Travel ‘Around the World on Eighty Legs’

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“AROUND THE WORLD ON EIGHTY LEGS,” by Amy Gibson, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, Scholastic Press, March 1, 2011, $18.99 (ages 4-8)

Almost every kid knows about elephants and zebras and penguins and tigers, but what about pangolins, mouse deer, dingos and anacondas?

“Around the World in Eighty Legs” attempts to familiarize children with some 60 animals from all over the world. And it succeeds, mostly.

Areas of focus are divided into five continents — South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and a combined section on the Arctic and Antarctic regions. What’s missing? Europe and North America. Sure children are more likely to be familiar with those animals indigenous to those areas, but it seems an odd omission.

Despite the omissions, though, “Around the World in Eighty Legs” is a fun introduction to some funny-looking animals as well as some familiar favorites.

Brief poems offer animal facts and world geography with phrasing such as this:
Basilisk
(BAS-uh-lisk)
He’s no wizard,
just a lizard
stuck with a
peculiar name.

What’s odder,
he can walk on water!
(Just don’t try
to do the same.)

Accompanying illustrations bring these humorous poems to life. And a final section titled “Menagerie of Facts” is a nice touch. Kids will enjoy this look at wildlife and might just learn something in the process.

© 2011 – 2017, Cracking the Cover. All rights reserved.

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About Author

Jessica Harrison is the main reviewer behind Cracking the Cover. Prior to creating Cracking the Cover, Jessica worked as the in-house book critic for the Deseret News, a daily newspaper in Salt Lake City. Jessica also worked as a copy editor and general features writer for the paper. Following that, Jessica spent two years with an international company as a social media specialist. She is currently a freelance writer/editor. She is passionate about reading and giving people the tools to make informed decisions in their own book choices.

2 Comments

  1. It’s Amy Gibson, author of Around the World on Eighty Legs, piping in. You bring up an excellent point – why no North America or Europe? There just wasn’t room to do the entire globe justice. My goal was to introduce young readers to some animals they’d never met before. So the agouti beat out the chipmunk this time around. But my fingers are crossed that there will be a follow-up collection of animals closer to home, exploring habitats like the prairie, woodlands and desert. Stay tuned ….

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