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Monday, October 20, 2014

Do You Know Komodo Dragons? Written by Alain M. Bergeron, Michel Quintin and Sampar and illustrated by Sampar. Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2014. $9.95 ages

"Komodo dragons often hunt by lying in wait. They can wait for hours before suddenly attacking prey that pass by. Despite their large size, these reptiles are fast and swift. They can run faster than 20 kilometres (12 miles) an hour for short distances. They are also excellent swimmers."

This is the third set of four books in the Do You Know series, and they are as funny and informative as the first eight were. Each is 64 pages long, and includes a glossary and index. Both will help interested readers to get back to any information needed.

The cartoon images add fun, while the text is often fascinating and just gross enough to hold the attention of avid fans. There is much to learn, as was the case in previous books. There are absorbing facts about how the animal looks, what it eats, reproduction and also how prey is hunted.

My favorite double page spread in the book about Komodos has the dragon smiling nonchalantly at a passing wart hog. The hog is unconcerned, the dragon's hunger intensifies. At just the wrong moment the Komodo's cell phone rings loudly, frightening the wart hog and sending it scurrying away. The Komodo answers the call with a sneer, and an admonition:

"Stop calling me when I'm grocery shopping!"

Haven't we all been in a grocery line when our own phone rings? Too funny!

While imparting information about an animal that we don't know well, the authors do not soften the facts about its eating habits, or its violent ways when capturing its prey. The gore is made easier to stomach with the fun that is created in the cartoon drawings and the pointed barbs placed in speech bubbles.

They will be loved by some, and not by others. I love that they offer an unusual format for learning about Komodos, praying mantises, hyenas and dinosaurs, and I find myself really appreciating the bizarre humor.

Did you catch me to save my
life or to eat me?

If it's crunchy on the outside,
it must be creamy on the inside.

Hey, guys! Look!
I can make my head disappear.


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