CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 6 . . . .November 9, 2007
Mark Stout has translated Stéphanie Ledu's text, which was originally published in France as Mon encyclo des animaux, and, with the exception of his irritating use of "kid" or "kids" instead of "child" or "children," he has produced a most readable work. Though the book's padded cover appropriately suggests that the book is intended for a preschool audience, the book's photographic contents will, nevertheless, be enthusiastically embraced by older children. The book's contents, which conclude with a two-page index, are divided into nine "locales": In the Country; In the City; Fresh Water; On the Prairies; In the Forest; In the Mountains; In the Ocean; In the Desert; and The World's Coldest Places. In turn, each of these nine divisions is subdivided into anywhere from four to eight subsets. For example, "In the Desert"'s subdivisions are: The Sahara Desert; The Camel; The Rocky Desert; and Deep in Australia. "Fresh Water"'s parts consist of: Small Rivers; Marshes and Ponds; The Tree Frog; Rivers in Europe; and Rivers in America. As can be observed in the two examples immediately above, each of the nine major categories utilizes one of its subsets to focus on a particular creature (camel & tree frog) via a pair of facing pages. The other subsets, again on facing pages, contain full colour glossy photos of three to five "critters," both domestic and wild, familiar and novel, with each being accompanied by a text box that includes interesting snippets of information.
Though a direct translation of the book's French title would have yielded a more appropriate name for the book than the one given to it by Owl Kids (a title which suggests "story"), youngsters will still be intrigued by the visual feast found within the book's pages and will readily devour its factual bits as well. A definite library buy as well as a terrific home purchase!
Dave Jenkinson, who lives in Winnipeg, MB, is CM's editor.
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