Friday, January 11, 2019

Super Beaver and more ....

Somehow (and I am not at all sure how this happened!) my book basket is overflowing. So today I'm reviewing two animal books. First - an animal with superpowers!

Beavers (Superpower Field Guide) 
by Rachel Poliquin; illus. by Nicholas John Frith 
96 pages; ages 7 - 10 
HMH Books for Young Readers, 2018

I'm a sucker for field guides. The more, the merrier. This one is a bit different than the others, though. For one thing, this field guide focuses on only one animal - and a mammal, at that. Plus, it highlights superpowers.

Who knew beavers have superpowers? Obviously Rachel Poloquin - and she gets right to them early in the book For example, beavers have chainsaw teeth! They have the incredible scuba head. They have paws of power. These powers - and more - make beavers true Wetlands Warriors!

But first: an announcement from our sponsor, the rodent family. Beavers, it turns out, have lots of relatives - from mice to porcupines. One thing they all have in common: ever-growing teeth. Beaver's teeth are three inches long!. That's what makes them super. And powerful.

For each superpower, Rachel gives us the low-down. For example, the super unstoppable fur. It might not stop a speeding bullet, but it can stop rain, snow, sleet... if it stopped dark of night, beavers would make perfect mail-deliverers. If you count the number of hairs in a square inch (and apparently scientists have done this), beavers have 100,000 hairs. You have only 1,000 hairs per square inch on your head.

Beavers are amazing architects, building dams and lodges that withstand the test of time. If you want to learn how to build a dam, Rachel offers step-by-step directions. Also instructions for how to build your own underwater lodge. All you need are teeth like chainsaws, paws of power, and a place to build.

There are tons of fun sidebars, facts and maps, and the occasional quiz (with answers, of course). Plus a final section highlighting how beavers help create wetlands. In fact, scientists are thinking of putting beavers to work as a watershed management tool, restoring wetlands in dry areas. Check out this article and this one.

Now to some real cuties. Awww..... who doesn't love piglets and pugs! But behind those cute faces are warrior spirits.

Piglets vs. Pugs
by Julie Beer
64 pages; ages 6-9
National Geographic Children's Books, 2018

This is another animal face-off, complete with a boxing ring, fans, and sports commentators. And this time it's a head-to-head battle of the bulgiest.

First we meet the contestants. Each is introduced using their secret scientific name, and we learn a bit of their evolutionary history. Did you know that pugs are one of the oldest breeds of dog, getting their start in Tibet? They have long been a favorite of Royal Families. Pigs were domesticated more recently, within the last 10,000 years. But they also have their fans.

Flip through the pages and you find how each compares in IQ tests - OK, not real IQ tests, but intelligence testing of some sort. Author Julie Beer raises important questions: 
  • if put on a track, who would win?
  • who has the curliest tail?
  • which has the biggest mouth?
  • best sniffer - pug or piglet?
There's even a talent portion to this beauty contest animal face-off. Read well, because...
... there's a QUIZ at the end: Are you a piglet or a pug? 

Today we're joining other book bloggers over at STEM Friday, where you can discover other cool STEM books. Review copies provided by publishers.

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