Two new Dawn Cusick animal titles

Two new Dawn Cusick titles

Animals That Make Me Say Wow!
written by Dawn Cusick
2014 (Imagine Publishing)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Animals That Make Me Say Ouch!
written by Dawn Cusick
2014 (Imagine Publishing)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Think about a mall food court. You walk by the Japanese restaurant and there is someone in the front who is handing out samples. I eat one of these samples and invariable order from that restaurant. The taste of the honey mustard chicken seals the deal for me. So how does this connect to informational text? I think informational text can be like these pieces of chicken. You get one bite and you want more. It leads to obsessions over dinosaurs or reptiles. You know the kid. The one who knows every species of a particular animal and even has his or her birthday party with this animal as the theme. Where does the obsession start? With books like Animals That Make Me Say Wow! and Animals That Make Me Say Ouch!. These books share a similar format. There are three chapters that highlight amazing animal facts in three different areas. In Wow!, we get facts about how animals use adaptations in foraging for food, defending themselves, and how they use their bodies to complete different tasks. Hummingbirds have space in their skulls to store part of their long tongues. That’s efficient! Snails have sharp tongues that can scrape food. Walruses use their whiskers to sense movement in the water by possible predators or prey. With excellent photographs from the archives of the National Wildlife Federation, these are books that kids flip through and make loud noises as they share the book with the growing group around them. I know this because I teach second grade and see it every day. In Ouch!, readers learn how animals use their anatomies to bring the pain to prey, defend themselves from predators, and adapt to the rough environment around them. There is a fabulous picture on page 43 that shows a battle between male narwhals. They fight with their tusks which are actually a canine tooth that grows from six to nine feet. Pangolins roll into a ball making it difficult for lions to bite through their keratin scales.

The animal world is amazing and there is so much that we still don’t know. How are we going to learn? By inspiring the next generation of biologists and other animal watchers through books like this series. Between books and museums, that is how it all gets started.

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