9781625880314. ea vol: 24p. (North American Mammals Series). glossary. illus. index. notes. photos. websites. Smart Apple Media. 2014. lib. ed. $25.65.
Gr 2–4—In these titles written from an individual animal's perspective, the author keeps the content factual without slipping into anthropomorphism. The books open with each animal introducing itself; each species then goes on to describe its early life and family, special physical features, diet, and defensive techniques. Most titles end with the animal anticipating its transition to adult and parenthood. Mountain Lion begins with a grown animal and ends with a litter, while Brown Bear and Sea Otter stop short of adulthood. Photos are carefully matched to the text, and close-ups and labels are used occasionally. Beaver and Prairie Dog describe the animals' below-the-surface homes but never show them. The presentation has a scrapbook feel and makes use of a variety of text colors. A final facts page assumes the third-person voice and includes a size comparison between the grown animal and an average seven-year-old. Only Mountain Lion, Prairie Dog, and Sea Otter mention dwindling numbers.
Though written in the first person ("I have 42 teeth and powerful jaws..."), these books resist further personification and instead create engaging, accurate narratives about the life cycle, nurture, habitat, skills, size, and culture of their subjects. Well-selected photos closely match the text, and specific headings ("Water Baby"; "Keeping in Touch") introduce each double-spread. A fact page concludes each volume. Websites. Glos., ind. Review covers these North American Mammals titles: Beaver, Brown Bear, Gray Wolf, Mountain Lion, Prairie Dog, Raccoon, and Sea Otter.

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