Offering fascinating insight into life in the grassland, this book follows an ostrich through its day as it sleeps, eats, and moves.

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Offering fascinating insight into life in the grassland, this book follows an ostrich through its day as it sleeps, eats, and moves.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Denise A. Lockett
This book is an early reader's introduction to the exotic ostrich. From the "A Day in the Life: Grassland Animals" series, it offers an inquisitorial opportunity to meet the featured animal, with contents arranged by question-focused themes such as: "What is it?", "What do they look like?", and "Where do they live?" The young reader is immediately engaged by illustrative comparisons (e.g., the ostrich lay eggs "as big as a medium-sized melon," larger than those produced by any other bird; it has striking eyes "as big as baseballs"). The ostrich stands "taller than most men," a fact that features a wonderful accompanying photo depicting an ostrich towering over two wildebeests. In general, the photo selections ably illustrate the text and develop the day-in-the-life theme. However, the labeling of some photos is awkward. For example, "What do ostriches eat?" offers a "food" label with the pointer indicating the bird's swollen neck; that the food inside is not seen could confuse a struggling reader. Still, most of the photos are striking and appropriate, such as that of a balletic bird caught mid-stride, ably illustrating the fact that ostriches "can run quickly if they spot trouble." The author imparts engaging information while exploring the day-to-day routines of her subject; as an example, she offers the detail that ostriches eat sand and small stones to grind up the food they swallow. However, some of the presentation is not always as careful. The detail that ostriches "run twice as fast as a human" is meant to engage, but begs the question, "Which human?" A few other problems distract from the otherwise compelling text: The entire series is peppered with occasional exclamation marks which are not only unnecessary, but also distracting ("To keep warm, an ostrich wraps its wings around itself like a blanket!"), and there is a two-page section about night behavior that is accompanied by daytime rather than nighttime photos. These problems are evident in other books in this series as well. Because this series is aimed at very early readers, these distractions are more troubling than they would be for older readers; these glitches may confuse young readers searching for textual and visual cues to significance and meaning. One of the strengths of this book and the series as a whole is the inclusion of a section about the young of the species, which is sure to find sympathy among the child reader. This section features remarkable photos and describes the ostriches' communal approach to nesting, with eggs monitored by males during the night and females during the day. A wonderful photo depicts newly-hatched chicks, with one emerging. Information about the natural predators of the featured animal is also providers. Many different animals hunt ostriches. Eggs and chicks may fall prey to the mongoose, while cheetahs, lions, leopards wild dogs and hyenas hunt the adult ostriches. Each volume of the series offers the cleverly titled "Body Map" of its featured animal, with simple labels identifying the major parts. The back of each book offers a finding game, a reference list including up-to-date websites, and a glossary. Words included in the glossary are found in bold in the main text. Also included is a photo spotting game: "Can you find this in the book?" On the whole, this series satisfies its purpose of introducing early readers to animals by habitat. These books provide information in a manner likely to kindle further interest and questions. Reviewer: Denise A. Lockett
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781432947408
  • Publisher: Heinemann-Raintree
  • Publication date: 1/1/2011
  • Series: A Day in the Life: Grassland Animals Series
  • Pages: 24
  • Sales rank: 702,924
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 5.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Louise Spilsbury is a very experienced author of nonfiction books for young people. Her writing covers a wide range of topics from animals and science to history and social studies.

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