________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 34 . . . . May 7, 2010

cover

Whose Eyes Are These?

Wayne Lynch.
North Vancouver, BC: Walrus Books/Whitecap Books, 2009.
30 pp., pbk., $8.95.
ISBN 978-1-55285-992-6.

Subject Headings:
Animals-Identification-Juvenile literature.
Eye-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Tara Williston.

*** /4

excerpt:

I have eight eyes, two on the sides of my head and six in front. I have two long teeth, called fangs, and I use them like needles to pump poison into animals that I hunt. When I have babies, they ride on my back like cowboys on horseback at the rodeo. When it’s time for them to leave home, they produce a silk thread and let the wind carry them away. WHO AM I?

 

Whose Eyes Are These? follows a simple and entertaining format: over four colourful pages, readers are presented with interesting facts about a mystery animal whose eye is pictured in full-colour close-up, next to the phrase “Who am I?” in jaunty chunky letters. Turn the page, and there on pages three and four is the answer to the mystery: a full-body portrait of the animal in question, along with more fun facts about its diet, habitat, and clever survival tactics. This four-page mini chapter format is repeated seven times to showcase seven different animals from ecosystems spanning the globe. Mammals, reptiles, birds, and even one spider are all represented, adding up to a great range of fascinating wildlife, each with a unique set of eyes.

     This fun and educational book is the seventh in Lynch’s series of animal guessing game books that already includes bottoms, houses, feet, noses, babies, and teeth, all published by North Vancouver, BC’s Whitecap Books. The truly stunning photographs give enormous visual appeal that is set off by bold and uncluttered design, design which is an excellent match for Lynch’s clear and concise text. His facts are well-chosen: each animal’s description includes the basic information of where it lives, what it eats, and how many offspring it produces each year. These relatively ordinary details are then enhanced with intriguing unusual facts particular to each species – for example, did you know that crocodiles may go as long as a year without eating? Or that the South American king vulture’s eyes change colour as it ages, and its neck changes colour according to its mood? Or more amazing still, that desert sand snakes rehydrate by licking dew off their own skin? These and many more exciting snippets of information await the eager young reader who delves into Whose Eyes Are These? The simple language, short sentences, and large print make this an appropriate volume for both new readers and for younger tykes who will enjoy curling up with a caregiver to pore over the pictures and words together. Of particular note is the care Lynch has taken to choose snappy comparisons to things children already familiar to them to explain the animals’ behaviour – such as the reference to the wolf spider’s babies riding on her back “like cowboys on horseback at the rodeo” (see above excerpt).

     Children and parents who pick up Dr. Wayne Lynch’s books are in good hands. A former medical doctor, for over twenty-five years Lynch has been traveling the world with his wife and professional partner, Aubrey Lang, exploring his true passion: wildlife photography. A member of several well-respected naturalist groups and an award-winning science writer, Lynch’s books for both adults and children are treasure troves of beautiful images and amazing nature facts from someone who clearly knows his subject matter.

Recommended.

Tara Williston is a Children’s Librarian in Vancouver, BC.

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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