________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 27. . . .March 18, 2011

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Beavers. (Backyard Animals).

Blaine Wiseman.
New York, NY: Weigl (Distributed in Canada by Saunders Book Company), 2011.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $11.95 (pbk.), $25.70 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-60596-879-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-60596-877-3 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
Beavers-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
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Bison. (Backyard Animals).

Tatiana Tomljanovic.
New York, NY: Weigl (Distributed in Canada by Saunders Book Company), 2011.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $11.95 (pbk.), $25.70 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-60596-956-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-60596-955-8 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
American bison-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
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Lynx. (Backyard Animals).

Blaine Wiseman.
New York, NY: Weigl (Distributed in Canada by Saunders Book Company), 2011.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $11.95 (pbk.), $25.70 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-60596-944-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-60596-943-5 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
Lynx (Genus)-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
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Moose. (Backyard Animals).

Nick Winnick.
New York, NY: Weigl (Distributed in Canada by Saunders Book Company), 2011.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $11.95 (pbk.), $25.70 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-60596-947-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-60596-946-6 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
Moose-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   

excerpt:

Male moose grow a set of horns on both sides of their head. These horns are called antlers. While the antlers grow, they are covered by a thin layer of skin and soft fur called velvet. The velvet contains blood vessels that give the antlers the nutrients they need to grow. Each winter, moose shed their antlers. They grow another set, called a rack, in the spring. Antlers have many uses. Males grow antlers to attract females or to fight off other males during mating season. Antlers have a flat shape that is called "palmate" because they look like the palm of a hand. This shape helps moose hear. (From Moose.)

 

Linking print with media is the concept behind the six-volume "Backyard Animals" series. Though there are several other titles in the original series, these six titles are AV² Media Enhanced Books, which, according to the publishers, "provide readers with access to enriched and enhanced content." Each 24-page book covers the same topics, presented in the same sequence, as the other books in the series. Topics in the 12 chapters include size, appearance (focusing on the adaptations that help the animal to survive), habitat, food, shelter, life cycle, and history (from the animal's first appearance on Earth and its impact on indigenous peoples and early settlers to its present-day situation in terms of numbers and range). There is a section that explains what to do if one encounters the animal in the wild and another section that provides a couple of myths and legends. At the back of the book are frequently asked questions, and fascinating facts appear throughout the book. The text is printed in a large font and is easy for readers to comprehend. Illustrations include colour photos, charts, diagrams and small inset maps indicating the animal's home range. A table of contents, a list of words to know and an index are provided. The final page offers an explanation of how the AV² aspect of the series works. Here, readers will find the various symbols, common throughout the series, that can be found online and which will describe a specific type of activity- an audio link, a video, a web link or an activity or experiment.

      In order to use the AV² option, readers must have access to the Internet. On the second page of the book, there is a URL as well as a title-specific book code that they must enter once they get to the home page. As a further security measure, readers must find a particular word in the book and type it in the box provided. For example, "What is the last word of the third paragraph on page 11?" These directions seem a bit cumbersome, but once students arrive at the title's enhanced content, they are rewarded with a great deal of extra information about the animal which they are researching. There are brief audio clips with a read-along option, several video clips, downloadable worksheets (comparison charts, matching activities, life cycle reviews, comprehension questions, etc), interactive jigsaw puzzles to put together, more legends, and a slide show. Links to Hinterland Who's Who, National Geographic and the Discovery Channel, to name a few, provide plenty of information as well. The main drawbacks of the AV² option are the two-step login process, the videos' picture quality (rather fuzzy), and the difference between the vocabulary in the books and in the related web sites. Some of the downloadable worksheets are slightly beyond the lower target range of the audience, and the web pages employ far more sophisticated and difficult vocabulary than does the text in the books. Generally, however, this marriage of print and electronic media is very timely and sure to appeal to the majority of readers. (As an aside, the series' title, "Backyard Animals" is a bit of a misnomer, unless one lives in a rural area or in a forest.)

      Beavers discusses the importance of the beaver to the fur trade and compares the North American to the European species. Other topics in this title include the building of lodges and dams, the animal's physical adaptations (for example, sharp, chiseled teeth that can grow one meter every year), and a legend about how the beaver got its flat tail.

      The bison is the largest land mammal in North America. Bisons features bison relatives, such as the wisent, wood bison, yak, water buffalo, African buffalo and cattle (complete with size and weight comparisons), the bison's special way of digesting plant material by means of its two stomachs, and how bison protect themselves from predators.

      There are four species of lynx: the Canada lynx, the Eurasian lynx, the bobcat, and the Iberian lynx which lives in Spain and is the world's most endangered cat. In Lynx, readers will learn, among other things, how the lynx sets up its shelter, how it hunts and how it takes care of its young.

      Moose describes the largest members of the deer family. These animals are even-toed ungulates, animals that walk on hoofs that grow from the tips of their toes. Their vast range covers northern Europe and Russia, nearly all of Canada's forests, and many states in the U.S.A. Among the usual topics, readers will also find out about Bullwinkle, perhaps the best known moose in the world, who, along with his friend, Rocky the Flying Squirrel, entertained millions of children via their cartoon television show between 1959 and 1964.

      AV² books have successfully dovetailed the print medium with the electronic medium. Though there are no guarantees that their web links will remain constant, they employ trusted information providers, such as National Geographic, in the hopes that these links will reasonably stand the test of time. The publisher also states that all of the media-enhanced books are monitored regularly to update URLs and web sites.

Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a former teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

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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