Cusick explores how gravity-defying flight, coiled and tubelike tongues, bite-proof armor and other surprising adaptations in animal bodies and behavior provide a competitive edge.
This presentation of amazing animal facts is loosely organized into three sections: defense, foraging and anatomy. There’s a short introduction for each section followed by a series of boxed explanations interspersed among a gallery of close-up photographs, mostly from the National Wildlife Federation archives. Some images are quite wonderful: a family of cygnets riding a swan’s back, a porcupine chewing on a branch, an unidentified moth with a coiled tongue. Others are really too small to see details well. Some images are clearly labeled with the creature’s name; others can be guessed from the nearby text, but some will be mysteries (perhaps better than the “great egret” caption for the snowy egret picture). Readers are asked some thought-provoking questions as well as offered cool facts. Scavenger-hunt challenges in the concluding section call for both inside and outside research. A companion volume, Animals That Make Me Say OUCH!, follows the same format, but its third section deals with adaptations for hostile environments. Both titles feature lively, colorful design. Best for browsers who like their facts fast.
For Animals That Make Me Say OUCH! and Animals That Make Me Say WOW!
These two animal-focused nature books will make kids sit up and take notice. The attractive photos from the National Wildlife Federation show bald eagles performing acrobatics in mid-air; zebras delivering a swift kick, leaving lion predators in their dust; shape-shifting spiders; and a South American male frigate bird with a bright red “bubble chin.” The upbeat, accessible text is factual and entertaining, including funny headers and the occasional joke (“What’s worse than a jaw of sharp, curved teeth? Two jaws, that’s what!”). Each installment contains practicable “Scavenger Hunt” ideas to cultivate scientific observation skills. While younger students will love the vivid photos, older ones will appreciate the informative material. Solid wildlife overviews.
-School Library Journal