River Rescue, by Jennifer Keats Curtis & Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Inc./Illustrated by Tammy Yee, (Feb. 2019, Arbordale), $17.95, ISBN: 9781607188230
River Rescue illustrates how an oil spill – even one drop of oil – can be devastating to plan and animal life. Introducing readers to the Wildlife Response Team at Tri-State Bird & Rescue, a Delaware-based organization that rescues and rehabilitates animals affected by oil, River Rescue teaches readers about the delicate cleaning process and the care so critical to helping evaluate, treat, and rehabilitate affected animals.
There are so many questions to ask: is the animal alert on arrival? What kind of oil is on the animal? The cleansing process brings more questions: what kind of bird is this? Is it a flocking bird, or a solitary one? Is it a water bird or a land bird? After the rehabilitation process, animals are released back into the wild, preferably in the area where they were rescued.
River Rescue provides an informative look into animal rescue and rehabilitation and encourages good environmental citizenship among readers. The earth-toned art is realistic and the text is easy to understand. Back matter includes a 4-page For Creative Minds section allowing teachers, parents, and caregivers to photocopy and distribute activities on identifying wildlife, a Q&A with Tri-State Executive Director Dr. Lisa Smith, and information on preventing oil spills and helping animals.
The Long and Short Tale of Colo and Ruff, by Diane Lang/Illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein, (Feb. 2019, Arbordale Publishing), $17.95, ISBN: 9781607187387
Colo is a cougar and Ruff is a wild cat. The two friends want to play, but Ruff’s short tail prevents him from jumping as far as Colo can. As the two search for a new tail for Ruff, they encounter all the different things other animals can do with their tails and Ruff decides that his tail is just right after all.
This fun story is nonfiction with fiction wrapping: great for preschoolers and kindergartners! Colo and Ruff are realistically illustrated, but with softer artwork, playing up the cute factor. They encounter lizards, hawks, skunks and gophers on their search for a new tail, and callout facts throughout provide information that’s perfect for pleasure reading or an animal report. The For Creative Minds back matter includes a table comparing three kinds of cats and cat habitat maps.
Animal Noses, by Mary Holland, (Feb. 2019, Arbordale Publishing), $17.95, ISBN: 9781607188056
Noses, beaks, tongues, antennae – animals have a bunch of different ways to use their senses of smell, and Animal Noses is all about animal noses, how animals transmit messages through scent, and which animals have super noses versus which animals don’t. Loaded with sharp, full-color photos and facts, this is a nice add to science sections, especially when teachers come in looking for books on the five senses – always fun to throw something unexpected, like this, into my readers’ advisory, and show the similarities and differences between how we use our senses versus how animals use theirs.
Arbordale always has good back matter, too: their For Creative Minds sections allow for photocopying and distribution for educational use. The Animal Noses For Creative Minds covers fun facts about scent, a match the nose game, and spotlights animals with great senses of smell.
If a Mummy Could Talk…, by Rhonda Lucas Donald/Illustrated by Cathy Morrison, (Feb. 2019, Arbordale Publishing), $17.95, ISBN: 9781607187370
Meet some mummies and hear their stories: this volume contains stories about 12 different mummies: elephants, bison, dogs, cats, and humans, including the world’s most famous mummy, King Tut. Each spread focuses on one mummy, providing its date and location, and “before” and “after” illustrations that show readers what the animal or person most likely looked life while alive, and what its mummy looks like today. Facts gleaned from research and scientific observation bring each mummy’s story to life for readers, and provide clues to each demise. Discussions about different types of mummification, a mummy map of the world, and features on scientists’ tools and technology make up the back matter For Creative Minds section.
There are better books on mummies available, but this is an entertaining introduction for intermediate readers with an interest in natural history. The illustrations are realistic and colorful, and callout fact boxes appear throughout the book, clarifying bits of information contained in the text.