The Secret Lives of Animals
The Secret Lives of Animals is the perfect mix of field guide know-how and armchair entertainment. In addition to the standard field guide notes and range maps, the meat of the book will offer up “spark moments” in nature—something fascinating or memorable that catches your attention and sets you on a path of lifelong learning. The Secret Lives of Animals will feature more than 100 North American animals and over 1,000 tidbits in a fun, colorful, illustrated format.
My ReviewI fell in love with the book The Secret Lives of Animals from the moment I started skimming through the pages. As a scientist, I love any book that invites children to not only read about nature, but to also get out into nature. This book shares over 1000 facts about 128 animals. Each description of an animal includes an illustration, several little known facts about that animal, information about the types, size, eating habits, and location of the animal, and sometimes a hint on how to find this animal out in nature. There are also several science question and answer sections that encourage the reader to dig deeper into a specific concept about animals. The authors also choose several world animals that children might not be familiar with to be featured in "Animal All-Star" sections throughout the book.
The beauty of this book is that a good deal of the animals represented are within reach for a child to seek out and find. Almost all of the 128 animals showcased in the book are from North America. As a family, we read about deer, squirrels, turkeys, and goldfinches.Sometimes we would read about an animal and then go out into nature to find them, like we did with deer and turkeys. Other times, we would look up fun facts about the animal after spotting them in real life, like we did with squirrels and goldfinches.
The Secret Lives of Animals is interesting enough to be read from start to finish. However, I recommend that parents encourage their children skip around the book and read whatever strikes their fancy. I think parents would be pleasantly surprised how much those children who are classically viewed as not interested in reading will get lost in this book. The sections about each animal are short enough to not be overwhelming to a reluctant reader.
This book would also make a great selection to include in an elementary school science classroom, mainly because it makes learning about animals so accessible. Teachers could feature an animal a day throughout the school year or use it as a reference anytime in animals is brought up in discussion.
Overall, I highly recommend this book for any child who is interested in learning more about animals.
FTC Required Disclosures:
*I received a review copy from the author free of charge. All opinions expressed in this review represent my honest opinions about the book.
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Stacy Tornio is an Oklahoma girl at heart, though she’s lived in Wisconsin for the last 10 years. As editor of Birds & Blooms Magazine, Stacy is able to share her love of backyard nature. Her first book, Cathy’s Animal Garden, takes readers on a picture journey into the neighbor’s scary backyard in search of a homerun baseball. Project Garden, her recent book, is a monthly guide filled with activities to keep the whole family gardening all year long. Along with her husband, Steve, Stacy enjoys watching her two children explore nature in their Milwaukee backyard and on trips up north.
Ken Keffer was born and raised in Wyoming. A vagabond naturalist, he’s done a little bit of everything, from monitoring mice and vole populations and picking up carnivore scat in Grand Teton National Park to researching flying squirrels in the Tongass National Forest of southeast Alaska, and monitoring Bactrian camels in Mongolia’s Great Gobi Strictly Protected Area. He’s also worked as an environmental educator in Wyoming, northern New Mexico, coastal Maryland, and along the shores of Lake Erie in Ohio. Ken enjoys birding, floating on lazy rivers, and fly fishing in the mountains out west.
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