Owning It: Stories about Teens with Disabilities (review)
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Reviewed by
Gallo, Donald R., ed. Owning It: Stories about Teens with Disabilities. Candlewick, 2008 [224p] ISBN 978-0-7636-3255-7$17.99 Reviewed from galleys Ad Gr. 7-10

"Trout are made of trees," this natural history text startlingly asserts up front, going on to support its contention by describing a riverine cycle. First, the fall leaves settle in the stream, feeding bacteria, algae, and small leaf shredding critters such as crane flies and shrimp; then small fish and other predators eat the leaf shredders, joined by the trout, which indiscriminately snack on leaf-shredders and their predators alike. The idea of the book is intriguing, and though it loses focus a little by talking about other benefits trees confer on the trout (by shading the stream and sheltering hatchlings), Sayre puts the concept forth with her usual deftly crafted language, simple despite its poetic touches. Mixed-media collages are at their best in depicting the underground world, wherein speckly, dappled textures contrast [End Page 260] with the sharp edge of layered outlines of the river's fishy and buggy inhabitants. Less successful are the above-water scenes, dominated by over-stylized humans with flatly cartoonish faces and figures. Despite the flaws, this would be an unusual and memorable approach to a discussion of the food web, and perceptive young listeners will be quick to offer up their own explanations of what various critters—including themselves—are made of.

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