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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Creatures, written and illustrated by Karen Patkau. Tundra, 2006, 2008. $9.99 ages 6 and up

Red Ant
I am little, but very strong.
My claws grip the ground
as I race across the savanna.

Both of these books were published earlier in hardcover editions. They are reissued now as useful and informative paperbacks for young and eager scientists to use while doing research, or building knowledge of animals from around the world.

Each will find a favored place in a classroom library or on a child's personal bookshelf. They are filled with bold and detailed illustrations that give readers a chance to see some of the creatures of the world and how they compare to each other (Creatures Great and Small):

"Beluga Sturgeon: Call me a living fossil - I can live for one hundred years. With rows of bony scutes to protect my sides, I cruise in salt water. I migrate up a river to spawn."  

The text is easily understood and accessible for young readers and offers a quick look at some of those creatures they will find very interesting.

Following the comparisons, the author provides a grid that helps her audience see big and really big on facing pages.  On the next page, she creates some actual size illustrations that small and really small and shows the actual size of some of them.

Creatures Yesterday and Today compares many creatures that lived long ago with what may have evolved over time, such as:

"Hylonomus: A pioneer, I climbed out of the lagoon onto dry land. Being cold-blooded, I warmed up and cooled off along with the temperature of the air around me.
Panther Chameleon: I have feet and a prehensile tail, just right for clasping branches. My skin changes color according to the light and what mood I am in. My tongue is lightning-fast." 

A timeline follows the text, plotting many of the described creatures. It begins millions of years ago.

Both have a useful and condensed glossary to help a young audience understand certain terms. Both are books designed to help introduce children to the natural world in an easy and informative way.

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