamander's perspective. Where will he sleep, and play, and what will he eat? So bit by bit the boy starts to bring in, quite imaginatively, all the parts and pieces of the ecosystem that make up a salamander's forest home. The illustrations slowly turn the bedroom into a forest and by the end of the book, the boy and the salamander are sleeping together in a colorful nature scene.
This book doesn't contain facts or figures, but it quite effectively makes the reader think about all the intertwined parts of the natural world. We realize that you cannot take once piece of the puzzle out of it's environment without bringing a lot of other pieces with you. Through this boy's joyful willingness to turn his room into a forest we can see and feel our interconnectedness, which is, of course, my kind of story.