I was recently introduced to a fun series - Nature's Children Animals in Danger! by Scholastic. Given my love animals and nature, I was excited to dive into these books. I was not disappointed. These nonfiction books contain a wealth of information on each animal and their habitat, yet their gorgeous photographs, accessible text, and underlying humor make them fun and interesting to read.
Currently, there are eight books in the series (pictured below), written for ages 8-12 (grades 3-5). Each book explores animals that "are at risk and disappearing from our planet." [All images © Scholastic, 2018.]
The books follow a consistent format. There are five chapters in each book. Each chapter is broken into subsections with beautiful full-page photographs.
The first chapter introduces the animal.
The second goes into greater depth about the animal's unique characteristics and habitat.
The third chapter examines their life-cycle.
The fourth looks at the animal's prehistoric relatives.
And the fifth chapter details the challenges that each animal currently faces and discusses how people and scientists are trying to help.
At the beginning of each book is a "Fact File."
This two-page spread makes it easy to learn about the (1) animal's distribution, (2) population, (3) habits, (4) diet, (5) size comparisons (both within the species and to humans), and (6) taxonomy.
Creating a great jumping off point for a student's learning and further research.
At the end of each book is a "Family Tree."
In this instance, the Rhinoceros Family Tree examines the mammals in the Perissodactyla order (animals with an odd number of toes).
Showing the close relationship of the Rhinoceros and the Tapir.
Additionally, each book contains a glossary, a "find out more" section (which features both books and web pages as a jumping off point for further research), and an index.
Throughout the books, snippets of fascinating facts and magnified images increase the fun of learning about these remarkable animals. Did you know a porpoise's milk is "almost like a creamy milkshake," a woolly mammoth's tusks were 15 feet long, or that orangutans eat tree sap?
On the right of this page, the sharp, jagged area - that looks like a thousand teeth - is actually a close-up image of the scales (denticles) that cover the sharks body. Definitely not something I want to rub up against.
The books also examines an animals importance to their environment. For instance, how the orangutans maintain the forest ecosystem and the sea turtles preserve the coral reef ecosystem.
Fair warning, the initial images in the fifth chapters, which detail the human dangers and habitat risks these animals face, are often heart wrenching. However, they conclude by showing how individuals, organizations, and governments are working hard to save these amazing animals. Providing the reader with lots to think about regarding their individual buying, waste, and recreation habits.
Overall, Scholastic has created a series of beautifully constructed books, containing phenomenal photographs, tons of practical and scientific information, and a reminder that we are but one species on this special planet. They are a great addition to any nature or conservation curriculum , as well as any library.
Though I received copies of these books for the purpose of this review, the opinions are entirely my own.