Susen A. Herndon’s young character Janie returns in the picture book Janie’s World: Walk with Me Through Nature’s Door. In this outing, Janie teaches other children about dangers to animals and the environment.
The first half of the book details certain endangered animals, such as polar bears and elephants. Herndon aims for an interactive experience, so there are questions asking children to locate the Arctic on a globe, match a list of endangered animals with their pictures, and associate the names of countries in Africa with their locations on an unlabeled, blown-up map of the continent. She doesn’t, however, provide the answers, so readers will have to look elsewhere.
The second half of the book focuses on the environment and the impact of humans, explaining acid rain and the ozone layer.
Herndon writes in rhyming verse, and aside from a few forced lines, does it mostly well. There are occasional issues, such as consistency with pronouns, that can result in verses that don’t read as smoothly as they should: “When all the bad chemicals float in the air,/The rain comes and washes it down./Then they land on our trees and plants,/And they die and fall to the ground.”
The book ends by urging children to recycle, and finally, with a letter to the President of the United States that readers can sign and mail if they wish.
The book is informational, though not comprehensive; some items are not adequately explained, such as a passing reference to The Clean Water Act. Parents who feel comfortable filling in these gaps will find the book valuable as a conversation starter, while others could find its brief, sometimes-incomplete bursts of information frustrating.