Monday, August 15, 2011

Nonfiction Monday - Fastest and Slowest

Author:  Camilla De la Bédoyère
Publisher: Firefly Books
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 32 pages
Grades: K-4

Quick! Before you peak at the cover to the left, what animals come to mind when you think about speed? Which ones stand out as slow?

When my son handed me this book and I saw the cheetah and sloth on the cover, I didn't think there would be much new ground to cover. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the organization of the book and the variety of animals described.

This title in the Animal Opposites series is divided into a series two-page informational sections. It begins with On the Move which provides a brief introduction to types of animal movement. The next section, A Need for Speed, explains why speed is often key to a species survival, whether it be to catch prey or avoid becoming a meal for someone else. Go Slow further explains that some animals use lack of speed for survival as well, moving so slowly that they are more easily camouflaged. Additional sections focus on swimmers, flyers, runners, diggers/burrowers, climbers, slitherers, mini-movers, weird walkers, energy savers, and growers.

The double page spreads are filled with vivid photographs and sidebars that describe animal record breakers or show others in actual size (ruler-included). To get a feel for the book's layout, take a look at these sample pages. While the topics are covered with more breadth than depth, there is an amazing wealth of information and odd factoids that many students will find engaging.
 Here are some of the interesting things I learned while reading this book.
  • Gentoo penguins are the fastest underwater birds, reaching a speed of 22 miles (36 km) per hour in short bursts.
  • One mole can dig 65 feet (20 meters) of tunnel in a single day.
  • The Potoo bird spends all day motionless where it positions itself in a tree and mimics a branch.
The book contains a table of contents, glossary of terms, index, and activity suggestions for parents and teachers.

Overall, this book will appeal to reluctant readers, as well as kids with an interest in animals.

This book was written for Nonfiction Monday. Today's host is Amy O'Quinn. Do stop by and check out the titles being shared this week.

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