written by Laura Marsh
2013 (National Geographic Kids)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
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Q: How does a meerkat stop the DVD from playing?
A: It presses the PAWS button.
Meerkat jokes are one of the features you will find in this engaging informational text. The book starts with perhaps one of the cutest title pages you will ever see. One meerkat is sitting and staring into the distance while another one is standing with his arm around his friend. An introductory chapter teaches young readers that meerkats are part of the mongoose family and live in the deserts of Africa and Asia. The text could be handled by a late first grade or beginning second grade reader without too much trouble. Later chapters include information about habitats and preferred foods. Perhaps the distinguishing feature of meerkats is their dependence on their family or mob. Every member has a job. While part of the group is out hunting, others stay back and babysit. Some meerkats take to the high ground and stand guard in order to watch out for predators. A loud peeping sound is the alert to find a safe spot from predators. Other jobs include teaching and being a feeder. Meerkats pitch in and work together to survive.
Readers will enjoy the photographs of meerkats and learning about this interesting animal. I like the simplicity of the text and the extra features like vocabulary words and jokes. This is the kind of book that can serve as a mentor text when my second graders start writing informational text. Be sure to investigate the National Geographic Kids feature on meerkats. You will find more facts and video to serve as an extra resource.