Children's Literature - Keri Collins LewisPenguins, some of the most unique birds in the world, take center stage in Raatma's engaging and fact-filled nonfiction book for young readers. Emperor penguins may be the most well-known species, but there are seventeen additional species of penguins living in both cold and warm climates. The book covers a broad range of information, from how penguins build nests and raise their young to physical traits that help them survive in the water. Considering the numerous differences between the various penguin species, Raatma does a good job of weaving together a cohesive and engaging story full of fascinating trivia balanced with basic facts. Information about prehistoric penguins and the dangers facing today's birds caused by oil spills, environmental pollution, and habitat loss give readers an understanding of the delicate edge upon which penguins balance. For example, the 1982 El Nino cycle decimated Peru's population of Humboldt penguins and killed nearly three-quarters of the Galapagos penguins. An extensive glossary contains words highlighted in red in the book's text and their definitions. A simple habitat map displays the world's continents and oceans, with penguin habitats identified both by color and text label. A table of contents and an index support students' need to locate information. While there is a page suggesting additional resources, it is not extensive. The appeal of this title, part of the "Nature's Children" series, is its vivid, close-up, full-color photographs that place young readers eye-to-eye with a variety of penguins in their natural settings. Reviewer: Keri Collins Lewis
Children's LiteratureThis informative, nonfiction picture book is designed for elementary school animal reports. In this title, which is part of the "First Reports" series, the reader learns about penguins¾penguin habitats, families, eating and living habits, and penguins interaction with people. Short sentences with large-font text combine with exquisite color photographs to allow even young children to glean and interpret information about penguins. Each book in the series has a table of contents, index, glossary and an interesting "At a Glance" section. 2001, Compass Point, $21.26. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Wendy Pollock-Gilson
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 2-4-This serviceable series is aptly named. The books are carefully divided into typical report topics: physical characteristics, food, habitat, birth and young, species, and relationship to humans. The controlled vocabulary and sentence length, the typeface, and the page layout make them seem a bit like basal readers. The lack of variation in sentence structure gives a choppy tone but also makes information easy to harvest. Sharp, full-color photos are well placed to elucidate the text. New terms are clearly explained. Penguins has one error: the author states that the largest penguins grow to be three-and-a-half feet tall, then writes that the emperor penguin grows to be four feet tall. Not distinguished but useful for those who want "just the facts, ma'am."-Ellen Heath, Orchard School, Ridgewood, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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