Life in the Boreal Forest


Life in the Boreal Forest

Brenda Z. Guiberson

Illustrations by Gennady Spirin
Henry Holt and Co., 2009
ISBN #978-0-8050-7718-6

K-5th grades


“Tika tika tika swee swee! A Tennessee warbler sings in a forest so huge that it covers one third of the earth’s total forest area. It grows across Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia, and Russia. A swath of trees this big has many names, like taiga and boreal forest. Boreal means northern, from  Boreas, the Greek god of the north wind.”

This gorgeous book describes the variety of life in the boreal forest in its natural context of habitat and the food web. Including even a bit on the relationship of the predators and prey, the text portrays the life cycles and habits of the life within the forest and the effects the environment cause to its inhabitants. The text explains the reasons for the dwindling amount of boreal forest, a primary premise of the book, but does so in a slightly heavy-handed manner. The information is detailed and ecologically oriented, and includes the food web relationships of the organisms along with their adaptations for survival in the rugged climate.

The illustrations are beautifully rendered in lifelike paintings positioned across three-fourth of the spread with the text in the remaining space, positioned on one side or the other of each spread. The starving animals make an interesting, if pitiful, addition to the realities of life in the boreal forest and its harsh conditions and illustrator Spirin has done an excellent job with them. The animals in action are fascinating and I personally love the snow covered, frozen pond with the beaver lodge and a passing dogsled team.

Activity 1

List the adaptations that enable the inhabitants of the boreal forest to survive the harsh conditions.

Activity 2

Create a food chain using some of the organisms from the book.

Activity 3

Look up information about tropical rain forests. Compare and contrast the differences in the rain forest and the boreal forest. Look for adaptations the organisms in the rain forest have that help suit them for that biome.

Rain forest biome information.

More details about rain forests.

This site has information and facts about the loss of rain forest habitats

Read more information here.

This site has good general information.

 This site has good information and games; however, some links wre not not working. If you have patience, there were a couple of them, including one about The Lorax, that looked fun.

Anastasia has a 6 Trait writing activity for this book at Picture Book of the Day.

National Science Standard: organisms and environments

Book supplied by publisher to Librarian’s Choices review committee

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2 Responses to Life in the Boreal Forest

  1. Terry says:

    The publisher has an online teacher’s guide for this title at:

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