“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:
He’s no wizard,
just a lizard
stuck with a
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.
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