CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 11 . . . .February 4, 2005
Most birds have a tail. They use their tail to control their direction when flying. It also helps control landings. Male peacocks use their tail feathers to attract mates. The male peacock has a colorful spread of feathers he displays for female peacocks.
Many birds have a syrinx. This is a voice box, which allows birds to make sounds. Some birds also sing. Wood thrushes can sing two songs at the same time. (From Birds.)
The books in this series offer readers a general overview of each of the featured animal groups. The books' vibrant, colourful, eye-catching covers are sure to attract readers. All of the books are identical in layout, consisting of 11 chapters, a table of contents, a glossary and an index. The chapters in each book are similar, providing information about the animal group's physical features, history, life cycle, diet, habitat and present threats to survival, such as pollution, over- hunting/fishing, and habitat destruction. Fast fact boxes are comprised of interesting trivia, and at the back of each book, there are two activities to try, a short quiz and a list of books and web sites for further research. The text is quite simple, consisting of short sentences and kid-friendly language, and is enhanced by bright, colour photographs.
Readers of Fish will learn about the main groups of fish, the special adaptations which allow fish to live either in fresh or salt water, and the methods employed by fish to get their food. There are instructions for making an undersea diorama and an experiment to demonstrate the advantages of fish having streamlined bodies.
Three major groups -- the pinnipeds, cetaceans and sirenians -- are described in Marine Mammals. Their evolution and the features that enable them to spend much of their time in water are discussed. An interesting experiment included in the book will demonstrate the importance of blubber to marine mammals. Readers will feel the effects of the cold as they try on gloves of various materials and dip their hands into ice water. Then they make a "blubber bag" with lard and repeat the experiment, noting the difference.
Land Mammals contains information about the three types: monotremes (egg-laying mammals), marsupials (those whose offspring continue their development in their mother's pouch) and placentals (those whose babies develop completely in their mother's body before they are born).
There are over one million species of insects in the world, some having wings and others, wingless. Insects highlights the body parts of insects and their interesting life cycle, from egg to adult.
Birds features the two main groups, the advanced fliers and flightless birds. Their differences in appearance are described along with their methods of hunting for food.
Reptiles and Amphibians will give readers a clearer picture of the physical features that separate reptiles from amphibians. Readers might be surprised to learn that, in addition to the frogs and toads, salamanders and newts, the third group of amphibians consists of caelicians, long, legless wormlike creatures with rings covering their bodies. Lizards and snakes, turtles and tortoises, crocodiles and alligators and tuataras make up the reptile group. Their adaptations for survival are also discussed in this title.
This series provides a good, basic introduction to the animal kingdom.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School in East St. Paul, MB.
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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.