The photograph of the coyote howling on the cover will grab an audience for this book, a title in the "North American Animals" series. Each book in the series covers the habitat, physical appearance, diet, and reproduction and birth of a North American animal. In addition, the books cover the risks to the animal's welfare in the wild. In this title, readers learn about coyotes. Although the book includes some vocabulary beyond the reach of most beginning readers and the glossary is well above this reading range, the author does an excellent job of making the information kid friendly. She explains concepts such as coyotes being scavengers in a simple, clear manner. Each book in the series is approximately 200 words in length and has been assigned a grade 1 reading level. Each book also includes small maps and full color photographs on the recto pages, some of which bleed across the page onto the verso page. In addition to the glossary, back matter includes suggestions for further reading and research and an index. This title might work as independent reading with minimal assistance, but it is also well suited for shared or group reading. The photographs will have the children oohing and aahing and the generous 9x12 format makes the book easy to share with even a full class. The information is given by the spoonful and the layout provides many natural places to pause for a class discussion of the unfamiliar vocabulary or concepts. The book is an excellent addition to any collection of animal books. Reviewer: Lisa Colozza Cocca
Gail Saunders-Smith is an assistant education professor at Youngstown State University in Ohio. She is also an independent staff developer, writer, and editor. She presents nationally at conferences on literacy development and instruction and has written numerous articles, children's non-fiction books, and professional resources.
Gail holds a B.S. and M.A. in Early Childhood Education from Kent State University and a M.S. in Administration and Supervision from Youngstown State University. She completed post-graduate work at The Ohio State University and earned a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from The University of Akron.
Gail is a former classroom teacher, Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, and Reading/Language Arts K-12 Supervisor and Coordinator of State and Federal Programs for the Summit County ESC.