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Author: Elizabeth Dalby

Illustrator: Candice Whatmore and Reuben Barrance

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Publisher: Usborne Publishing Limited,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Do grasshoppers have muscles? How do sea otters sleep? Find the answers to all your questions about animal traits and habitats in this book that lets kids learn about animals by researching topics. This non-fiction book is loaded with data about the natural kingdom, and has links to additional (kid-safe) resources on the Web.

Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book, interactive reading

Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 10; read yourself: 10 to 12

Interest Level: 9 to 12

Reading Level: 5.9

Age of Child: Explored with a 5-year-old girl. Also read by a student at Robbinsdale Cooper High School, New Hope, MN. This was part of our Use Your ABCs classroom literacy project.

Young Reader Reaction: 5yo: Like all kids, our child was fascinated by the 'scary' pictures. S/He would turn a page, offer an "ooh" or "yuck," and then follow that with a "what's this?"
Robbinsdale Student: This book was okay. What I liked about it is the pictures and how the plants get food. I picked this book because of the picture of the tiny frog on the cover. I learned that there is a new plant called the Chinese Lantern.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is not a story. This is a fact-filled book that invites kids to explore the animal kingdom at their own pace, in their own way. The photos are incredible, and naturally captivating. You will be smarter when you finish this book.

Pros: By organizing information topically, kids can contrast/compare animal habits and traits. The text debunks a lot of the "scariness" that some of the pictures might suggest. Robbinsdale student: This is great for kids who love animals and are ready to learn something new.

Cons: Although the descriptions change, there is only one URL offered in the book. There is enough text on every page not to crowd it with a promo. Robbinsdale: Some of the pictures may be too scary for children under the age of 6.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a great resource for a classroom or library. Unless you have a budding zoologist or biologist, this is a book that will only be picked up for science projects.

If You Liked This Book, Try: EXPLORATOPIA   YOUR SAFARI DRAGONS: In search of the Real Komodo Dragon (Your Safari series)   GHOST FILES: THE HAUNTING TRUTH

Educational Themes: This is a reference book for science. The book is crammed with information, and linking it to the Internet offers expanded learning with videos, additional text, and even more facts.

Notes: A distributor for the publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Nonfiction - middle grade, nature, science, interactive learning, animals, maps

Date(s) Reviewed: January 2008, February 2010

Other Reviews:


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