________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 11 . . . . January 23, 2009

cover Looking at Wild Cats. (Kids Can Read).

Deborah Hodge. Illustrated by Nancy Gray Ogle.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $5.95 (pbk.), $14.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55453-285-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55453-284-1 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Felidae-Juvenile literature.
Puma-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Tristin Burrows.

*** /4

Looking at Wild Cats is a nonfiction text created specifically for beginner readers. Each page provides readers with clearly written and simple facts about these fascinating species. "Wild cats are good hunters. They are strong and fast. Their claws and teeth are sharp." The book outlines topics such as appearance, habitat, movement, tracks, babies and even a page on how wild cats grow and learn. This book would be an ideal first introduction to informational texts as each topic is organized under clear, bolded headings. The text does not overload the reader but is written in a concise manner that clearly relays the information.

internal art

     What makes Looking at Wild Cats stand apart from others is its variety of unique features. The book begins with a note to parents and educators about the book's intentions, promising "humorous, east-to read stories" and also explains the levelled aspect of the book (describing level one for beginner readers, level two for children who can read with help and lastly, level three for children who can read alone).

     The book begins with an engaging "I Spy…" feature where readers are encouraged to search for the certain illustrations hidden within the book. Lastly, the book ends with "Wild Cat Riddles," a great way to review and check for comprehension.

     Although the artists controlled medium has its advantages in terms of effectively illustrating a wild cats anatomy, habitat and general characteristics, the illustrations did not grab my attention. Perhaps a combination of colour photographs and artists illustrations would be a happy compromise in order to fully engage the reader.

     Overall, Looking at Wild Cats presents information in an accessible, research-friendly format that would be a great addition to a classroom or for early-reading animal lovers alike.


Tristin Burrows, an elementary school teacher with a passion for literature, lives in Winnipeg, MB, with her dog, Bruin.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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