Cute as an Axolotl: Discovering the World's Most Adorable Animals

illus. by David DeGrand. 48p. glossary. photos. Knopf. Aug. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781524764470. POP
Gr 3–5—Whether a creature looks like an unusual tadpole with feathery headgear (the axolotl) or an adorable miniature penguin (the 12-inch fairy penguin), readers will enjoy learning about these animals from around the world. This title has a lot of visual appeal for curious students—large photographs and cartoon graphics fill the pages. Readers might be learning about some animals like the furry little quokka from Western Australia for the first time. The author includes a page near the end called "The Science of Cute," which provides more information on how this all plays out in nature. ("Believe it or not, cuteness could be a survival strategy.") While the topic might seem lighthearted, there is enough scientific information woven into the text. Facts given about each animal include the species' name, size, diet, habitat, and predators and other threats. There is also a glossary at the back with terms like diurnal.
VERDICT A home run for public and school libraries. The subject matter, the format, and visual components make this a title that is likely to see a lot of circulation.

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