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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Homes in the Wild: Where Baby Animals and Their Parents Live, written and illustrated by Lita Judge. Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan. Raincoast. 2019. $24.99 ages 5 and up

"A home can be high in the trees. 

High in the trees, golden snub-nosed monkeys find lichens, leaves, and bark to eat and protection from predators like wolves and tigers. Their long limbs and tails make jumping from tree to tree and swinging ... "

This is exactly the kind of book I wanted for a science-project-in-a-day we did in a grade two classroom when I was a teacher-librarian. We looked carefully for books that would attract the attention of our students, were accessible enough for their grade four and five reading partners to share with them, and with just enough information to help them write a three point report!

Lita Judge packs this book with information sure to intrigue young readers, and with 'aw'some illustrations of a wide range of animals (bears, rabbits, bobcats, porcupines, and more). She then connects them through an opening statement concerning where they live. Each turn of the page following that statement shows other babies who live in such a place.

A hidden home shelters bears, as it does bobcats and porcupines. An underground home shelters coyotes, long-eared jerboas and nine-banded armadillos. The text paragraph that accompanies each of the specific illustrations provides the right amount to text to give readers an idea about the animal shown and its home. Many animals are included; some will be familiar, others will not. What children learn about each might just set them on a path to learning more.

She finishes with a reminder for her young audience:

"Pups, kits, cubs, and joeys - all baby
animals need a home where they and
their families are safe and sheltered ...
just like you!"

Back matter adds appeal by including additional facts and a thumbnail sketch of each animal.

"Golden snub-nosed monkeys live in the mountain forests of central and southwestern China. They live in groups of one male and up to ten females and their young. The females in a group care for one another's babies and groom each other. When a predator comes near, the male sounds the alarm while the females cling together in tightly packed groups with the babies in the center. Females give birth to one baby each year."

Also included is a glossary, a list of sources and suggestions for useful websites.


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