Rating: 1-5: (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
What did you like about the book? The diversity of the animal kingdoms is introduced and celebrated here, starting with mammals and birds, then amphibians and reptiles, arthropods, and fish. Each category’s characteristics are stated in rhyming couplets, “Milk to drink and furry hide, mammals keep warm from inside.” The rhyming structure could help little ones remember the facts they are learning. Throughout, both diversity and interconnectedness are emphasized. For instance, the illustrations for humans show six extremely different families (African, father-only, traditional Caucasian, Muslim, Indian, and lesbian), connected in that each is holding a newborn. Besides animal kingdoms, there are also sections on water dwellers and detritivores — worms and bugs that “dine on things both dead and rotten.” The appealing illustrations reinforce the information the text conveys. Additional information about the interconnectedness of life on earth as well as a few more facts about each animal category appears in the final pages along with suggestions for how readers can help animals.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Some of the poetry is a little strained, “And while we’re different here on Earth, / in eating, moving, giving birth, / common things make us complete: / minds that work and hearts that beat.”
To whom would you recommend this book? Teachers introducing units on categorizing animals to children in grades K-2.
Who should buy this book? Elementary school libraries and public libraries.
Where would you shelve it? Shelve in 590 with books that provide information about many different animals.
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Mary Melaugh, Marshall Middle School Library, Billerica, MA
Date of review: 7/18/18