Friday, February 8, 2013

Cabin Fever Cure - Animal Show-offs

Got Cabin Fever? No problem - just grab a cool book and find a warm spot and everything will be all right.
Weird and Wonderful Show-Offs
by Margaret McPhee
64 pages; ages 6 & up
Kingfisher, 2011

Another book brimming with bold, bright photos, and perfect for browsing. There are three main sections: colorful creatures; animals of the land, air and sea; and courtship and mating. Each spread focuses on a specific "show-off" adaptation, with an introductory paragraph and extended captions that accompany the photos.

Warning Colors, for example, opens by explaining that some animals are brightly colored to warn predators "I taste bad". Captions under the photos of poison arrow frogs explain how the frogs accumulate toxins and release those poisons through pores in their skin. Other photos illustrate orange and black patterns of butterflies, ladybugs and other insects that warn of bad tasting chemicals. The occasional question is posed (answers given at bottom of the page) and there are some great close-ups.

McPhee shines a Spotlight on noteworthy animals and behaviors. For example, she spotlights butterflies, hummingbirds, and giant beetles. She also shines a spotlight on how animals draw attention to themselves using sounds and signals. Think crickets, cicadas and grasshoppers. And there are any number of photos featuring showy feathers, tails, and antennae. And - just in time for Valentine's Day - there's a section on gift-giving. Did you know that some insects offer bits of leaves, seed tufts or silk balloons as tokens of true love?

 Check out more science resources over at STEM Friday. Review copy provided by publisher.

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