CM . . .
. Volume VIII Number 16 . . . . April 12, 2002
The newly formed butterfly pushes itself out of its chrysalis. Its wings are wet and weak, and its body is full of liquid. The monarch hangs from the empty chrysalis and flaps its wings. It pumps liquid from its body into the black veins of its wings. The wings grow bigger and stronger as the veins fill with liquid.
Identical in format, the titles in this series provide ample information for beginning researchers. Consisting of 14 or 15 chapters each, they begin with a table of contents and include a glossary and an index. Each book starts with the classification of the featured animal, followed by information about the animal's life cycle, life span, home, food and courtship rituals. There is also a chapter devoted to environmental concerns specific to the animal and a list of websites for various conservation and environmental organizations. Large print and short, simple sentences make the text easy for youngsters to comprehend. Words written in boldface type appear in the glossary. A bright cover and an attractive layout will capture the reader's attention. Abundant, full-colour photographs, maps, diagrams and watercolour illustrations add visual appeal and suit the text.
An excellent series with just enough information for young readers.
The Life Cycle of a Sea Turtle.
This title begins with an explanation of the differences between land turtles and sea turtles and provides illustrations of each of the seven types of sea turtles. One of the main highlights is the story of the female turtle's returning to the beach where she was born to lay her eggs. Scientists believe that this phenomenon could be due either to the magnetic pull of the earth or to the turtle's recognition of certain odors carried by ocean currents.
The Life Cycle of a Koala.
Long a favourite of children and perhaps Australia's best-known marsupial, the koala makes for interesting reading. This title focuses on the koala's physical adaptations for survival, its home range and its picky eating habits.
The Life Cycle of a Whale.
Though reference is made to all whales, this book most often features the humpback whale. Whale migration (due to the animal's built-in "compass"- magnetite in the brain which helps whales to sense changes in the earth's magnetic field), the protective relationship between the cow and the calf, how whales learn to swim through play, competition for a mate and whale communication are the main topics covered.
The Life Cycle of a Frog.
Courting rituals, how frogs survive both heat and cold (estivation and hibernation) and the frog's usefulness as an indicator species are featured in this title. (Frogs are particularly sensitive to their surroundings, making them an indicator species as to the health of their environment.)
The Life Cycle of a Butterfly.
From egg to larva to pupa to adult, this insect's life cycle is one of the most fascinating to youngsters. In this book, readers will learn more about the changes that happen inside the chrysalis. Other topics include monarch migration (the monarch is the only butterfly that migrates), how to attract butterflies to a garden and instructions for raising a monarch butterfly.
The Life Cycle of a Bird.
This title features topics such as eggs (size, shape and colour), imprinting, the differences between precocial (ground-dwelling) and altricial (mostly tree-dwelling) birds, courtship displays, feeding and types of nests. There is also some information on how to create a bird-friendly backyard.
Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School in East St. Paul,
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