Children's Literature - Phyllis KennemerA fact page at the beginning informs the reader that the platypus lives in Australia at the edges of bodies of water. It eats worms, insects, fish eggs, water plants, and other small aquatic life. A platypus is an unusual type of mammal called a monotreme because it lays eggs and provides milk after the babies are hatched. The narrative then follows one platypus as she searches for food in the night, becomes pregnant, builds a nest, and lays two tiny eggs which stick to the fur on her belly. Ten days later the babies hatch and begin drinking milk through tiny holes in the mother's skin. The mother platypus must avoid predators, such as foxes, dingoes, and owls, as she searches for her own food. When the babies are six weeks old, they emerge from the nest and learn to swim. At five months old they are ready to survive on their own, and in another year and a half they will be ready to mate and produce the next generation of platypuses. Large, realistic illustrations contribute to the meaning and understanding of the descriptions. A map shows the small area of the world inhabited by platypuses, and a page of "Fun Facts" adds further details about this unusual species. Includes a glossary, a bibliography, and an index. "Caroline Arnold's Animals" series. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
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