CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 9 . . . . January 6, 2006
Pamela Hickman explains that hibernators are divided into two groups. True hibernators, such as chipmunks, insects, toads and snakes, lower their body temperatures and partly freeze their bodies. On the other hand, deep sleepers, such as skunks, raccoons and bears, only lower their body temperature slightly and may wake up on any mild day.
This fascinating book is also filled with interesting facts like these: Water-holding frogs live most of the year buried in an underground burrow; the Arctic ground squirrel is the only known mammal that can survive dropping its body temperature to -2°C to -3°C, whereas people cannot survive a body temperature lower than +32°C.
When we think of hibernation, we think of cold climates, but some desert animals also seek shelter and become inactive for long periods of time to avoid high heat and drought conditions. This is called "aestivation."
There are three simple experiments that the reader can try. Each experiment has easy-to-follow, step-by-step directions that explain heart rate, why true hibernators' blood does not freeze, and why animals curl up when they hibernate.
Some of the pages have a sidebar titled, "If you were a ..." that gives short, bullet facts about a specific animal.
The illustrations by Pat Stephens are beautifully drawn; the page with the sleepy black bear is stunning! The book has a table of contents, an index and a glossary. It would be a useful addition to any library and perfect for a unit on how animals prepare for winter.
Patricia Fay is a teacher-librarian at Beaumont Elementary School in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.