Crocodiles and alligators are incredible predators, but the excitement is lost in this book. This overview lumps the 20-plus alligator and crocodile species into one conglomerate animal. The book never specifically answers the question every kid wants to know, "What's the difference between a crocodile and alligator?" The author especially disappoints with the "What Do You Think" questions. Does anyone really expect a child to say yes, when asked, "Do you think we need to make clothing from alligator and crocodile skins?" The author cheats the reader of a true, thought-provoking experience. If the text had provided an objective look at why people and alligators or crocodiles are in competition for food and space (which is why most populations are at-risk), then asked truly thought-provoking questions, readers might have learned a bit about the challenge of finding a animal/human balance. As part of the "Amazing Animal" series, the layout provides the perfect amount of text, photos, and illustrations. It is unfortunate the text doesn't match the variety and quality of photographs. Some suggested Web sites are science oriented, but unfortunately, some offer a non-scientific political agenda inappropriate for this age. The language level is appropriate and the science, though over-generalized, is easy to understand. 2004, Smart Apple Media, Ages 7 to 9.
Gr 1-3–This well-structured if somewhat formulaic series introduces individual endangered animals. The creatures’ habitats, diets, and the threats they face are detailed through a combination of exposition and letterboxes. A “Myth and Legends” segment at the end of each book provides the opportunity to think about how the reality of the animal compares to misconceptions common where they live. For example, Elephants describes how, in Africa, many believe that the animals are lucky, and “When elephants trample crops, some people blame evil spirits instead of the elephants.” Plentiful color photographs and a range map add to the titles, and useful Web sites appear throughout. No further-reading lists are offered, although organizations dedicated to the animals’ welfare are listed as sources of further information. Competent supplements.