Actual-size illustrations of animal tracks around the world join rhymes that point to the animals’ identities: “A long-toed jumper in the arid Outback/ hopped through the dry brush and left this track.... Who was here?” While the verse offers so many clues that guessing the animals won’t prove too difficult for many readers, the revelation of the animals on the following pages can still hold some surprises—a combination of huge footprints paired with V-shaped marks in the mud were left by “a hippo and an egret,” while two-toed prints and long curving marks are indicative of a camel and a snake. Posada’s lush watercolor-and-collage illustrations gracefully enhance this guess-the-animal book. Ages 5–9. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Elizabeth Young
What a fun way to learn about animal tracks! Writing in verse, Posada describes an animal track, then asks: “Who was here?” Turning the colorful double-page spread page, readers find the answer and a few more tidbits about the animal making the tracks. Readers learn about a black bear, wolf, moose, red kangaroo, hippopotamus, egret, beaver, camel, horned viper, and a jaguar. Each track is shown actual size, drawn into the animals’ natural habitat. The illustrations of the animals making the tracks are not life size, but with realistic markings and in their native environment. Following the text are clues to enhance your animal tracker detecting skills, plus websites and a brief bibliography for further investigating. The possibilities for animal tracks are many; instructors should be able to create a track identification resource of their own depicting native fauna, using what is presented in this book as a springboard to more intense animal examination. One fun diversion might be to ‘place’ each animal with their tracks on a map showing where they are found to weave a geography lesson with this science study. It is also a great book to be enjoyed on its own. Reviewer: Elizabeth Young; Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—This informational picture book focuses on the footprints of wild animals from all around the world. For each animal, there's a rhyming verse, followed by the refrain "Who was here?" along with a life-size footprint on the appropriate terrain (for instance, a camel footprint is portrayed on desert sand). The next page reveals the animal, as well as additional facts. Some pages portray two (such as a wolf hunting a moose, or a hippo and an egret). A wide variety of animals are covered (a bear, a kangaroo, a beaver, and a jaguar, among others). Children will find these queries challenging but rewarding. Posada's typical collage style is used. Illustrations are detailed in texture and color and will attract readers' attention. A solid combination of facts and poetry. Pick this one up, if budgets allow.—Sandra Welzenbach, Villarreal Elementary School, San Antonio, TX
Even the very young can identify animal tracks when it's made this much fun. Rhyming couplets that give clues to an animal's identity and accompany illustrations of life-size (but admittedly not always realistically spaced) tracks and a few habitat clues encourage children to guess who made the print. "Round footprints left by two-toed feet / pressed into the sand in the desert heat. / This animal lives without water for days, / traveling under scorching sun rays." Snaking (literally) between the prints is a long, S-shaped line. The turn of the page reveals the tracks' makers—"A camel and a snake!"—and a paragraph of information about these animals (dromedary camels and horned vipers) follows. Other featured animals include black bear, gray wolves, moose, kangaroos, hippos, cattle egrets, beavers and a jaguar. Posada's illustrations give great clues, and the answer pages mostly show both close-ups of the animals and at least one full-body image against the animals' habitat. Backmatter encourages readers to use all the clues a track gives to identify the animal: number of toes, whether claws are visible or not, size of the track, how deeply impressed the track is, how far apart they're spaced, etc. Tracks of nonfeatured animals in the background of the page challenge readers. The only thing that's missing is an instructional note about using paper cups and plaster of Paris to cast found tracks. Naturalists will be enthralled. (websites, further reading, answer key) (Informational picture book. 4-9)