________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 14 . . . . December 4, 2009

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Welcome to the World of Beavers.

Diane Swanson.
North Vancouver, BC: Whitecap Books, 1999.
28 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 978-1-55110-853-4.

Subject Heading:
Beavers-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.

Review by Clancy Pryde.

***½ /4

   
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Welcome to the World of Porcupines.

Diane Swanson.
North Vancouver, BC: Walrus Books/Whitecap Books, 1999.
28 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 978-1-55110-856-8.

Subject Heading:
Porcupines-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.

Review by Clancy Pryde.

***½ /4

   
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Welcome to the World of Rabbits and Hares.

Diane Swanson.
North Vancouver, BC: Whitecap Books, 2000.
28 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 978-1-55285-024-0.

Subject Headings
Rabbits-Juvenile literature.
Hares-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.

Review by Clancy Pryde.

***½ /4

   
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Welcome to the World of Raccoons.

Diane Swanson.
North Vancouver, BC: Whitecap Books, 1998.
28 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 978-1-55110-782-0.

Subject Heading:
Raccoons-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.

Review by Clancy Pryde.

***½ /4

   
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Welcome to the World of Skunks.

Diane Swanson.
North Vancouver, BC: Whitecap Books, 1999.
28 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 978-1-55110-855-0.

Subject Heading:
Skunks-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.

Review by Clancy Pryde.

***½ /4

   
cover

Welcome to the World of Squirrels.

Diane Swanson.
North Vancouver, BC: Whitecap Books, 2001.
28 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 978-1-55285-259-8.

Subject Heading:
Squirrels-North America-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.

Review by Clancy Pryde.

***½ /4

   

excerpt:

Sometimes skunks share burrows with up to 24 others. These roommates might include different kinds of animals, such as raccoons and rabbits. Sharing dens is more common during bitter weather when it helps keep animals warm. Skunks sleep through much of the winter, waking only now and then. (From Welcome to the World of Skunks.)

 

In these six books from the "Welcome to the World of…" series, nature author Diane Swanson introduces readers to small mammals that many Canadian children, whether they live in the city or the country, will probably have seen, though in the case of porcupines and skunks, hopefully not too closely. With colour photos galore and lively, easy-to-read text, these well-organized books would be just right for young students learning to research and write a report. Each volume is divided into chapters discussing habitat, food and communication as well as life-cycle issues such as nesting, early life and adolescence. Text boxes highlight interesting facts in greater detail and a clear table of contents and index make finding information straightforward.

     Though each volume follows a similar format, each also contains a chapter detailing something unique about the animal. In Welcome to the World of Beavers, readers learn about how and why beavers build dams. Made from mud, branches and rocks, dams can be more than five meters tall and can make a pond deep enough that it won't freeze all the way to bottom in the winter. Beavers can then build a cozy dome-shaped lodge for their family in the middle of the pond using the same construction techniques, but with underwater entries and above-water rooms.

     Welcome to the World of Porcupines explains the distinctive defense mechanism that helps porcupines keep their predators at bay. With 30,000 sharp quills in its coat, a porcupine can do serious damage to any attacker. The quills are barbed at the tip, causing them to be pulled deep into the enemy's body as it continues to move. If the quills should penetrate major organs, death is the result. But losing quills in battle is no problem for the porcupine as they just grow back.

     In Welcome to the World of Rabbits and Hares, readers learn that the greatest asset of these animals is their ability to see, hear and smell acutely. With big eyes set on either side of the head, they can see enemies approaching from any direction. One hundred million sensors in the nose allow them to pick up many different scents, and their big ears can turn around and pick up the faintest noises.

     Welcome to the World of Raccoons describes how the first European visitors to North America thought that this masked mammal was a type of dog, but, in reality, raccoons are related to pandas. They are a common sight in the city because there is a lot of food for them. They have adapted well to civilization, making use of their nimble paws to overturn garbage cans or break into bird feeders.

     Another unique form of defense is highlighted in Welcome to the World of Skunks wherein readers learn that skunks hate the smell of their stinky spray and try hard not to get it on themselves. They can fire the white or yellowish oil at an enemy up to five meters away in the form of a fine mist or a stream of droplets. Spraying is the last line of defense, though, used only if an enemy is not impressed by the skunk's distinct markings, angry noises and threatening postures.

     Welcome to the World of Squirrels introduces the many varieties of this bushy-tailed rodent. There are 260 different types of squirrels around the world. Squirrels are excellent at storing food away for another day. Finding it again is no problem as they have a keen sense of smell and can sniff out buried nuts. Red squirrels can live for up to two years on what they have stashed!

     Whether children are reading for research or pleasure, each of these appealing volumes will capture their interest. The books offer a very thorough introduction to the animals and are fun and exciting to read.

Highly Recommended.

Clancy Pryde is a teacher in Toronto, ON.

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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