Fran Hodgkins' Who’s Been Here? A Tale in Tracks
illustrated by Karel Hayes
Children's book review by Sarah Denslow
Animal tracks in the snow
Just because it’s cold and snowy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the great outdoors. In fact, with the increased time you may be spending with your kids inside due to the weather, you may be dying to get outside.
Who’s Been Here: A Tale in Tracks encourages children to engage with nature, even when a lot of nature seems to have clocked out for the winter.
Willy, the adventurous and curious golden retriever, runs outside ahead of the children going out with him. They have to follow his tracks to find him. Along the way, they see the tracks of other winter animals.
The refrain, “Who’s been here? Willy has, but who else?” helps to keep children engaged in observing the tracks. Each creature's tracks are described as well as pictured prominently, and the answer animal is shown on the next page.
The illustrations are beautiful and detailed. The animals (as well as their tracks) are drawn very realistically. Even if I didn’t like the story, I would still recommend this book just for the beautiful pictures.
Although Who's Been Here?
clearly appreciates the beauty of nature, it presents both sides: the children clear out of the area when they spot a bear, and in the end they have to head home – Willy has gotten a little too adventurous near a skunk.
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