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Children's LiteratureIncredible photographs fill this book regarding the natural defense mechanisms of animal and plants. This colorful nonfiction picture book features sections regarding armor-coated animals, stinging plants, and mammals that play dead. Some of the animals and plants' ways of protecting themselves are well known such as the skunk spraying his foul smelling scent, a turtle hiding in his hard shell or a cactus protecting itself with sharp needles. Nonetheless, readers can marvel at new concepts such as the eucalyptus tree's leaves containing tannin that makes it hard for animals to digest food or how the platypus has spurs on its back legs that inject a toxic substance into its enemies. The text, chunked into short sections, is accompanied by the beautiful photos, many of which present close ups of the subjects. Each pages also has a "Nature Note" that highlights an animal or plant. For example, page 32 features the boxer crab who protects itself by carrying stinging sea anemones around with it. Scientific terms are in bold and crossed referenced in a glossary, and a handy index is included. The amazing photos will appeal to the youngest of readers, but the reading level of the text due to its scientific terms is most appropriate for middle readers. The book works great for units on nature and can spur further research for interested students. Part of the "World of Wonder" series. 2003, Creative Education, Ages 8 to 12.
— Patricia Silverberg