Posted in picture books

The Over and Under series continues with Over and Under the Canyon

Over and Under the Canyon, by Kate Messner/Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal, (Sept. 2021, Chronicle Books), $18.99, ISBN: 9781452169392

Ages 5-8

The fifth book in Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal’s series on the world’s habitats, Over and Under the Canyon explores life in a desert through the eyes of a family on a hike. Mom and child hike through the desert, glimpsing hawks circle, hear stones crunch underfoot, and see any animal life scrambling, seeking relief from the sweltering sun. They squeeze through tight spaces and observe animals hunting for food: a jackrabbit is lucky, a rattlesnake is not. The boy joyfully dances in flowerbeds and marvels at the world around him. Back at camp, the family eats together; as the sun goes down, they hear coyotes howl and glimpse – thanks to mom’s special flashlight – a scorpion making its way through the dark. The son is biracial; his mother is a woman of color, and his father appears white. A lovely, nonintrusive look at both diurnal and nocturnal animals and desert life, the artwork is rich with browns and oranges during the day, cool blues at night. Kate Messner tells a beautiful story, describing the desert evening as a “desert-night lullaby of moonlight and shadows, insect song and stars”. Together, she and Christopher Silas Neal make an outstanding team. Great for early STEM/STEAM collections.


I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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