By: Lola M. Schaefer
Illustrated by: Christopher Silas Neal
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: September 2013
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: July 2013
The little cross spider was hiding in the shadow of the garden leaves. She had spun her “papery egg sac,” the only one she would spin in her lifetime. Can you imagine, only one? On the other hand, the large mountain caribou “will grow and shed 10 sets of antlers” in his lifetime. There are many different numbers in the lifetime of animals in the wild and in captivity. Take for example the “alpaca will grow 20 different fleeces.” You can see all the piles of fleece on the barn floor as the farmer whizzes and whirs his handpiece across the body of the alpaca. Buzzzz!
Pileated woodpeckers “rat-a-tat-tat-tat-tat” their way through the woods as they drill an amazing “30 roosting holes in the woods.” The trees are marked with all kinds of holes they call their home. Can you find the woodpecker sticking his head out taking a peek at the forest around him? The rattlesnakes rattle their way through the grasses, the kangaroo watches over her little joeys as they hop in front of her throughout her lifetime, and you can take a look at the bottlenose dolphin who has an amazing “100 teeth to grab food from the sea.” There are so many interesting numbers you will be able to see in the lifetimes of animals around you!
This is a fascinating look at animal “numbers” children will love to explore. Set up in picture book format, this beginning nonfiction book will appeal to nonreaders to the confident ones. The artwork, rendered in mixed media, will appeal to young readers, who will be counting everything from the rattlesnake's beads to the alligator’s eggs. In the back of the book there are discussions of the animals in the book which includes information about their scientific name, habitat, average life span, etc. Animals included are the cross spider, mountain caribou, alpaca, eastern diamondback rattlesnake, red kangaroo, bottlenose dolphin, giraffe, American alligator, giant swallowtail, and the spotted seahorse. Also included is an informative section on averages and an “I Love Math” activity.
Quill says: If you have a youngster just beginning to learn about animal science, this is the perfect book to introduce a few math facts along with it!