________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 21. . . .June 12, 2009.

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Welcome to the World of Orangutans.

Diane Swanson.
North Vancouver, BC: Walrus Books/Whitecap Books, 2004.
28 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 978-1-55285-472-3.

Subject Heading:
Orangutan-Juvenile literature.

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.

Review by Shannon Ratcliffe.

****/4

   

 



excerpt:

POGO STICKS WITH POCKETS. That’s what kangaroos are. They bounce up and down on strong back legs while the youngest –– called joeys –– ride in their mothers’ pouches. Having pocket babies make kangaroos “marsupials” whose young finish developing inside outer pouches.

 

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Welcome to the World of Snakes.

Diane Swanson.
North Vancouver, BC: Whitecap Books, 2001.
28 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 978-1-55285-171-5.

Subject Heading:
Snakes-North America-Juvenile literature.

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.

Review by Shannon Ratcliffe.

****/4

   

 



excerpt:

S-S-SNAKES S-S-SIMPLY S-S-SLITHER. Having no legs, they get around just fine on their bellies. Their covering of scaly skin protects them from sharp rocks and rough sand. It keeps them from drying out, too. But a snake’s skin is never slimy, as people often think.

 

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Welcome to the Whole World of Elephants.

Diane Swanson.
North Vancouver, BC: Whitecap Books, 2003.
28 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 978-1-55285-451-8.

Subject Heading:
Elephants-Juvenile literature.

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.

Review by Shannon Ratcliffe.

****/4

   

 



excerpt:

ELEPHANTS ARE ENORMOUS –– the biggest land animals on Earth! African elephants are the tallest and heaviest. The males stand up to 4 metres (13 feet) high at the shoulder and can each weigh more than six small cars –– 6 tonnes (7 tons). Asian elephants are shorter and lighter, but they’re still GIANTS among animals.

The “Welcome to the World” animal books are simply excellent! Everyone knows children love animals…… from telling secrets to a pet dog to endless fascination over the number of teeth a shark can grow in a lifetime. Author Diane Swanson opens up a world of exploration for the young animal enthusiast with understandable text and incredible photography.



     The books each have seven chapters packed with gorgeous pictures, interesting information and fun factoid side bars. Every chapter is based on a theme, such as “World Full of Food” (what and how they eat), “Where in the World” (where they are found in nature) and “New World” (animal babies –– how they are born and who, if anyone, cares for them). The books are perfect for the intermediate young reader, or they can serve as engaging read-alouds for the younger set (ages 4-6). I was very impressed with the style of large, readable font, good use of white space and the engaging text.


     In Welcome to the World of Orangutans, we are told that these ruddy, sleepy apes actually have large brains which give them the ability to adapt things in their environment into tools to meet their needs –– and in captivity, they have even been taught rudimentary communication skills. We find out that they’re the largest of the tree-dwelling animals, and that orangutans generally only give birth three to four times in a lifetime –– and usually have about eight years between births (and also that her baby will be about half the size of a human newborn!).


     Welcome to the World of Kangaroos takes us on a journey to the Outback and beyond. Marsupials, the family to which kangaroos belong, can be found in more places than just on the Australian outback. In fact, they’ve even adapted to life in Great Britain. They can range from the size of a large rat to as tall as a large man! We learn interesting tidbits, like the fact that a Kangaroo can swim when the need arises, to finding out that kangaroos are vocally challenged. Two beautiful sections on the life of the baby kangaroo finish up this excellent book.


     Although this reviewer can be a little squeamish even looking at pictures of snakes, Welcome to the World of Snakes is a filled with fascinating information, such as, did you know that owls will keep a tiny type of snake up in their nest to eat small bug pests? Or that snakes can’t ever close their eyes? And even I must admit that the fantastic closeup of a tiny hognose snake baby hatching from its egg is truly adorable.


     In my opinion, Welcome to the Whole World of Elephants book has the best photography of this quartet of books. Not only do you get to see these magnificent animals in their natural setting, but the background images are an educational experience in themselves. From the heavy jungle forests to the vast, dry grasslands, this book literally takes the reader on a tour of a different world. Giving a great comparison of the sheer volume of food an elephant must consume to something a young child can understand (800-1300 hamburgers a day –– that’s a lot of food!), to describing in detail how they take a drink of water, as well as the fact that an elephant gets several new sets of teeth throughout its lifetime are all reasons that this book stands out.

Highly Recommended.

Shannon Ratcliffe is a Home Educating Teacher-Librarian in Québec with students ranging from Pre-K to High School.

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

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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