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Big Belching Bog

2010
Author:

Phyllis Root
Illustrations by Betsy Bowen

Big Belching Bog

A quirky romp through the peat bogs of northern Minnesota, for young readers

In Big Belching Bog, Phyllis Root lets us in on the secrets of the mysterious bog, describing such special inhabitants as plants that eat insects, bog lemmings, and frogs that stay frozen through the winter and thaw out in the spring. This book will stir the imagination of young readers and teach them about the landscape and environment of these fascinating places.

Not a nature guide but a lovely appreciation.

Kirkus Reviews

Cold, wet, and acidic, bogs appear to be extremely hostile to life, yet numerous plants and animals have adapted in fascinating ways in order to survive there. In Big Belching Bog, Phyllis Root lets us in on the secrets of the mysterious bog, describing such special inhabitants as plants that eat insects, bog lemmings, and frogs that stay frozen through the winter and thaw out in the spring. But what’s that coming up from the bottom of the bog?

The biggest bog secret of all, we learn, is the remarkable process of methane gas belching out of the bog. The gas is created by decaying peat moss and forms a bulge in the surface of the moss six inches or taller before breaking through. Does this “belch” make a sound? No one knows, says Root, because no one has ever heard it. In fact, bogs are known as some of the quietest places on earth. Maybe you will be the first to hear the big bog belch!

Illustrated by renowned woodcut artist Betsy Bowen, Big Belching Bog also contains a section of bog facts, including more information about the plants and animals mentioned in the book as well as tips for visiting a bog. Big Belching Bog will stir the imagination of young readers and teach them about the landscape and environment of these mysterious and, ahem, gassy places.

Awards

Honorable mention in Children's Literature/Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards

Big Belching Bog

Phyllis Root is the author of more than thirty books for children, including If You Want to See a Caribou and Big Momma Makes the World (winner of the Boston Globe Horn Book Award).

Betsy Bowen is a Minnesota woodcut printmaker who illustrated Borealis, Great Wolf and the Good Woodsman, and Antler, Bear, Canoe: A Northwoods Alphabet Year, which she also wrote.

Big Belching Bog

Not a nature guide but a lovely appreciation.

Kirkus Reviews

A beautiful thing. Big Belching Bog is a science book, really, but a science book wrapped in Root’s poetic words and Bowen’s unmistakable illustrations.

Star Tribune

Phyllis Root does a bang-up job of conveying pond-loads of information in short stanzas, walking readers comfortably through the flora, fauna, and science of bogs. The illustrations by Betsy Bowen reflect the tone and mystique of these oft-overlooked portions of our north woods. More detailed descriptions of plants, animals and bugs make this a wonderful teaching tool plus give older readers even more to sink their teeth into. . . . A great book to have on a north woods shelf.

Lake Superior Magazine

An evocative introduction to a fascinatingly weird and little-considered ecosystem.

Bulletin for the Center for Children’s Books

[Root’s] spare and beautiful writing pulls us into this spare and beautiful place we didn’t even know existed. Or if we did, we didn’t know we’d care. . . . Betsy Bowen’s woodcut illustrations are a perfect match for the text. This book reminds us of a magical place we can visit when the weather turns warm again and will be a favorite for the days when we’d like to hike in the quiet bog but can’t get out the door.

Cedar Rapids Gazette

Couching the adaptations of plants, insects, and animals that live in the Big Bog in Minnesota as secrets of survival, this oversize picture book becomes a real page-turner. . . . The stunning full-color woodblocks, many full spread, are beautiful enough to frame.

School Library Journal

A creative marriage of two Minnesota legends—children’s writer Phyllis Root and Grand Marais printmaker Betsy Bowen—has produced this big outdoorsy picture book about bog life. . . . Root’s words impart information in a delightful way; Bowen’s cheerful illustrations are full of color and movement.

Star Tribune

Big Belching Bog will stir the imagination of young readers and teach them about a landscape and environment that is common here in the North Country, yet mysterious to many.

Ely Timberjay

A fascinating foray into a seldom explored environment.

Minneapolis Observer Quarterly

Big Belching Bog by Phyllis Root is a wonderful look at a real-life bog. She has written this tale not only to be educational, but to be fun and mysterious (find out why it belches). The illustrations by Betsy Bowen are bold and bright and will have your little reader riveted to the pages as the story unfolds.

Imagination Cafe

Big Belching Bog is a new children’s book that has plenty of little known facts about bogs. The book is gorgeously illustrated.

The Ely Summer Times