Sunday, August 28, 2011

Nonfiction Monday: Cool Animal Names

Cool Animal Names
written by Dawn Cusick
2011 (Imagine Publishing)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Check out Nonfiction Monday at Capstone Connect

My youngest daughter is in a "Did you know?" phase of reading right now. She is sharing facts left and right as she is reading nonfiction. This morning she was telling me about the saguaro cactus. I live in North Carolina. Not exactly cactus country, but it is still fascinating to her. Cool Animal Names is just the kind of book that kids like her will inhale in one big Hoover-like gulp.

Author Dawn Cusick explains in the beginning of this book that there are many strange animal names out there. For example, I just assumed that a skunk was a skunk. I was wrong. Did you know there are skunk bears, skunk beetles, and skunk clownfish? The bears (actually a type of weasel) and beetles earn the name honestly with the ability to emit horrific odors. Skunk clownfish have a white stripe that runs down their backs. Each section features animals that share a name with a familiar species. For example, Cusick delivers fabulous photos and facts about 24 different animals that have tiger in their name. My favorite is the Tiger Heron which gets its name from the sound of its call.

Cool Animal Names would be an excellent resource for students learning how to write nonfiction or working on how to organize information. You can pull a paragraph from this book and show it on the overhead projector or Smartboard and discuss why the author chose to include this information. I could also see students creating a chart featuring some of the animals with habitat, favorite foods, and appearance as categories. Being able to display information in a different format is an important skill for students to learn. After reading Cool Animal Names, I'm ready to find a pig frog!


  1. This sounds like something to have on the family bookshelves - great general knowledge. Thanks!


  2. Jeff,

    Wish I could send you a saguaro. We have plenty out here :-)

    Great suggestions for using this book. I am always interested in how an animal gets its name, both common and scientific names. (There are some wild stories related to scientific names).

  3. Nice, might be the perfect thing for my nine year old daughter as well who seems fascinated with animals and history as of present. Thanks for the recommendation. Will look for this book.

  4. Thank you everyone for visiting! Roberta, I might take you up on that offer.

  5. Wow, I can't wait to check out this book. It sounds fantastic!


  6. Thanks for stopping by, Melissa! It is a cool book.


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