CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 35. . . .May 14, 2010
Baby Foxes. (It's Fun to Learn About Baby Animals).
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $7.95 (pbk.), $18.36 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3979-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3960-9 (RLB.).
Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.
Review by Renée Englot.
Most dogs are carnivores. Carnivores eat meat. Some foxes eat mainly meat. Arctic foxes hunt small animals such as mice and rabbits. They also eat the leftovers of dead animals that other predators have hunted. Bat-eared foxes eat insects. Some foxes, such as red foxes, are omnivores. Omnivores eat more than one kind of food. They eat meat, but they also eat plant foods such as fruit, leaves, seeds, and flowers.
Baby Foxes is part of the "It's Fun to Learn about Baby Animals" series by Bobbie Kalman. Other titles in the series feature apes, bear, birds, bunnies, cats, deer, elephants, foxes, giraffes, horses, pigs, and reptiles plus Caterpillars to Butterfiles, Tadpoles to Frogs and Wild and Pet Puppies. All are structured similarly and offer consistent quality.
This hard cover book is nicely packaged. A full colour photograph of a fox fills the front cover. A table of contents helps readers to navigate. An index is also included. Each two-page spread covers a single topic. A title headlines and one or two paragraphs of text expand upon the title. There are two to nine colour photographs per spread, occasionally supplemented by drawings. Most of the photographs are captioned, elaborating on the theme of the spread.
The book covers a wide range of topics related to baby foxes and foxes in general. Foxes are introduced as mammals along with an explanation of what mammals are. The dog family is explained and so is the distinction between wild and pet dogs. Seven of the 21 species of foxes are introduced with photographs. Fox bodies are introduced with attention to muzzles, tails, teeth and back bones. Unfortunately, a photo of playing kits has a skeleton superimposed mid photo. I suspect it will confuse young readers as it did me. Fox ears rate an entire two-page spread. I had no idea the size of a fox's ears were directly correlated to the temperature of its habitat. Feeding habits, habitats, types of homes within habitats and the growth of fox kits are also covered. The book concludes with a photo quiz inviting readers to guess which of the dogs featured are foxes. The quiz is challenging, but answers are provided.
One of the nice features of the fox book are the many prompts that encourage readers to keep reading. Captions ask questions of the readers and point them to the page where they can find the answer. Other captions introduce a topic, for example, a type of fox, and direct readers to the page on which they can learn more about that species.
The book will serve as a great introduction for young readers wishing to learn more about foxes. It's attractively presented. It is also easy to read. Bold words are well defined in context. The text is brief enough that it does not overwhelm. The brief text combined with adequate use of white space and bright, attractive photographs help to keep independent readers from feeling overwhelmed. And despite the text's brevity, readers will learn something about foxes.
Those who choose to read multiple selections from the baby animals series will encounter the same information presented over and over. Key words, such as mammal, life cycle, habitat, camouflage, vertebrate, warm and cold blooded, litter and nursing, are covered in many books, sometimes with the exact same words. However, for young learners, repetition isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Renée Englot is a former junior high school teacher now working as a professional storyteller in school settings. She holds a Master of Arts in Children's Literature.
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