Thursday, March 7, 2013

STEM Friday: Two new animal books

written by Rachel Lynette
2013 (Bearport Publishing)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Check out STEM Friday for more science and math links.

From the Jungle Babies of the Amazon Rain Forest series comes a cute nocturnal swinger. I had no idea what a kinkajou was before I read this book. This rain forest dweller has a tail with a length that is equal to the rest of its body. It lives in the canopy section of Western Hemisphere rain forests.  Kinkajous have the nickname of "honey bear" due to their love of the sweet sticky stuff. Finding a tree hole will help keep the kinkajou away from predators like jaguars.

The size of the book is perfect for the hands of primary age readers who will enjoy the photographs and  information about this unusual animal. The text will make it a nice resource for students learning how to write an informational book. It is also good for comparing adults and children of the same species.

Cane Toad
written by Leon Gray
2013 (Bearport Publishing)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

On the opposite side of cute is the cane toad. Weighing in at a hefty 5 pounds, the poisonous cane packs a punch. It gets its name from the attempt by farmers to use it to combat beetles in sugar cane fields. The beetles outwitted the toads by moving to the top of the plant where the toad could not reach it. Unable to reach its prey, the toad moved on. If you are looking for a resource to teach about invasive species, this would be a good text. The cane toad is quite the problem in Australia where it was introduced in the latter part of the 19th century as an aid to farmers. Seeing that it can grow to the size of a soccer ball and contains a milky white poison from behind its head, I would be eager to see less of this monster amphibian as well.

Cane Toad could be used to teach about life cycles. You get to see the frogs from tadpole to adult. More large toads are introduced in the back matter of the book. I like how there are comparison illustrations to show readers how the size of the animal compares to other animals. The photographs in the book are terrific. A particularly gruesome photo is located on pages 6 and 7.

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