Monday, September 22, 2008

Animals at the Edge: Saving the World's Rarest Creatures by Jonathan and Marilyn Baillie

Animals at the EDGE: Saving the World's Rarest Creatures by Jonathan and Marilyn Baillie

Happy Nonfiction Monday! Be sure to visit Anastasia Suen's Picture Book of the Day for lots of nonfiction choices.

This week, I'm serving up a brand new book that introduces children to 11 of the world's rarest and endangered creatures and the scientists that study them. The featured animals in the book are all part of the Zoological Society of London's EDGE (Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered) project.

The book is organized into spreads that provide interesting facts about an endangered animal, a narrative from the scientist who studies it, and a notebook with the scientist's field notes.

Image courtesy Maple Tree Press

In the featured spread above, the endangered animal is the long-eared Jerboa, a mouse-sized animal that lives in the desert of China and Mongolia. Little is known about this mysterious animal, including reasons why it's disappearing. That's what scientists like Uuganbadrakh Oyunkhishig, the scientist in this particular spread, are trying to find out so they can save it from extinction.

The content in the book is written in digestible chunks in "kid-friendly," "you-centered" language. The scientists write their narratives in first person as if they are talking to the reader, and the inclusion of the field notes section adds a nice touch.

The end of the book contains a colorful map of Earth showing where all of the featured animals can be found, a glossary, and more information about the EDGE project.

Not only do children learn interesting information about some of Earth's endangered animals, but they get a glimpse into what it's like to be a scientist, a more "unconventional" career that may interest them. Unlike other books that "preach" about conservation, this book shows kids WHY it's important to take care of the Earth.

Learning Opportunities:
  • Use as a supplemental resource in science and social studies classrooms in units on species, conservation, geography, and endangered species
  • Visit the EDGE project's website to view more rare and endangered animals. For a project idea, kids can research and develop their own presentation about one of the animals found on the site.

More Info:
  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Maple Tree Press (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1897349335
  • ISBN-13: 978-1897349335
  • Source of book: Review copy from publisher

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