CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 3 . . . . September 29, 2006
The 48 page book opens with engaging anecdotes describing coin-stealing starlings, other birds that have learned to sample cream from milk bottles and monkeys that copy the potato-washing habits they've observed. In six additional chapters, the author brings the extensive research of scientists to a kid-friendly level with brief and clear accounts. For example, following World War II, rats in Berlin learned to avoid poisoned bait after their first taste. Wild monkeys may fear boa constrictors, but those born in captivity tolerate them. While a few of the examples may be familiar to young readers (such as the use of tools by chimpanzees in Tanzania), the idea of orcas actively choosing to teach their young to snatch seals from shore may be new. A curious reader will appreciate the bibliography of 17 books for further reading. The lengthy bibliography included is an indication of the depth of up-to-date research involved in selecting facts for this text.
The book is illustrated with color photos. Generous use of trivia boxes add interest. The book will find a keen audience as a source of initial research into a fascinating topic, or may be enjoyed for leisure reading about the wonder to be found in the study of nature.
BC's Gillian Richardson is a freelance writer and former teacher-librarian.
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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.