CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 11 . . . . February 3, 2006
Chelsea Donaldson is a nonfiction writer and editor who has written several children's books about famous Canadians.
Canada's Arctic Animals begins with a map showing Canada in red, the Arctic in white, Arctic Canada in pink, part of the United States in grey, and water in blue. On the opposite page is a brief explanation about the Arctic. This is followed by nine chapters, each on a particular Arctic animal: seal, polar bear, Arctic fox, Arctic hare, caribou, Arctic tern, walrus, Greenland shark and narwhal. Most chapters are four or five pages in length. The polar bear chapter has seven pages. There is a table of contents but no glossary.
The writing style is lively, and the information given should appeal to Early Years students. Coloured pictures, a number of which flow over parts of two pages, are found on all but one page. They enhance the information given about each animal.
The author hooks the information about the animals to the young reader's or listener's own life. For example, the first chapter on the seal begins, "Did you know that dogs are not the only animals that bark? Seals bark, too. They sound a little like a dog with a sore throat!" In the chapter on the walrus, the fact is given that the tusks can be up to a meter long. Then the author says, "Imagine if your front teeth were that big."
Throughout the book the inter-connections between the animals are noted. The chapter on the Arctic fox states that foxes often follow a polar bear to eat any leftover meat from the polar bear's hunt. "But the foxes have to be careful. They don't want to become the bear's next meal!"
The double spacing and large size print will assist young readers. A few words, such as blubber and algae, may need to be discussed.
Canada's Arctic Animals could be used by teachers with the entire class in studying nonfiction, as a book for student research, or as a nonfiction book for able students to read. It also may be useful as an additional resource in science curricula dealing with “Growth and Changes in Animals” or in Social Studies curricula if an Inuit community is studied.
Jeannette Timmerman is a former teacher and principal with the Winnipeg (MB) School Division.
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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.