Kim Toft is a full-time silk artist. One Less Fish, her first book, is a reflection of her love for the tropical paradise of far north Queensland and her desire to help the next generation understand the importance of its preservation.
The World That We Want is a beautifully illustrated and conceptualised picture book focusing on the natural world and wildlife of North Queensland. The illustrations throughout the book are exquisite and hand-painted on silk creating depth and detail that beckons the reader further into the story. Kim Michelle Toft conveys the complex inter-relationship between the environment and the creatures that dwell there, continually prompting the reader to focus upon ‘the world that we want’ and illuminating how intense and intricate a place our world really is. The vibrancy of the illustrations and the interactive style of the text create a message of hope that is reinforced by simple rhythmic language making the book suitable for very young children and adults alike. Toft provides information about the natural environment in this book that has obviously been designed to inspire a passion and respect for nature in its young audience. The World That We Want will have great appeal both to educational and retail markets and will be an easy and enjoyable book to promote within classrooms or from the library or bookseller’s shelf. The World That We Want is one of the best nonfiction environmentally focused picture books to have been published to date and should be on every bookshelf in Australia. Natalie Crawford is the children’s specialist at Dymock Claremont, WA. C. 2004 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors
PreS-Gr 3-This book offers two-page vistas that incorporate animals found in a variety of habitats, including a mangrove, a tide pool, and a reef. As viewers move from flying pelican to gliding barracuda, Toft creates ever-widening perspectives to reveal how various ecosystems relate to one another. For example, after introducing air, rain forest, and river, she provides a spread that shows all 15 animals previously introduced. This process culminates in an impressive four-page, foldout panorama that includes all 45 animals. The minimal text cumulates as well in a "house that Jack built" structure: "This is the rain forest that filters the air that circles the world that we want." Of course, the underlying message is how easily the intertwined ecosystems can unravel. That idea is reinforced on the concluding five pages. Toft talks about the threats to various habitats and offers a few facts about each animal included in her illustrations. Although some of these creatures are unique to her native Australia, many can be found in other parts of the world as well. The arresting, brilliantly hued illustrations were drawn and painted on silk. This title could serve as an introduction to or culmination of an environmental study or be perused by individuals or small groups trying to locate the animals on each page.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
In intricately detailed, resplendent paintings rendered in ink and dyes on silk, Toft (One Less Fish) depicts nine habitats and the wildlife and vegetation native to each. Sounding a subtly cautionary note, the simple, cumulative text reflects the interrelationship among the environments: "This is the beach/ that meets the mangrove/ that follows the river/ that weaves through the forest/ that filters the air/ that circles the world/ that we want." After a separate visual introduces each locale, a stunning double-page foldout portrays the habitats together, effectively underscoring their interconnectedness as well as the urgency of the author's message, written as an endnote: "If these habitats are destroyed then each of the species that lives there is put at risk. All living things need to be kept in balance if we are to keep the world that we want." The final pages present smaller images of the habitats, below which Toft briefly describes the pollutants that threaten them and identifies the 45 species spotlighted, along with their behavior and feeding habits. Yet it is the book's luminous artwork, whose use of color creates a 3-D quality, that will most impress readers. Ages 4-9. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.