A Kangaroo's Life
written by Ellen Lawrence
2012 (Bearport Publishing)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
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It is September and David has started keeping a diary. He lives on a farm in Australia and has seen two red kangaroos fighting. His Aunt Annie, a veterinarian, explains that they are fighting to see who gets to mate with the females. In October, Aunt Annie takes in a mother kangaroo who has been hit by a car. The baby joey is only a few days old, but is safe inside his mother's pouch. Both mother and joey will be okay and now David has a chance to see the life cycle of a kangaroo. At four weeks, the joey is almost four inches long. He won't open his eyes until sixteen weeks and will pop his head out of the pouch at twenty weeks. At eight months, the joey is too big to live in his mother's pouch but will still drink mother's milk for about four more months. By the following October, mom and joey are ready to leave the rescue center and return to the wild. He is eating grass and small plants just like his mother. Eventually, he will grow to be six feet tall and weigh nearly 200 pounds.
The photographs in A Kangaroo's Life give readers a good sense of how small a kangaroo is in its early stages of life. Young animal lovers will be enthralled by the up-close photos. I would also use this book to teach students how to read captions. There are a combination of kangaroo facts and classroom activities to supplement the journal entries in each two page spread. I especially like the measurement activity where students see how many jumps it takes them to match one hop of an adult kangaroo (26 feet). Click on the book link above to get a sneak peek inside this engaging title.