Saturday, March 22, 2008

Florida's Famous Animals by JG Annino

Florida's Famous Animals: True Stories of Sunset Sam the Dolphin, Snooty the Manatee, Big Guy the Panther, and Others by JG Annino

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Globe Pequot (February 12, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0762741368
ISBN-13: 978-0762741366

I'm always a sucker for books about animals, so I jumped at the chance when the author herself offered up a copy of this book for me to review. Florida's Famous Animals features the stories of 13 Floridian animals who've made the news.

Some animals we learn more about include:
  • Dave, the Parade Cat, a feline who loved parades and actually led many by riding on the shoulders of his human, the "Catman."
  • Lu the hippo, an animal actor who developed a special bond with fellow actor, Susie the donkey
  • Jet the airport dog whose "job" was to chase flocks of birds away from the path of airplanes
My personal favorite story in the book is that of Sunset Sam, a dolphin who was discovered stuck in a mud flap near death. We learn all about Sunset Sam's rescue and recovery and the disabilities that prevented him from being able to be returned to the wild.

Each animal story also includes boxes with more information, fun facts, and links to more resources about that type of animal. For example, in Maya the Mystery Owl's story, we learn about some "Owl Oddities," and get a list of owl species that naturally prowl in Florida. Annino also includes links to online owl resources, including the Nature of Conservatory's site about the Owls featured in Harry Potter.

My only wish is that the book would have included color photographs of the animals like we see on the cover instead of black and white. This is a book that older children will enjoy reading on their own, and younger children will enjoy hearing read to them. Floridians will especially enjoy reading more about the animals they've heard about in the news.

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