________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 19 . . . . May 16, 2008

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What is a Carnivore? (Big Science Ideas).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $8.95 (pbk.), $25.95 (rlb.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3294-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3274-7 (rlb.).

Subject Heading:
Carnivores-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-3 / Ages 7-8.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

**½  /4

   
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What is a Herbivore? (Big Science Ideas).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $8.95 (pbk.), $25.95 (rlb.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3295-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3275-4 (rlb.).

Subject Heading:
Herbivores-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-3 / Ages 7-8.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

**½  /4

   
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What is an Omnivore? (Big Science Ideas).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $8.95 (pbk.), $25.95 (rlb.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3296-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3276-1 (rlb.).

Subject Heading:
Omnivores-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-3 / Ages 7-8.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

**½  /4

   
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What is a Vertebrate? (Big Science Ideas).

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $8.95 (pbk.), $25.95 (rlb.).           
ISBN 978-0-7787-3297-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3277-8 (rlb.).

Subject Heading:
Vertebrates-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-3 / Ages 7-8.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

**½  /4

excerpt:

The leaves of acacia trees are also hard to eat. Giraffes can reach these leaves, but they cannot eat too many. A few minutes after a giraffe starts eating the leaves, the acacia tree makes the leaves taste bitter. Giraffes must then move to new trees to eat. (From What is a Herbivore?)

 

These four titles from the "Big Science Ideas" series each average 14 chapters and include a table of contents, an index and a glossary. Two of the titles include an activity at the back of the book. The text, printed in a large font with plenty of white space between the lines, is, in most cases, restricted to 3-5 sentences per page. Among the four titles, there is some overlap of information; in fact, in couple of the titles, the text on the first page is identical. Inconsistency is a problem in the series. Some examples: the first two titles are much easier reads than the latter; and the activities at the back of the books vary from a simple matching game, in which readers are asked to match the photos of three different animals with the animals' skeletons, to the difficult task of matching the scientific names of herbivores to the foods that they eat. Words such as palynivore, xylophase and frugivore, to name a few, are far removed from the rest of the vocabulary in the book. The illustrations, on the other hand, are excellent, and consist of vibrant colour photographs and drawings or diagrams.

     What is a Carnivore? provides information about each of the major animal groups and the types of food that they eat. Other topics include the special physical adaptations which enable the animal to eat a specific type of food, energy in relation to food chains, scavengers and decomposers, and plant carnivores.

     The focus of What is a Herbivore? is on the different types and parts of plants that animals eat- grasses, leaves, seeds, bark, fruit, nectar and pollen. Even some ocean dwellers, such as dugongs and manatees, are considered grazers, while animals whose desert habitat provides little or no water get their moisture from plants.

     What is an Omnivore? introduces readers to the term "opportunistic feeders" and describes the function of the various types of teeth (e.g. a horse's large incisors are for biting plants, while premolars and molars chew and grind the plant material to make it easier to swallow). In this book, there is more emphasis on animals which live in or near people's homes, some examples being houseflies, cockroaches and raccoons. A few of the sentences might be a bit confusing for youngsters- "Red foxes are carnivores that live as omnivores."

     Finally, What is a Vertebrate? focuses on the skeletons of various animals, including the cartilaginous skeletons of sharks and rays, and explains how skeletons help animals move.

     Due to some of the books' inconsistencies, the small amount of information provided and "filler" material, this series should only be purchased by school libraries with money to spare.

Recommended with reservations.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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