CM May 10, 
1996. Vol. II, Number 30

image Time to Eat:
     Animals Who Hide and Save Their Food.

ISBN: 1-895688-36-1 (cloth) / 1-895688-30-2 (paper).

Subject Headings:
Animals-Food-Juvenile literature.
Animal behaviour-Juvenile literature.

Little Wonders:
     Animal Babies and Their Families.

ISBN: 1-895688-37-X (cloth) / 1-895688-31-0 (paper)

Subject Headings:
Animals-Infancy-Juvenile literature.
Parental behaviour in animals-Juvenile literature.

Marilyn Baillie. Illustrated by Romi Caron. Toronto: Owl Books, 1995 (Distributed by Firefly).
32pp, cloth $14.95 / paper $5.95.

Kindergarten - grade 4 / Ages 5 - 9.
Review by Luella Sumner.



A young male meerkat stands on guard. He sniffs the air for the scent of a fox. He scans the desert sand for the shadow of an eagle's wing. When he's sure there is no danger nearby, a soft chirp and purr from him tells the others, "it's safe." Out of an old termite's nest tumble five playful meerkat kits. Their baby-sitter, a young female, is right at their side. She plays with them and grooms them. The kits suckle milk from her. Some day she might have her own babies. But for now she is much too busy baby-sitting.

THESE TWO TITLES are from the new Owl Books series "Amazing Things Animals Do. . . ." Author Marilyn Baillie and illustrator Romi Caron have produced a pair of books sure to interest children and parents alike.

kangaroo      Baillie, a former editor of Chickadee Magazine, has edited and compiled previous science books from Owl. Caron studied painting and drawing in Prague before emigrating to Canada in 1990. She has worked as an assistant animator, and created illustrations for the Canadian Museum of Nature.

     The text of the books can be difficult. Words like "predator" and "antennae" mean that children under ten will probably need help, or will want the books read to them. But this will be no hardship for the adult reader, as the facts about animal habits and behaviour are fascinating.

seahorse      Each book begins with an illustration with hidden secrets that the reader is challenged to find, and ends with a quiz about the animals described. (The secrets and the answers are also given.)

     Dr. Katherine E. Wynne-Edwards of Queens University served as consultant for the books. This makes it surprising that there is at least one misleading statement -- the section on the emperor penguin in Little Wonders says, "There are always some adult penguins around to keep the chicks . . . safe from animals that would like to eat them." But there are no land animals in Antarctica where the emperor penguin lives; there are seals and whales in the ocean that might prey on penguin chicks, but the reference is to chicks on land. A comparison of the text with other sources didn't reveal any other apparent inaccuracies.

     Little Wonders: Animals Babies and Their Families tells of twelve different animals or birds with strange or amusing ways with their babies. For example: the sea otter wraps her baby in a strand of kelp to keep it from drifting away in the ocean; the crocodile mother gently carries her youngsters to the water in her great mouth; and the red-billed hornbill hides her babies in a hollow tree with the entrance plastered over with mud.

Time to Eat: Animals Who Hide and Save their Food tells of another twelve wild creatures who store food for later consumption: the spider wraps her tasty insect supper in silk to snack on later; the leopard drags her prey up into a nearby tree, safe from hyenas; and the beaver stockpiles tasty branches for the long cold winter.


Luella Sumner is a librarian in Red Rock, Ontario.

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Copyright © 1996 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