Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth

Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth

Fall 2006 Non-Fiction
Ages: 8 & Up
Author: Nicola Davies
Illustrator: Neal Layton
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 0-7636-3067-5
Hardcover Price: $12.99
Just what exactly are the toughest creatures on Planet Earth? What animals come with their own biological antifreeze, enabling them to survive in 110° weather? How do camels keep their heads cool? And which Saharan residents can cope with body temperatures of 128°? The answers to these questions and other amazing facts are collected in this fascinating little book of animal adaptations. Nicola Davies makes it clear throughout that people don't even come close to carrying the "extreme" label, being unable to tolerate heat, cold, or more than a few minutes without air—as she points out, "We humans are such a bunch of wimps!" Davies, who holds a degree in zoology, does a good job outlining the brutal living conditions of various environmental habitats, including the Antarctic Ocean, freezing forest leaf-litter, volcanoes, and ocean trenches. The scientific principles behind each creature's survival mechanisms are explained clearly, with both humor and enthusiasm. Neal Layton's plentiful ink illustrations also strike a balance between silly and scientific (example: an labeled drawing of the "special pee" that helps reptiles conserve water), and serve as an excellent complement to Davies' text. This book will entertain and enlighten young nature lovers, making it a good choice for classrooms, libraries and home reading.
Zarina Mullan Plath   ©2006 Parents' Choice
Zarina Mullan Plath has undergraduate degrees in both biology and English. Her interests include cookbooks/culinary history, South Asian literature (especially in regards to South Asians in America), and, of course, children's literature. Her poetry is included in the anthology Sweeping Beauty (U. of Iowa Press, 2005). Zarina lives in Central Illinois with her husband, two children, and assorted pets.

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