What’s in Your Pocket?: Collecting Nature’s Treasures by Heather L. Montgomery, illustrated by Maribel Lechuga

            What’s in Your Pocket?: Collecting Nature’s Treasures by Heather L. Montgomery, illustrated by Maribel Lechuga, Charlesbridge, 2021. 9781623541224 

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: Hardcover

What did you like about the book? The wonder of pocketing something you find when you are young, a treasure, provides the focus of this book introducing nine scientists that did just that. George was curious about a strange seedpod he found as a boy.  This curiosity never left him; he grew up to be an expert on peanuts: George Washington Carver. Young Will, a tree climber, became the naturalist William Beebe who explored the depths of the ocean in a bathysphere, becoming the first person to see marine animals in their natural habitat.  Valerie Jane brought worms she dug up into the house, and placed them under her pillow when she went to sleep, thus learning to become the primatologist who studied chimpanzees, the famous Jane Goodall.  Six more incidences tell of children who became scientists of the natural world, naturalists, by being fascinated with the outdoor world they explored as children.  This is a very inspiring book.  Who knows if a child you encounter today might become a leader in studying the natural world?  Candid and colorful illustrations are created digitally, artfully depicting the child and the adult.

Backmatter provides a fuller picture of the life of each scientist along with Notes from both the Illustrator and the Author.  Recommended field guides and a bibliography round out an exceptional book that belongs in all collections.

Three are people of color and most are female.

Anything you did not like about the book? Not a thing.

To whom would you recommend this book? If you are a teacher, bring your classes outside to explore the natural world.  Let them respectfully choose treasures of their own and parents should do the same.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it?  508.092

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Contributor, Youth Services Book Review

Date of Review: December 22, 2021

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