Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Hidden in Plain Sight

When I was young I often wished for clothing that resembled the woods around my home, largely because I wanted to win at hide and seek. I so wanted to be the last person found. Blending in with one's environment can come in handy, particularly when someone wants to make a meal of you. Camouflage is nature's way of hiding animals in plain sight. While those stripes may make a tiger stand out in his/her zoo home, they allow him/her to vanish in that stand of tall grass in the wild.

Whether it's zebra stripes, a body shaped like a stick, or fur that changes color with the seasons, an animal's ability to camouflage itself is an amazing adaptation. In this list you will find some books that will help you uncover the mysteries of this art of disguise.
  • What Color is Camouflage? by Carolyn Otto - This book in the Let's Read-and-Find-Out Science series examines camouflage as an animal defense. It also looks at how camouflage helps the predator.
  • I See Animals Hiding by Jim Arnosky - With watercolor paintings that demonstrate what is described in the text, this book shows readers how protective coloration, body shape, and seasonal changes in fur help animals survive.
  • Where in the Wild? Camouflaged Creatures Concealed . . . and Revealed by David Schwartz - I'm crazy about the work of David Schwartz, so I was thrilled when this new title came across my desk. In it, ten photographs hold artfully camouflaged creatures. Can you find them? Lift the gatefold to find out. These amazing images are accompanied by poems that offer clues to each animal's identity and whereabouts.
  • The Rainbow Tiger by Gayle Nordholm - When a tiger spies a peacock and wishes to be more beautiful, she magically turns a rainbow color. What will happen she loses her ability to disappear in the bushes?
  • Swimmy by Leo Lionni - This wonderful tale describes what happens when a little black fish in a school of red fish figures out a unique way to use camouflage to protect the group.
  • We Hide, You Seek by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey - The animals in this story have convinced rhino to play hide and seek. Now, he must find them camouflaged in their natural habitats.
  • Hidden Animals by Valerie Guidoux - This title from the Explore Your World series introduces and explains seasonal changes in animal color, fish and insects that look like plants, animals, insects and fish that can quickly change color, and how animals hide in plain sight.
  • Clever Chameleon by Alison Lodge - Written in rhyme, this story follows a group of animals as they play hide and seek. As the story unfolds, readers will learn how animals hide and disguise themselves in different surroundings. Children will also love trying to find the clever chameleon hiding in each scene.
  • Douglas Florian has produced many poetry books about animals, with some of these poems focused on camouflage. In lizards, frogs, and polliwogs you will find a poem called The Chameleon. In insectlopedia you will find two poems. One is The Io Moth, the other is The Walkingstick.
      The Walkingstick
      The walkingstick is thin, not thick,
      and has a disappearing trick:
      By looking like a twig or stalk,
      It lives another day to walk.
This wraps up a lengthy series on animal adaptations. I hope you find some useful resources here. If I've missed any of your favorites, please let me know. I'd be happy to add them to the list.

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