Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Winter Reading 2018 A Mammal Is an Animal


The presentation of the information in this book is cleverly done. Some facts about mammals are shared, and then the text asks if an animal is a mammal. "No!" is the answer, and then readers learn the reason(s) why. When that distinction is made, then a new animal is proposed as a mammal. "No!" again, and the pattern repeats. Here is an example: an earthworm "can eat, breathe, move, and grow. But is an earthworm a mammal?" And then the text explains that earthworms are "soft inside and out," but mammals have bones inside. Each distinctive feature of the mammal group is covered in this way with a nonexemplar given and then the proof of why it doesn't belong. 

The colorful illustrations show the animals in detail, with helpful labels to identify the animals or specific body parts that relate to the discussion. The spread showing humpback whales and harbor seals is beautiful. A young whale swims alongside the mother while a harbor seal swims nearby and other seals sun themselves on the rocks. A family with curious young children appear several times in the book, and readers see them as the text proclaims, "Mammals sure are amazing animals. Hey, you are one too!"

Back matter includes a list of strange animals (all depicted), focusing on monotremes and marsupials. There is also a list of mammal facts which serves as a good review of what the book has covered, and a list of reference sources. A final spread is a graphic organizer of life on Earth, with animals divided into invertebrates, vertebrates, cold-blooded, warm-blooded, etc. This is a wonderful title to use with lessons/units on animals and the various animal groups. (Including the companion book, A Bird Is a Bird, would also be good.)

I received an F&G from the publisher for review purposes.

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