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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Hidden Dangers: Seek and Find 13 of the World's Deadliest Animals. Written by Lola M. Schaefer and illustrated by Tymn Armstrong. Chronicle, Raincoast. 2017. $23.99 ages 6 and up

"SLAP! An angry ALLIGATOR can whack you with a 200-pound (91 -kilogram) tail, GRAB you with its large jaws, and drag you to the bottom of the river to DROWN. If you enter an American alligator's territory ... "

Lola Schaefer has a keen understanding for what young readers find intriguing, scary, and worthy of study. So, she does her research and writes books that are sure to find an audience. And, she is quite prolific. As I said on Tuesday when discussing Nicola Davies' work, I don't make many workshop book lists without including a book or two by Ms. Schaefer. She definitely gets my attention, and I am happy to tell others about her work.

In Hidden Dangers she cautions her readers:

"Like us, animals try to avoid danger. But if someone or something invades their territories or startles them, they'll use defense mechanisms to protect themselves. In some cases, that defense is nothing more than a harsh sting. Other times, it may be venomous tentacles, barbed quills, or poison-oozing skin."

Each double page spread introduces a new and nasty animal, explains how that animal protects itself when it feels the need to do so, and how you might avoid any danger presented when encountering it. Of the 13 presented, I would perhaps encounter 2 - a porcupine and a moose. My chances for meeting a golden poison dart frog, a deathstalker scorpion, or a tarantula hawk wasp are nil. Thankful I am!

Advice is given in case I should meet said MOOSE:

"If a moose starts to come your way, turn and RUN away! Usually it will stop running after a short distance. But if the moose doesn't slow up, HIDE! Hide behind a large tree trunk or rock. Roll into a tight ball, placing your arms over your head for protection. When the moose cannot see you, it will walk away. Later, so can you!"

The author also provides guidance for filling a backpack with essentials necessary to keep you safe while you are out exploring. An explanation accompanies each item. Finally, she describes the difference between poison and venom - how they are delivered is key. Readers are tasked with two separate questions: one about plants and the other about the number of each of the deadly animals found throughout the book.

Tymn Armstrong's digital artwork is full of detail. It surrounds the text, and assures that readers pay attention to habitat as well as the animal itself. The fact that some of those animals might be hidden or even found on other spreads ensures a very close look. Luckily, the actual numbers are provided in back matter. Good luck!

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