By: Judith Jango-Cohen
Publisher: Lerner Classroom
Publication Date: August 2010
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 2010
The armadillo is a strange looking mammal that will “dig for many reasons.” Their ability to dig actually “helps them to stay alive.” They will bury their snout in the ground to sniff for bugs and then when they find them they will dig at the ground and will “lick up the bugs with their long, sticky tongues.” The armadillo prefers bugs, but they are also plant eaters. They are omnivores which means they “are animals that eat both plants and animals.” They also use their long snout to sniff out danger. If a predator is near, WHOOSH...they dash away quickly. If they cannot outrun a predator, they curl up in a ball to protect themselves. Their carapace, or hard shell will protect them.
It seems rather odd that an animal with such a hard shell can even get around, but the carapace has “many thin bands in the middle” that enable it to bend. The carapace is very heavy, but when an armadillos has to swim it will swallow a lot of air that “helps the armadillo float.” Another way the armadillo may have to protect itself is by digging. “Scritch-Scratch! Quick as a flash an armadillo digs a small hole and hides inside.” Its sharp claws are a real asset in an emergency. You will also learn how the armadillo can keep dirt from going up its nose, you’ll get to take a peek at its den, you’ll get to see its amazingly cute pups, and you’ll learn what these pups can do. Do you know what color the carapace is on an armadillo pup? If not, you might want to take a close look at the photographs in this book.
This well-written, well-researched book made this creature seem very interesting without going overboard on scientific detail. The photographs are very appealing, especially action oriented ones like the armadillo running away from the camera. The text addresses many questions the young reader may have, but most certainly could provide a stepping stone for a report on this creature or things such as mammal life in general. There is an “Armadillo Range Map” (relative to the United States) and an “Armadillo Diagram.” In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.
Quill says: This is a fascinating overview of one of the world’s most unusual creatures, the armadillo.