Children's Literature - Debra Lampert-RudmanThe elegant, hairless, black-and-white sphynx cat poised on the cover of this library title invites the curious to learn more about this unusual cat breed. The hairless cat was first bred by Aztecs hundreds of years ago, but the sphynx cat is a relatively recent discovery. It was discovered in Canada in 1966 when a black-and-white short-haired cat gave birth to a hairless kitten. A modern breeding program was started to establish the hairless mutation in a cat line. Information about the cat's beginnings as a genetics experiment invites discussion of life sciences. The cat's lively, intelligent nature is explored on full-page, color photographs of various shapes, colors, and sizes. There are no photographs of these cats with children, however it is noted that they need a lot of attention from people to keep them happy. Chapters entitled "Size," "Care," and "Feeding" detail the obvious needs every cat has, with some sentences on the sphynx cats' particular needs. The "Kittens" and "Buying a Kitten" chapters go into more detail and help prospective owners discover if this unusual breed is for them. Large type, short sentences, and clear graphics help even below-level readers gain confidence in chapters, including "Lions, Tigers, and Cats," in which a brief history of the cat is discussed. Definitions of "dander," "litter box," "mutation," and "phenomenon" are listed in a small glossary along with 10 other words common to all ABDO Cats Series books. The subchapter on Web sites provides links to further study on sphynx cats by directing readers to www.abdopub.com. Sphynx Cats is part of the "ABDO Checkerboard Animal LibraryCats Set IV" breed-specific books. Parents,librarians, and teachers will want to collect them all, since each is well written, engaging, and captures the essence of its particular breed while supporting national science standards related to life science.
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