Today's books celebrate the small, the slow, and the really, really stinky!
Themes: animals, adaptation, nonfiction
by Melissa Stewart; illus. by Stephanie Laberis
32 pages; ages 4-8
Peachtree Publishers, 2018
Everyone loves elephants. They're so big and strong. Everyone respects cheetahs. They're so fast and fierce.
But this book isn't about those guys. It's about animals that people tend to overlook. The tiny animals. The slo-o-o-ow ones. The stinky critters we'd rather not get too close to.
What I like about this book: The language is fun: "puny peewees"! Lively verbs like skedaddle and skitter. I like that some of the animals featured are clumsy - like the western fence lizard that sometimes falls off a tree branch. The animals too tiny to capture for supper. And that characteristics we might think of as weaknesses are actually adaptations for survival.
I also like the illustrations - the animals retain their factual appearances but Stephanie Laberis endows them with expressive faces. And there's back matter - a spread with more information about each animal.
by Steve Jenkins
40 pages; ages 6-9
HMH Books for Young Readers, 2018
Whew! Some animals produce strong smells...
They put stinky liquid on rocks or branches to mark their territories. They use odors to defend themselves. And some are smellier than a skunk!
What I like about this book: We get to meet twenty different animals that embrace bad odor, from stink bombs to smelly threads to yukky slime and smelly bird farts. Each page introduces one or two stinky critters and shows where in the world they live.
Back matter includes a glossary and bibliography.
Beyond the Books:
Make a list of the animals (pets included) that live in your neighborhood, local parks, or city zoo. What are the tiniest ones you've seen? Which are the slowest movers? Are any of them stinky?
Could any of the underdog adaptations (smell, slowness, small size) be useful to a superhero? Create a superhero with an unexpected superpower and tell how they use it.
Check out some of the activities in the teacher's guide - and the map - at the Peachtree website.
STEM Friday roundup - and we're also joining other reviewers over at Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review copies from the publishers.